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FROSTY air, toasty houses and turbulent weather – our skin gets a tough ride during winter.
It is no wonder that 74 per cent of us are already facing skin problems from head to toe, according to our exclusive Fabulous poll on Instagram.
Over 70 per cent of us are already facing skin problems from head to toeCredit: Getty
Along with the annual common concerns – dry skin to weathered hands – many of you are battling other issues, with 67 per cent reporting body acne, otherwise known as backne or buttne.
For the ultimate guide to handling winter skincare, SIOBHAN O’CONNOR speaks to industry experts who share their tips and advice.
Vaseline won’t fix chapped lips
Low humidity levels in winter make our pouts more high-maintenance and 72 per cent of us have dry lipsCredit: Getty
Q) THE outline of my lips is sore, red and chapped. I’ve been smothering on Vaseline daily, which helps a little, but how can I get rid of it completely?
Helen, Bedlington, Northumb
A) Low humidity levels in winter make our pouts more high-maintenance and 72 per cent of us have dry lips.
Beauty writer Katie Onyejekwe says: “Lips are predisposed to dryness as they don’t have sebaceous glands – responsible for secreting your skin’s natural oils – to keep them moisturised.
“Vaseline feels good temporarily as it’s great at forming a protective barrier over the skin to stop water escaping, but it’s neither hydrating nor very nourishing, so they’ll likely stay chapped.
“Look for products that contain a mixture of humectants, occlusives and emollients. Humectants such as hyaluronic acid attract and retain water, occlusives such as petroleum jelly provide a protective layer to prevent water loss and emollients such as jojoba oil soften and smooth the skin.”
- Try La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 soothing repairing balm, £7.50, lookfantastic.com – BUY NOW
Hydrate with bowl of oils by radiator
Low humidity has been shown to speed up the formation of wrinklesCredit: Shutterstock
Q) MY skin is flaking, looks parched and feels tight. I’ve even started noticing more fine lines. What can I do that’s affordable?
A) Japanese scientists found that the faces of people living in ten per cent humidity were stiffer, with more intense skin folds, compared to faces in 80 per cent humidity, supporting the theory that low humidity can speed up the formation of wrinkles.
Facialist Lisa Harris, whose celebrity clients include Ruth Langsford and Lizzie Cundy, says: “Placing a bowl of water mixed with essential oils in the room will take the dryness out of the air and helps to prevent skin drying out.
“Use relaxing scents such as lavender and place it next to the radiator to create your own humidifier. This will help to retain moisture, but note that these aren’t recommended when pregnant or breastfeeding.
“For a festive scent, add a sliced orange, cinnamon stick and nutmeg to a pan of water – keep it on low and let it humidify the room.”
- Try Neal’s Yard lavender oil, £9.50, nealsyardremedies.com – BUY NOW
Lukewarm baths best for itchiness
Itchy skin often tends to stem from eczema, but it’s not the only reasonCredit: Getty
Q) I OFTEN get dry skin but now it’s becoming uncontrollably itchy, it’s uncomfortable and sore. Is it eczema?
A) Itchy skin often tends to stem from eczema, but it’s not the only reason, says Dr Ophelia Veraitch.
The dermatologist for L’Oreal Paris adds: “There are a number of different types of eczema but the most well-known is atopic dermatitis, which can make skin dry, itchy and inflamed.
“It often involves small bumps filled with fluid that break when scratched and can lead to infections.
“A lot of people who suffer from eczema notice that they can get flare-ups during the winter. This mainly stems from the transepidermal water loss, or dehydration of skin cells.
“Other skin conditions that can lead to dry, sensitive and itchy skin include psoriasis and rosacea.
“Stick to lukewarm water for your body and face and try a soap-free wash, these are kinder to skin. If skin becomes infected from itching and breaking, see a doctor.”
- Try Bioderma Atoderm shower gel, £14.50, Boots – BUY NOW
Keep your hands free of perfume
Perfumed moisturisers and cleansers can irritate a damaged skin barrier furtherCredit: Getty
Q) MY dry, cracked hands sometimes bleed. What can I do?
A) Stay away from scents. Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, skin expert and medical director at Adonia Medical Clinic in West London, says: “Use gentle, fragrance-free cleansers on the hands and follow with an emollient hand cream.
“Perfumed moisturisers and cleansers can irritate a damaged skin barrier further. For extra thirsty hands, give them a deep moisturising session by wearing glove masks in the evening.”
“What you eat will keep your skin barrier strong, so go for healthy fats that contain Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids, including olive oil, flax seeds and fatty fish such as salmon.”
- Try Nails Inc Thirsty Hands moisturising hand mask, £5, nailsinc.com – BUY NOW
Never scrub bum and body bumps
Sitting for long periods can cause friction and irritation, resulting in folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair folliclesCredit: Getty
Q) I have acne-like spots on and beneath my buttocks. I’ve tried exfoliating but they won’t budge. What can I do?
Teresa, Basingstoke, Hants
A) Sitting for long periods can cause friction and irritation, resulting in folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles, says Joanne Rendell, a therapist at skincare website The Skin Experts. She adds: “Too much booty in the chair can lead to buttne.
“If your job requires you to sit, stand up often throughout the day. Instead of using scrub to slough away bumps, break down the congestion with Medik8 Blemish Control pads, which are pre-soaked in salicylic acid to dissolve oil and dirt deep within the pores.
“The alcohol-free formula protects against dryness and helps preserve your skin’s natural moisture balance.
“Use after cleansing, on the face and larger areas like the back, bottom, neck and arms, to decongest breakouts. Also, wear breathable fabrics that don’t cause you to get too sweaty or contain fibres that irritate the skin.”
- Try Medik8 Blemish Control pads, £27, lookfantastic.com – BUY NOW
Moisturiser is key even for oily skin
A lot of people with oilier skin think they have to skip moisturiser to prevent feeling more greasyCredit: Shutterstock
Q) Why has my skin become so oily?
A)Cold weather can mess around with our self-producing sebum levels.
Dermatologist Dr Cristina Psomadakis says: “Even oily skin styles can lose hydration. Your skin might have a top layer of oiliness but beneath that it can be flaky, cracked, tight or textured – indicating signs of skin sensitivity.
“This can be tricky to deal with but it’s all about stripping back to basics, making sure you are protecting your skin from the environment and providing it with enough hydration. A lot of people with oilier skin think they have to skip moisturiser to prevent feeling more greasy, and that’s one way to end up with oily but dehydrated skin.
“Try using an oil balancing cleanser, such as Cetaphil’s oily skin cleanser, £9.50 at Boots. Follow up with a lightweight gel moisturiser that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t block pores.
“If you’re still getting oily in specific areas, try using a salicylic acid toner on those areas alone after cleansing and follow up with moisturiser.”
- Try Face Theory Supergel oil-free moisturiser M3, £13.99, facetheory.com –BUY NOW
Long showers are scaly legs’ nemesis
o get rid of the scaliness, try a gentle scrub exfoliator while having a soakCredit: Getty
Q) I MOISTURISE most days, but my legs still resemble reptile skin. What can I do?
A) Facialist Lisa Harris says: “Don’t stay in the shower for more than five minutes – this is enough time to cleanse the skin without damaging natural oils.
“Add Himalayan salts or Epsom salts with some essential oils to restore moisture. Seaweed is good for detoxing and hydrating skin, and drinking more water should help dry legs too. You should aim for around 2 litres a day.
“To get rid of the scaliness, try a gentle scrub exfoliator while having a soak, once the skin is more supple. Rub in circular motions.”
Try Ole Henriksen Lemonade Smoothing scrub, £12, Boots.
Lisa adds: “If you find scrubs too harsh, use a chemical exfoliator to gently break down dead skin. Use once a week and build up to twice if it’s being stubborn.”
- Try INKEY List Lactic Acid exfoliant, 30ml, £7.99, lookfantastic.com – BUY NOW
Antibac scarves and masks to beat acne
Even people who have never experienced breakouts can experience maskne – it doesn’t discriminateCredit: Getty
Q) I have developed severe acne on my chin and cheeks. I think it’s a combination of wearing a mask and now a scarf as it gets colder. How can I manage my breakouts and prevent further ones?
A) First of all, determine whether your breakouts are hormonal or bacterial by keeping tabs on your menstrual cycle. Psychotherapist Charlotte Ferguson, founder of skincare website Disciple London, says: “Wearing a mask is the new norm, but one of the unfortunate side-effects is acne, or maskne.
“This type of breakout can be different from hormonal breakouts – small white bumps under the skin that can also be itchy. It is caused by irritation, friction and blocked pores.
“Even people who have never experienced breakouts can experience maskne – it doesn’t discriminate. Protect skin by spritzing your mask or scarf with an antibacterial spray.
- Try Disciple Skin Maskne mist, £17, cultbeauty.co.uk – buy now
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