How to achieve better looking skin during the colder months
Most of us don’t follow the extensive grooming routine of Patrick Bateman, everyone’s favourite American Psycho. But with the use of lotions and potions now totally acceptable for any gentleman wishing to maintain a healthy appearance on the rise, we can safely dip in to Bateman’s routine and utilise his forward-thinking ways to fend of harsh winter weather; including a cold-wind and sub-zero temperatures which can play havoc with your skin. This combined with drying central heating can lead to dryness, cracking, stiffer and less flexible skin. Continually moving from outside to in can intensify problems but fear not for a few simple strategies can be implemented to beat the winter chill.
It’s important to moisturise. If you’ve ever wondered why your skin doesn’t like the cold it’s partly due to the fact that bitter winds and icy conditions make keratin – a key component of skin – stiffer and less flexible. And when this happens it becomes prone to dryness, cracking and, ultimately, premature ageing.
The solution? Make sure you moisturise twice daily and if skin still feels dry and tight upgrade to a moisturiser specially formulated for dry skin like D. R. Harris Moisture Cream – a rich facial moisturiser that soothes and loads the skin with hydration. It’s also worth taking an Omega 3 fish oil supplement too as some studies have shown it can help prevent dry skin.
If you play a lot of outdoor sports or are just hitting the gym regulalry a good quality body moisturiser is a must-have. The combination of exposure to the elements and daily showers (hot water strips skin of its protective oils and speeds up moisture loss) means that the skin on your body will probably need lots extra hydration. Simply slather on Malin+Goetz Vitamin B5 Body Moisturiser liberally immediately after towel-drying for intensive and residue-free hydration.
The kind of temperate fluctuations skin is subjected to in winter can severely disrupt its natural equilibrium, not only making it poppadom dry but interfering with its natural regeneration process too. To avoid flakiness and speed up cell turnover exfoliate skin with the help of a facial scrub. Anthony Facial Scrub is a good choice because it’s gentle and contains ingredients such as chamomile and algae to moisturise and soothe at the same time. In the winter I find I can up exfoliation from twice to three times a week as long as I don’t apply the scrub too vigorously.
Lips take a real battering in the winter, so don’t neglect them. Made of some of the thinnest skin on the body and with no protective oil glands of their own they’re especially susceptible to chapping, cracking and flaking – especially around the edges or ‘vermilion border’.
To protect them lightly scrub with a dry toothbrush to remove any dry skin then apply a lip balm like retaW x Fragment Design Lip Balm made with moisturising Candelilla Wax, Beeswax and Rosemary Oil. Avoid strongly flavoured ones as they tend to make you lip your lips – a habit that only accelerates evaporation of moisture from the skin.
Not directly related to skincare potions and lotions but an improved environment can work wonders. Human tissue, proteins and collagen in the skin all function best in a moist environment so extra humidity generally helps skin function. Unfortunately, winter air (which is dry to begin with) gets even drier once it’s heated up by radiators. As a result it turns into a giant sponge, leaching moisture wherever it can fin it, including from your skin. To combat this assault, try improving the humidity around you at work or in the home by placing a bowl of water next to your desk or favourite chair or invest in a humidifier.
“Bringing houseplants into your environment can help too.”
Back on to skincare specifically with something you might scoff at during these sunless months – don’t forget to protect skin from sun damage. Although the sun’s skin-burning UVB rays decrease in winter, its wrinkle-causing UVA ones don’t so it’s well worth investing in a daily moisturiser like Anthony Day Cream SPF 30 which includes a built-in sunscreen. Apply each morning but switch to a moisturiser without one at night – nobody ever suffered from Moonburn.
You’ll pleased to hear we advise drinking more. Perhaps not so pleased to learn we are referring to more water, not beer or wine. We tend to think of summer as being a dangerous time for dehydration but in reality winter can be just as bad. For starters you’re drinking more warming tea and coffee (both of which can be dehydrating) and losing moisture to central heating and biting winds. This is particularly bad news for skin because in cold weather it draws upon moisture reserves from its lower levels to remain supple. The crucial thing is make sure those reserves are there in the first place. You know what’s required: more fluids.
And finally, don’t forget about your hands. Hands aren’t just exposed to the elements in the winter they’re also under attack from constant wear and tear and (if you’re not great at getting out of chores) hot water and harsh detergents too. You can protect them in a matter of seconds, though, with a daily dose of hand cream. If you’ve always been nervous of trying one in case they’re too scented, try the nourishing and quick-absorbing Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm which contains a raft of skin-saving ingredients like Coconut Oil and Shea Butter alongside a gentlemanly aroma of Mandarin Orange, Rosemary Leaf and Cedarwood. After all, who wants to shake hands with a gentleman suffering from hand dandruff. No deal.