Monday, 12 January 2015

Winter skin - what not to do!

Don't let winter ruin your workouts
Image courtesy of tiveryluckyat
I think we can safely say that despite relatively mild Christmas temperatures, the winter weather is now here to stay - at least until March (sad face). And while it's a great opportunity to layer on some snuggly jumpers and enjoy a roaring fire from the comfort of your sofa, no one wants to emerge into spring looking more like a wrinkly chrysalis than a butterfly. But harsh winds and colder conditions combined with central heating and even super-hot showers will leave your skin parched and prone to sensitivity (and make you look older - eeeeek!). So what's a mum to do?

Stop it before it starts

While some people may have naturally drier skin than others, lifestyle will affect how dry your skin gets - and how dry it looks. Next time you buy the toiletries you wash with, check the ingredients. Harsh chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens are commonplace, but many regard them as toxic, and even cancer-causing. Alongside this you will see many additives designed to do everything from thickening the product so it fits in the marketable squeezy bottle to making a pleasing foamy experience, and fake fragrances that emulate the scents you associate with cleanliness. Instead look for far kinder (and possibly far safer) natural and/or organic products and - a little like food packaging - ingredients that you can actually understand. And beware of over-washing or scrubbing your skin, which will strip the skin of its natural - and protective - barrier.

Personally I like the affordable Aveeno products - which I discovered when my youngest had eczema. Originally I was told to use aqueous cream on her dry patches by a doctor - but actually this is one of the worst things you can do, since aqueous cream contains sodium lauryl sulfate! When my daughter was better (thank you Aveeno!), I still had some of the Aveeno creams left and so used them up myself. I'm also a fan of Neal's Yard Remedies including its body oils, soaps and shampoos. The entire range is top-quality and where possible, all the ingredients are organic, plus the products avoid nasties such as synthetic fragrances, silicones, parabens, phthalates and GM ingredients (read more here). I also use the Neutrogena lip salve, because it doesn't have petroleum jelly listed in the ingredients - although ones made from beeswax, shea butter or lanolin are more natural alternatives.

Having a shower - are you doing it wrong?
Image courtesy of stockimages at

Carry on regardless

To keep skin looking its best it's also essential to carry on with healthy eating, staying hydrated (so water, not just wine) and keeping up regular exercise (yes, even when it's raining!!). Make sure when you go out you are properly protected - with hats and gloves as necessary - and with a slick of moisturiser between your skin and the elements. Remember if you're regularly washing your hands to avoid all those winter bugs, keep applying the hand lotion - or switch to a waterless hand wash (but look for an alcohol-free one). You should also keep showers and baths short - and use warm rather than hot water if you can bear it. Rather than rubbing down with a towel afterwards, pat yourself dry - it's far kinder - and apply moisturiser while you skin is still damp to lock hydration in. This is the time of year to consider wearing those little cotton gloves on your feet or hands at night after applying some cream - even if its just for ten minutes to make sure the product sinks in, rather than just gets absorbed into your PJs or bedlinen! You might also want to drape a damp towel over your radiator as central heating can dry out the air and your skin.

And remember, the cold weather can't last forever. It won't be too long before everyone is talking about getting 'bikini-ready'! And you, with your smooth and silky skin, will be ahead of the game...

What tips do you have to keep skin soft and silk over the winter months? Share your thoughts and advice in the comment box below. 


  1. I am slicking on every cream I have at the moment - noticed that my hands are particularly dry from the ridiculously cold weather. Fab post! Sim x

    1. I'm at the age where I'm beginning to realise my hands might just reveal my old age!!! Gloves & plenty of creams are the way to go!

  2. Hi Vanessa,
    I really enjoyed this post because keeping my skin moist and healthy during the cold winter months is one of my main concerns despite my healthy diet and lifestyle. I have eliminated all products with harmful additives and chemicals. I use coconut oil and shea butter for most of my skin care needs. I wash with Peppermint Castile soap which kind to my skin. No products with mineral oil on my skin. Kudos to you for using healthy, natural products for your skin care and thanks for sharing it with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I appreciate it! I'm pinning and sharing this.

    1. Hi, thank you! I'm just shocked there are so many brands that have such rubbishy ingredients. But ultimately I guess it's the consumer's responsibility to check what they are putting on (as well as in) their body. I'm a big fan of oils too.

  3. Like this post... I am always trying to protect my skin. Must take another peep at the ingredients of our washing staples. I am always slapping on the moisturiser after my shower. Also do a bit of dry brushing in the morning when I remember. I like to think that walking the dog also gives my skin a bit of a glow!

    1. Exercise certainly improves your skin - and keeps you younger-looking for longer. But woman cannot combat the signs of ageing by exercise alone!!!! Alongside exercise and a nutritious diet, making sure we're not undoing all our good work with harsh chemicals in our everyday life is a must. Thanks for commenting!!

  4. Hi Vanessa,
    What a cool post. Thanks for reminding me to put on cotton gloves or socks after I apply lotion at night. Sometimes my hands are so dry that I use jojoba oil for them instead of lotion. I agree about not using harsh chemicals. I prefer not to use any chemical for that matter. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Nancy A. @

  5. Hi Vanessa, it is very awesome post, no doubt in it, we are in winter almost all every one wanted to protect their skin form winter and cool, after reading this post I am ware gloves, and apply some lotion at night times, if I want to go in nights ware and protect my skin form cold, thank you once again for this great post HAPPY RAMADAN
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