Skincare SOS: Brace Your Face For Winter

In the same way we prepped our skin against sun exposure and sensitivity during the summer months, it's time to gear up now that the colder weather is incoming. Everything from frosty nights to the office central heating can wreak havoc on your skin, which means adjusting your regime accordingly.
"The main issue in autumn and winter is skin dehydration or lack of water," ZENii Skincare founder, GP and cosmetic doctor Johanna Ward tells Refinery29. "This is different to skin dryness, which refers to skin that lacks lipids or oil. Dehydration is when there is a lack of water in the stratum corneum or outer layer of the skin. It can result in anything from sensitive skin and red cracked lips to rough and flaky skin."
If you find yourself loading up on thick night creams or reaching for your lip balm throughout the day, chances are your skin is craving a hydration hit. Rather than slather on greasy and ineffective moisturisers, according to Dr. Ward, there are five steps you can take in order to ready your skin for the months ahead.
Hydrate With Hyaluronic Acid
"Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant, which means it draws water up from the deeper layers of the skin into the more superficial layers. It uses the water that you drink and the water in your body to deeply hydrate the skin."
Avoid Long Baths
"These both rob the skin of water and make dehydration worse. In addition, areas like London have lots of issues with hard water which contains high levels of dissolved minerals, like calcium and magnesium, which can dehydrate the skin. Stick to short showers and ensure they are not too hot if you want to maintain good water content in the skin."
Night Creams To Nourish While You Sleep
"At nighttime, the skin gets a chance to heal and recover from the cellular insults of the day, so a deeply nourishing and hydrating night cream is a good investment in the winter months. Find one that isn't too heavy and congesting, but delivers skin beneficial vitamins like vitamin B3, C & E. Hyaluronic acid & jojoba oil are a great combination for hydration that are sebum neutral – so won’t cause any unwanted breakouts."
Boost Skin With An Oil
"Be aware that not all oils are created equal – some oils can be congesting, so opt for jojoba, argan or squalene oils for skin-smoothing and barrier protection. Boost your Omega-3 levels with an Omega-3 nutritional supplement to help target skin dryness from within. The skin’s barrier is made up of many types of fats (lipids) including phospholipids, cholesterol and free fatty acids. When the skin doesn’t have enough of these fats, as in the case of dry skin conditions such as eczema, then essential water can be lost through the barrier, causing skin dehydration."
Get The Glow With Acids
"Sometimes in the winter our skin can look lacklustre or dull. Ingredients like glycolic acid are great for removing superficial cellular debris and can stimulate a brighter, more luminous complexion. Don't overdo the exfoliation in the winter months, however, as it can lead to skin sensitivity and breakouts. Well-exfoliated skin will not only look brighter and dewier but will hold onto hydration and nutrients more easily."
From hydrating serums to exfoliating acids, click through to see our pick of the products that'll keep your skin hydrated, refreshed and glowing this winter.

More from Skin Care

R29 Original Series