Winter can be brutal on our skin, not just from being outside in the cold weather, but also from inside our homes where the heating is running 24/7 and drying our skin out.
Dr. Anton Alexandroff, a top dermatologist, says: “A poor diet, central heating, and the wintry air causes all sorts of skin problems.
There are some things you can do to improve your skin to ensure it stays in good condition over the winter months.
WHY? Even as little as 25g of milk and dark chocolate can affect your skin and it stays on your system for up to two weeks after you have consumed it, dairy foods can also cause your skin to flare up.
WHAT TO DO: Make sure you cleanse your face in the morning and the evening, this will help clean out your pores, try and avoid a heavy foundation which clogs your pores and sebaceous glands.
BUY: There are many cleansers on the market priced from the ludicrously expensive to some cheap damaging lotions.
Try Benzoyl peroxide gel or wash is available over the counter. It is an affordable and effective option. You can also try applying green tea should you experience acne, this done daily for eight weeks should show a positive result. Just soak the green tea on a cloth and put it on your face in the morning and evening.
AVOID: The contraceptive pill if you can, find another contraception that is not so brutal on your skin.
WHY? The hyperpigmentation on the face which is known as melasma can be irritated and get worse with female hormones, so perhaps visit your doctor and ask for your contraception to be reviewed.
WHAT TO DO: Even in winter you need a good moisturizer and sun cream, aim for one with SPF 50 to protect your skin, the winter sun can be just as hard on your skin as the summer sun.
BUY: Melasma can be improved by azelaic acid cream, you can find this at all good pharmacists, should you need a higher concentration, speak to your doctor and ask for a prescription.
WHY? Being a smoker plays havoc on your skin and equally so you will find an environment of passive smoking increase the damage done to your skin.
WHAT TO DO: Try a cool compress as this will help reduce the swelling under your eyes. Sleep and plenty of it will help.
BUY: There are plenty of creams and even surgery for under-eye bags which can be extremely pricey. Allergies will irritate your eyes and when rubbing your eyes you are causing the fragile skin to stretch and bags are formed, try using some over the counter antihistamines from your pharmacy.
DRY SKIN OR ECZEMA
AVOID: Soap, dishwashing liquid, shower gel.
WHY? Even those that claim to moisturize your skin may dry your skin out, as it removes the protective lipid or fat layer from the skin, causing it to dry out and become inflamed. Water also removes the protection from the skin.
WHAT TO DO: Always wear gloves when doing your household chores, try applying a good hand cream on first, then add cotton gloves next and finally add the rubber ones on top, as you work your hands are receiving a good moisturizing treatment.
BUY: Emollient creams are good at restoring your skin and acting as a barrier you can purchase these at any pharmacy.
AVOID: Stress and anxiety.
WHY? Stress and anxiety are well known to trigger skin conditions.
WHAT TO DO: Try eating a little raw cumin as evidence has shown that this helps some patients.
BUY: Using emollients daily will help manage a skin flare up, if you find over the counter products are not working try talking with your doctor who can prescribe a stronger cream.
AVOID: Central heating or heat of any kind directly to your skin.
WHY? The condition Rosacea is what causes your skin to redden and it will get worse if you spend long periods indoors with the heating on. This condition is also triggered by alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food.
WHAT TO DO: As crazy as it sounds apply SPF50 sun cream when indoors and the heating on, it will give your skin a good protective layer and reduce the drying out process.
BUY: If you find sun cream doesn’t work in reducing the Rosacea speak to your doctor who may be able to prescribe a cream for you.
AVOID: Sugar as much as possible.
WHY? It is bad for your skin, teeth, and figure. Sugar releases a toxic compound that damages the elastin found in your skin. The winter sun’s UV rays can also cause wrinkles the same way the summer sun does.
WHAT TO DO: Check your diet, look at the food you consume and how much sugar you have may surprise you. When your body makes collagen which is vital for your skin it combines amino acids — nutrients you get from eating protein-rich foods such as beef, beans, and eggs. It also requires vitamin C, zinc and copper.
BUY: You can buy a good collagen cream over the counter and a clinical study showed it significantly increased skin elasticity.