As the days get shorter and the temperature falls, now is the best time to start taking care of your skin for the autumn and winter months. Although much less of it is exposed to the elements, the frequent contrast of hot and heated indoor air and cold and windy air outside can leave your skin dry, red and irritated. Even if autumn months are forecasted to be warmer than usual, but the dryness and wind of the coming months will still damage skin.
Keeping skin healthy isn’t just about aesthetics. Dry and cracked skin can be very painful and itchy.
The reduction in humidity leads to loss of moisture -as cold winter air dries up skin oils and skin feels tight and irritated. Keep skin healthy in the coming months only requires a little extra effort by following these simple steps:
1. Wear Sunscreen
Colder days and nights don’t mean that the sun’s UVA and UVB rays aren’t still penetrating the skin. Ageing UVA rays may cause lines, wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Although less likely to burn, your skin is still exposed to UVB rays, and when partaking in winter sports, sunblock is often forgotten – leading to the dreaded “raccoon face” and skin damage. When applying your daily dose of sunscreen, don’t forget to apply it to the back of your hands. These are one of the first places to show pigmentation and sun spots, which result in aged looking hands.
Those with oily skin can still experience dryness when the cold and dry air strips oils from the skin, and this can happen all over the face or sometimes only in areas. Gently (without excessive rubbing) exfoliate daily (or twice a week if you have dryer skin) to remove the build up of dead skin cells and sebum that can clog pores and contribute to blemishes.
Reduction of oil as a result of windy and cold weather may lead to your skin going into overdrive in producing sebum, so it’s important to put a moisturising barrier between your skin and the elements.
The best thing you can do for your skin regardless of its type is to moisturise. Moisturising prevents water and subsequent nutrient loss from the skin and ensures its health and suppleness. A rich and nourishing moisturiser applied twice a day helps combat existing dryness and water or oil loss.
Avoid having very hot showers or baths as those reduce levels of moisture in the superficial layer of the skin and can leave it very dry and flaky. Follow with a moisturiser immediately after applying it onto slightly damp skin to help to prevent this. If necessary, use extra-nourishing mask treatments weekly (or more often).
4. Hydrate – From The Inside
Despite drinking at least 1.5 litres of pure water per day, make sure to get 5-6 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, oils and other organic “goodies” all help to keep your skin and body healthy. Eating foods with plenty of Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils helps your skin to stay hydrated from the inside. Vitamins A and E help to prevent flaky and itchy skin. Make sure to have these on your weekly shopping list:
Vitamin A – Leafy greens, tubers like potatoes, kumara and carrots as well pumpkin – all seasonal autumn vegetables.
Vitamin E – Flaxseed (Linseed) – ground or as oil, dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli, avocadoes, wheat germ
Zinc – Oysters, beef, beans, pumpkin seeds.