Hot chocolate, cosy sweaters, roaring fires… There’s a lot to love about winter. But the dry, flaking, scaly skin that often accompanies the season – not so appealing. Unfortunately, dry skin during winter is common, triggered by a mix of environmental and lifestyle factors. (We’re looking at you, cold winds, red wine and hot showers!)
But what can you do to defeat dryness and ditch the itch as the mercury drops? We sat down with leading London facialist, Rebecca Pearson to find out. So, grab a blanket and keep reading to discover how to prevent dry winter skin. Consider this your essential top to toe guide.
Psst, our Body Moisture Whip is perfect for both dry &
Figure out if your skin is dry or dehydrated
Knowing whether your skin is dry or just dehydrated will determine which products you should use. And, yup, there is a difference. “Dry skin is a skin type, whereas dehydrated skin is a skin condition, like acne or rosacea,” says Rebecca. “Dry skin is thinner, lacks oil and pores are barely visible, plus it’s prone to premature ageing.”
On the other hand, dehydrated skin is caused by a mix of environmental and lifestyle factors. Such as? “Air conditioning and windy weather, harsh, stripping products, or a diet lacking in essential fatty acids.”
How can you tell the difference? Those with dry skin will often have symptoms of dryness all year round, while dehydrated skin comes and goes. Dehydrated skin looks dull and fatigued, with visible fine lines. Dry skin is often rough, itchy, flaky, red, scaly, tight and/or uncomfortable. Dehydration can look and feel similar, but it occurs even in oily skins.
While both dry and dehydrated skins need hydration and moisturisation, dry skin requires a thicker, lipid-replenishing moisturiser to make up for the lack of natural oils.
Exfoliate away dry, dead skin cells
Think you can skip the exfoliation while your bod’s covered up? Think again. “I advise clients to exfoliate two to three times a week, whatever the weather,” says Rebecca. “However, it’s really important not to let it slide once the temperatures drop. Because our systems can become sluggish during this season, it can affect the skin’s turnover and thus slow down shedding dead skin cells.”
This can leave the skin looking dull and lined, or even result in spots. For the body, Rebecca therefore recommends using the Coco & Eve Jelly Massage Mitt and Bali Buffing Sugar to exfoliate skin whilst boosting the lymphatic and cardiovascular system. “Exfoliation also helps with the penetration of hydrating ingredients,” she adds, “so if you follow up with some Body Moisture Whip you will feel moisturised in no time!”
Add extra nourishment – but only if needed
Many of us automatically switch to heavier face creams and body lotions during winter, but this might not always be the best idea. “If your skin doesn’t change in winter, then don’t change your products,” says Rebecca. “If we put thicker moisturisers on when we don’t actually need to, it can discourage the skin from producing its own oils, and we want it functioning at its optimum!”
However, the arrival of cooler, drier weather is often accompanied by drier skin – and those hot showers and heating don’t help. When skin is feeling tight, itchy or rough, it’s a good idea to swap your prods out for something more nourishing. “The Coco & Eve Body Moisture Whip contains both virgin coconut oil and cacao oil to nourish and hydrate,” says Rebecca. “You can pack the travel size option in your handbag to reapply throughout the day for really dry patches.”
Show your skin barrier some love
“Our skin has a natural barrier, also known as the acid mantle. This is there to maintain a balanced pH, help keep bacteria out and lock moisture in, and is essentially made up of sweat and oils,” says Rebecca.
“Yet we’ve spent much of our lives being told that sweat and oil are dirty and must be stripped away. Hence so many of us have an impaired barrier, leading to many common concerns such as sensitised and dehydrated skin.”
Signs of a stripped barrier include bumpy, aggravated skin. Moisture is lost far more easily, so dehydration and a tight feeling is common.
So, what can you do to rebuild it? According to Rebecca, you should pare things back and eliminate common skincare irritants. She recommends using a sulfate-free body wash, such as our Smoothie Shower Gel and moisturising after showering to lock in hydration.
Choose facial products with hyaluronic acid
If there’s one ingredient dry and dehydrated skin loves, it’s hyaluronic acid. “I have a few skin heroes that benefit nearly everyone,” says Rebecca. “Hyaluronic acid locks in up to 1000 times its own weight in water, so it’s a fantastic tool to combat dehydrated and dry skin. When using it on my face, I dermaroll (two or three times a week), which helps this larger molecule penetrate the epidermis.
“Vitamin C is another ingredient that will help with brightening, but be careful if you have very oily and/or acneic skin, as certain formulations could aggravate these.”
Psst, if you're looking to reap Hyaluronic Acid benefits whilst enjoying a gorgeous everyday summer glow in winter, check out our Bronzing Face Drops!
Try dry body brushing
Another great tool to help combat dry skin in winter is a dry body brush, which helps boost circulation and eliminate toxins. “In the winter, our lymphatic systems, which help remove toxins from our body and transport fats, can become sluggish,” says Rebecca. “This body network has no ‘pump’ of its own (like the heart for our blood), and as our lifestyles become more sluggish in winter (no judgement!), so too does the lymphatic system. This leads to dryness and a dull appearance.”
You don’t need an actual brush to reap the benefits, either – you can use our Jelly Mitt to boost circulation on damp or dry skin, without applying a scrub. “Use it in clockwise motions and upwards strokes, starting at your feet and ending at your shoulders, every day,” says Rebecca. “Doing this regularly will help bring the blood to the surface of the skin, oxygenating and boosting your complexion, as well as getting that lymphatic system going.”
Just remember to go gentle on your décolletage as the skin here is more fragile.
Eat and drink your way to soft, supple skin
Glowing skin starts within, and your diet and drinking habits are just as important as skincare. In other words? No amount of hyaluronic acid will plump your skin if you’re not drinking enough H20.
“Known for my rock n roll ways, I can always be found holding a mug of hot water, which will also help warm you up and aid digestion,” says Rebecca. “Looking at diet to ensure the correct intake of essential fatty acids is crucial too. These help maintain the health of our skin and hair, but they aren’t produced by our bodies. It’s therefore important to get them through a balanced diet (start with sprinkling nuts and seeds on your breakfast) and perhaps look at supplements, too. I swear by Sea Buckthorn Oil.
“There are small choices you can make throughout the day, too. Switch from hot showers to warm showers to avoid drying out your skin, and consider a humidifier for your bedroom.”
Make body care part of your self-care routine
You’re probably at home snuggled up a lot more, so winter’s actually the ideal time to invest in some self-care and prevent or treat dry skin. “Lighting a scented candle and slipping between freshly washed sheets after moisturising yourself will feel like a luxurious treat after battling home in the rain,” says Rebecca. “Your body may be hidden away more, but it still deserves attention – and so do you!”
Check out more body guides & tips here!
Written By: Pip Jarvis
Edited By: Vidhya