The heating’s on full blast, last year’s hats and scarves have been uncovered – Winter is here. If anyone’s not happy about it, it’s your skin. It’s irritating, peeling, getting out of the shower is a festival of tingles and itches. You’re awaiting Spring with chattering teeth? Chin up! By adopting a good routine, you can have velvety skin even in Winter!
Why is my skin irritated and peeling?
Clearly, this isn’t always the case: some lucky buggers manage to avoid this all through the Winter. But the cold season leaves our skin with little chance of escaping unharmed! Outside it’s cold, windy, there’s a lack of sun and therefore vitamin D and your skin’s protective film is under threat. Once in the warm, the change in temperature, the heating-induced too-dry air, comforting hot baths, lack of activity and oxygen so not do it a whole lot of good. And, as our whole body does, everything slows down. Yes, we hibernate, brain, immune system, and cell renewal are all less efficient in Winter.
To sum it up: your mature skin, less well defended and more threatened than it is normally, struggles to renew itself. And the inevitable happens: it doesn’t keep in water as well, dries out, becomes uncomfortable, gets irritated and ends up peeling. And becomes even more sensitive and fragile… Our face, more exposed, is the first to suffer. But the rest of our skin, naturally drier and irritated by our clothes, isn’t spared. Dry and allergy-prone skin is the most at-risk, naturally. But all skin types can suffer from dehydration or water stress. What can you do to escape this vicious circle?
Gentleness first: products and habits to avoid
You have to start by not doing some things. Get rid of everything that could threaten your fragile skin.
Don’t pick at your skin. Flaking skin isn’t very pretty, but don’t pull on it. Don’t exfoliate either, at the risk of making it worse, irritating and damaging the skin, and making more problems for yourself.
Hunt down all potentially irritant and aggressive components. Avoid scented products, ban synthetic preservatives and get rid of sulfur-containing cleaning products, SLS or SLES. They get rid of everything that comes in their way, including your skin’s protective film, guaranteeing a disastrous effect on your fragile and sensitive skin.
Watch out for false headlines: no mineral, esterified or hydrogenated oils… These false friends will leave a barrier layer on your skin and feel nice and comfortable, which lasts… Up until the next wash, leaving your skin, at best, as defenceless as it was before, without sorting out any of its issues. At worst, it will stop your skin from breathing and renewing as normal.
Keep it light on the makeup. Foundations, powders, blushes or eyeshadows (where your skin is particularly fragile), all contain far too many occlusive substances, as well as irritant and drying components. These will exaggerate your dry, flaky skin, making it even harder to not pick them!
As much as possible, avoid hard tap water. When it’s hot it’s even more drying. Limit how often you take baths and, if you can, according to your lifestyle, alternate between showers and sponging down. When it comes to your face, try to use makeup-removers and cleansers that don’t use too much water (milks, oils…).
Adopt a routine that’s gentle, but strong
1. Focus on good active ingredients
Are you dreaming of spending Winter eating revigorating meals by the fireside in your flannel pyjamas? Your skin also wants comfort, but not only comfort. Your flaky skin is just the tip of the iceberg: if it’s dry, it’s because it’s hungry! What does it need? Nourishing (healthy) fats to rebuild the hydrolipidic film, which will retain its hydration.
And what can bring it comfort and energy? That’s right – fatty acids, vitamins and wonderful plant oils and butters. Thanks to their lipidic structure which is very similar to the structure of our skin, they really melt in naturally. Very moisturising, they bring your skin comfort, flexibility and clear it without scraping at dead skin. And a little bonus: they mean you can avoid all of the dubious components of conventional cosmetics, which is even more important to make sure your skin is permeable and receptive to the effects of plant oils.
If we had to choose just one plant oil/butter, it would have to be shea butter. With its strong anti-inflammatory powers, it nourishes, stimulates healing, accelerates regeneration, and soothes itches and irritations. But it’s by playing on the strengths of a well-formulated mixture of oils that you will soothe, nourish and repair your skin: cacao butter and plant oils rich in Omega-6 and 9 like avocado or macadamia to speed up collagen and elastin synthesis, calophylla or rosehip for healing, andiroba to prevent irritations, argan or desert fig for their anti-inflammatory powers to protect yourself from external aggressors… Reinforce the soothing sensation with water-based extracts and hydrolats: calendula, blue helichrysum, poppy, linseed, and milk thistle…
2. Cleanse gently
For the face, even if you don’t wear makeup: a makeup-removing oil or formulation of oils or, for the most sensitive or dry skin, a milk like our Milky Way. Ideally, apply them with your fingertips in light circular motions. If you don’t want to use your hands, go for washable pads but avoid cotton wool, which can be too irritant. Finish my rinsing with a spritz of soothing hydrolats.
3. Treat flaking skin with a butter or a balm
For dry patches on the face and body, you should try to mainly use products with a rich and moisturising texture. What can help? Shea butter or, even better, a balm: a product that doesn’t contain water but instead exclusively plaint oils and butters, like our Loving Balm. This is especially good to apply before going out in the cold, after showering or even at night time on areas of dryness or irritation, for a real healing nighttime booster. If your skin is very dry, use it like a mask: apply a thick layer and leave for ten minutes before dabbing off the excess with a reusable pad.
4. Adapt your routine to the type and condition of your skin
Don’t stop at just treating dry patches when they appear: to prevent them and find strength and comfort, your skin has to be completely nourished and hydrated on a daily basis. In Winter, it can be necessary to use a richer cream, that’s true, but always ensure that the cream is chosen according to your skin type. What’s the secret? Listening to your skin and having a range of skincare products of different richness ready to go at all times. And then just navigating between them according to your needs, the weather, what you’re doing and how you’re feeling…
Do you have dry skin? go for a nourishing cream like Whole Again, applied morning and night. If the flaking or peeling persists, use a balm instead of a cream at night time. If your skin is still uncomfortable, try using a balm as your day and night cream.
If your skin is normal to combination, it’s not going to drastically change in Winter: it might just get dehydrated. Before you try anything drastic, a more liquid cream should do the trick: Glow Up will respond to your skin’s needs, without making it too oily. You can lean progressively towards richer products, if necessary: start by enriching your cream with a few drops of our Nourishing and Soothing composition of plant oils. And if this still isn’t enough, you should alternate between creams, Glow Up in the mornings and Whole Again in the evenings.
For your body: on areas prone to irritation, a rich body milk like Body Guard should suit most people. If your skin is not particularly dry, a less thick milk can be used as a preventative measure, like our Magic Milk.
5. Your Lifestyle to the rescue
Finally, of course, there’s more to it than just skincare products. Some good habits will help your skin to avoid going through Winter like a trek through the desert. First thing’s first: make sure you’re drinking enough. This is the very first place that your skin gets its hydration, well before skincare products. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and tobacco, which contribute to your skin’s dehydration.
Eat a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids… For little moments of exhaustion, olives, almonds, and hazelnuts are excellent tools to keep your skin flexible.
Stay active and get fresh air despite the cold weather in order to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen and good circulation, which are both indispensable when it comes to skin cell renewal, and make the most of every ray of sunlight to keep your vitamin D levels topped up.
And lastly, avoid too much heat, if you’ve got control of the thermostat: like the planet, your skin would far prefer if you popped on a wooly jumper instead!
This post is also available in french.