7 mistakes making your winter skin feel worse

It’s easy to blame your moisturiser for not being cut out for the job, but there are seven other reasons your skin is drying out in winter.

1. Your shower is too long or too hot

Ever feel itchy after a hot shower? That’s because standing under a hot tap in a steamy space for a long period of time dehydrates and sucks moisture from your skin. Go for lukewarm temperature and get out within five minutes. If your skin is really dry, try applying oil before getting into the shower, cleanse with a body oil in the shower and always apply moisturiser while your skin is still a little damp afterwards – this helps product penetrate better and absorb faster.

2. You’re using the wrong skincare

Using skincare products that are not pH balanced can affect the skin’s acid mantle which can impact the skin’s ability to protect itself, often resulting in skin irritation. By using pH balanced which are compatible with your skin’s own pH level, you can avoid dryness and irritation. Avoid soaps and foaming formulas and instead go for oils and creams containing humectants like glycerin.

3. You’re not wearing protection

Just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean you can get away with not wearing sun protection. UV rays are everywhere all year round and if you want to avoid photodamage, ageing and skin cancer sun protection is non-negotiable. Your face might be red, tight and inflamed because you’re burnt – not because of the aircon.

4. You’re exfoliating wrong

Exfoliating in winter is tricky – there’s a fine line between overdoing it and underdoing it. You need to gently buff away dead, dehydrated cells, especially if you experience flaky skin, but it’s important not to aggravate sensitivity either. Instead of physical exfoliants like scrubs try a chemical option like lactic or glycolic acid once a week to ensure skin stays bright and even.

5. You’re not drinking enough water

It sounds obvious, but water is seriously the most important contributor to skin health. Your body is made up of more than 65 per cent water and your skin needs it to stay hydrated. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body, which can build up in your skin and result in clogged pores and acne. Aim for two to three litres of water per day and for every cup of coffee you drink, have a large glass of water.

6. Your diet is off

Indulging in comfort or junk food more than usual can affect your skin, especially if you don’t usually consume it. As we learn more about our gut’s relationship with our complexion it’s important to ensure you’re getting a wide range of food types – think oily fish for omegas, berries for antioxidants and leafy greens for fibre and vitamins. All of these foods help keep skin supple, plump and hydrated.

7. You’re confusing sensitive skin with sensitised skin

Think you have sensitive skin? Think again. Skin sensitivity can be categorised into two main parts. The first being ‘sensitive skin’ – skin that you’re born with, and ‘sensitised skin’ which is triggered by external factors. If you have only recently begun to see redness and irritation it’s likely you’re having a reaction to a topical ingredient or are allergic to something like food or laundry detergent – this is considered to be a flare up or skin that has become sensitised. If you’ve suffered from a skin condition such as eczema your whole life these can be exacerbated by allergens more easily, as your skin is already sensitive.

So, check if you have an underlying skin condition such as dermatitis or are experiencing an allergic reaction. From there you’ll be able to work out which skincare you should use and which to avoid.

Want more expert advice on how to get healthy over winter? Look no further than bodyandsoul.com.au’s Hit Refresh 2019 Winter Edition, which runs for the whole of July. You’ll find smart tips and action plans for refreshing your nutrition, fitness, mindset and beauty… and much more!