Happy 2020! I hope you had a great time this Christmas and are ready to start 2020 with the right foot. I sure am ready to kick off the year with my New Year’s Resolutions. And this includes taking better care of myself. I’m starting with my skin, for what I needed some new winter skincare tips. 

I’ve never been one to spend much money on skincare or makeup, but since I moved to Scotland I have noticed that my skin is not only as tanned as it was. It also has become dryer and my skin breaks all the time, which is one of the reasons why I don’t use that much makeup anymore: it makes my skin looks even worse than without it! 

To be completely honest, it’s not just my fault. I suffer from dermatitis (mild dermatitis, but it sometimes gets excited and makes me look like a snake!) and that means a normal moisturizer won’t do miracles on me – with exceptions. On the other hand, it’s not like pharmaceutical moisturizers do much better. I’m more interested in skincare tips that don’t require a lot of products, and I’d rather use natural, chemical-free skincare products. 

On top of this, it’s a fact that summer (with its sunlight) has a better effect on our skin than winter. But we still want to look radiant, and help our skin recover from the excess of Christmas and the outside cold. So here are my Top 10 Winter Skincare Tips.

1. Drink water

Not only one of my winter skincare tips, but a skincare must. We’ve heard about it thousands of times, and still we don’t drink enough water – to the point that phone apps have been created to remind you to drink more liquids! 

Drinking water has just many benefits for our bodies (and minds, also, as feeling dehydrated can create confusion), but is especially important for skincare because it keeps your skin moisturised from the inside. This increases elasticity (important to avoid wrinkles!), helps the elimination of toxin (the main cause of acne) and speeds up the healing process of the skin. It reduces itchiness… And a large etcetera! 

There isn’t a right amount you need to drink but aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water at least every day! Remember to drink it slowly throughout the day and take the opportunity to try new, delicious teas (without sugar, if possible). 

A good way to drink more water, is bringing with you a glass water bottle at all times. My favourite is this one, which you can buy in Amazon: 

2. Choose the right cleanser

Choosing the right cleanser for you can be a bit of a nightmare. Over the years, I have tried many different ones – from L’Oréal to Lush, including plain water with plain soap. Micellar waters seem to work best, as they clean, remove makeup and tones in just one move. They are really light, and leave the skin feeling clean, without that greasy patina that other makeup removers could leave. But is it the right cleanser for you? 

When looking for the perfect cleanser, try to avoid chemicals, fragrances and alcohol. They remove the natural oils from the skin, which produces dryness. If you are looking for an extra hydration, you should use milk cleansers or soap-free creamy cleansers. Same goes for those with a sensitive skin – but look especially for cleansers labelled as “hypoallergenic” or “gentle”. If you have an oily skin, your best shot will be oil-free foaming and gel cleansers (but be careful, because they could result in skin dehydration). For combination skins, try using a different cleanser for each area. 

3. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! 

You’ve probably heard about exfoliation since you were like fourteen, which I think is when girls usually start taking care of their skin – mainly to avoid acne. In fact, I think I used to take care better care of my skin back in the 2000 that I do now. Life is strange…

So you’ve heard about it, but do you know why exfoliation is important for your skin? I’ll tell you! 

As you already know, our body’s cells are constantly regenerating. But, as we age, the process of regeneration of cells slows down, and that’s when the old skin cells start piling up on the surface of the skin. This could make your skin looking dull, dry and rough, and clog the pores – leading to acne. So, when you exfoliate, you’re uncovering your beautiful, fresh new cells and opening the pores for the moisturizing to penetrate deeper into the skin. 

So how to exfoliate? It’s usually recommended to exfoliate once a week. You can do it manually with an exfoliating sponge or brush, a mask or scrubbing gel. If you have any doubts in what to choose, check out this post from Nivea.

4. Short showers are better. Period.

Long story short, hot water dehydrates. A lot. So when you are in a long, long, warm shower, thinking that it will help your skin look moisturized… Well, it won’t. Just like it happens with mojitos, right? 

So if warm water dehydrates, what does cold water do for your skin? It tightens your cuticles and pores, stopping dirt to get into them. 

But being realistic, would you shower with cold water all year long, even in winter? Probably not. I can’t even think about it! So probably just try to keep your showers shorter and cooler. Hey, this won’t only help your skin: it’s also better for the planet! 

5. Hydration after showers is key

So, once you’ve finished your short, medium-heat shower, you really need to moisturize. This keeps the moisture stay in your skin when you come out of the shower. But what’s the best moisturizer? Preferably ointments for the body (they are oil-based and have the highest emollient effect, which will soften your skin). I personally use argan oil for my body, especially for my legs after shaving. For your face, look for serums containing hyaluronic acid. 

6. Wrap up!

Sudden changes in temperature (such as the one when you leave your super warm flat to go to the cold street) can make your skin feel itchy. I remember the first time I became aware of this: I was 23, and I was just back from a walk in the beach in the north of Scotland, where the 2nd Unmentionable used to live. It was December and it was soooo cold! My legs were already itchy in the beach, but by the time we were back home, it was unbearable. What a bad experience, although I think it’s remarkable I hadn’t noticed till then. 

Anyway, I’m sure you are already bundling up (it’s so cold outside, I don’t know why you wouldn’t) but just remember to use layers. Start with soft, breathable materials against your skin and then use heavier jumpers (even woolen ones) as a second or third layer. This way you won’t feel itchy and will prevent irritation and dryness produced by the wind.

7. Don’t forget your SPF

So you thought you only needed sunscreen in summer? MEEEEH! Wrong! The sun comes out everyday (although here in Scotland we don’t see it pretty often, I’m not going to lie). However, even in a cloudy you could get burned, especially if it’s only partially cloudy. Why? This website explains it very well! #sciencewithSofia #sofiatellsyoutheweather #weatherwoman #usesunscreendamnit

Furthermore, if you are planning on a trip to the mountains, to play in the snow and ski, you can rest assured you will get burned if you don’t use sunscreen. Because, as with the clouds, the sunlight gets reflected on the snow. 

Even though I don’t use sunscreen everyday, I sure will try to remember from now on. As Hugh Jackman once said on TV, skin cancer is the only one you can prevent from having in a very easy way. And if Hugh Jackman said it, it must be true #lovehughjackman #wolverinefan #gohugh #enoughhashtags

8. Keep home temperatures reasonable

As it happens with hot showers and baths, a high temperature at home can make your skin dry. Heaters dry the air, and the lack of humidity can worsen your skin health and also your lung health. Yeah, humid air is worse for asthma, but dry air doesn’t help with sinuses. So yeah, everyday is a great day in the life of an asthmatic with rhinitis. Very funny, life, you’re being very funny…

Anyway, this is another of those cases where keeping temperatures reasonable will help not only your health and skin, but also your purse and the environment. 20ºC to 22ºC should keep you warm enough, while protecting your skin, nose, lips and eyes from getting too dry. 

9. Never stay in wet clothes!

Winter rains and storms! They are the best. Who doesn’t enjoy jumping in puddles? 

Mums and dads. They don’t enjoy jumping in puddles and then don’t love it when you do it. But that’s another story. 

But mums and dads are right in one thing (well, several. But that’s another story): jumping in puddles and dancing in the rain is terribly fun, but wet clothes can irritate your skin. And help you get a good cold. That’s why you should always change your clothes for dry ones as soon as you get home if the storm caught you out in the street. 

10. Adapt your skincare routine

Finally, adapt your skincare routine to your winter needs. No matter how good you try to take care of your skin and body, inevitably they will suffer from time to time. Maybe you used the hot water for too long, or you spent a long day outdoors and now your skin is itchy and red, and you have chapped lips. That’s OK, these things happen. You can’t stop the weather, but you can change your habits and buy products that will cover your necessities during the cold months. Use more moisturisers and oily creams, and leave tones and astringents which contain alcohol for summer months. Take good care of your lips and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Do you have some winter skincare tips of your own? Let me know in the coments!