With changing seasons, it’s time to think about changing your skincare regime so your skin is better prepared against the harsh effects winter. Dr Natalie Blakely was asked to share her top tips with Natural Health Magazine.
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Now is the time to ramp up your beauty routine so your skin stays peachy perfect all winter long!
It’s not just your wardrobe that needs a makeover when the seasons change! Updating your beauty routine to keep your complexion glowing throughout the colder months when your skin can be dry and sensitive is crucial.
However, knowing how and when to apply all those scrubs, serums, oils, toners and masks can be confusing. In fact, according to a recent survey from Boots, a whopping nine in 10 women feel overwhelmed by all the lotions and potions on the market.
So to make life simple, we’ve asked some of the UK’s tops skincare experts to create your perfect capsule winter skincare guide.
“Cleansing every day is a must,” says Dr Natalie Blakely, aesthetic doctor and owner of the leading Light Touch Clinic (lighttouchclinic.co.uk). She recommends once in the morning and then twice – yes twice! – in the evening. “Double cleansing at the end of the day helps to ensure all of that daily grime, pollution and make-up is removed from your skin,” she explains.
“This not only prevents pores from becoming clogged, but also aids the penetration of your night cream.”
Another option is to try oil cleansing, says Natalie Balmond of natural skincare range Pure Potions (purepotions.co.uk). “If you’ve got sensitive or dry skin, the oil cleansing method is brilliant, especially in polluted cities, because you’re not applying any more potentially irritating synthetics to your skin, just gently cleaning it with a natural oil,” she explains.
“It’s a really simple but effective way to cleanse and nourish at the same time! I’d avoid coconut oil and go for something lighter like safflower or calendula.” Just warm a small amount of oil in your palm and massage it carefully into your face, very gently working it into the areas around your eyes to loosen make-up. Leave it on to work for a couple of minutes, then wipe it off with either a hot cloth or warm, damp cotton wool.
“Facial toners play an important role in your daily skincare routine and should be used after cleansing,” says Nicole Barton, consultant aromatherapist at skincare company Base Formula (baseformula.com).
“Toners help to remove any final traces of dirt or impurities and can also help to nourish and hydrate your skin, balance pH levels, tighten and close the pores, reduce oiliness and encourage a clearer, smoother complexion.” She recommends using hydrolats, which are made from plant material when it’s distilled to extract its essential oil.
They have similar therapeutic benefits to essential oils, but are much gentler and can be applied directly to the skin. “Try using chamomile or lavender hydrolat for dry skin, chamomile for more sensitive skin and rose or lavender for ageing skin,” Nicole advises.
Think of serums as the superheroes of your beauty routine. Loaded with powerful active ingredients, they help to rejuvenate, repair and protect your skin from the harsh winter elements. Choose products containing hydrating hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture, along with protective antioxidants. “Antioxidants are a morning must,” says Dr Blakely. “By applying an antioxidant in the morning, you can protect your skin against free radical damage.”
Once you’ve cleansed and nourished your skin, you need to lock in all of those active ingredients with a good moisturiser containing a decent level of sun protection – look for a formula with a SPF of 30 or higher. “UV damage is responsible for much of the ageing process and unfortunately we can’t escape these harming rays even in the cooler months!” says Dr Blakely.
Your skin rejuvenates itself while you sleep (it’s called beauty sleep for a reason!) and you can maximise this process by applying a rejuvenating night cream. Look for skin-boosting ingredients such as vitamin E, essential fatty acids and nourishing shea butter.
“Dry skin can be in need of moisture and nutrients in winter,” says Natalie. “It requires both water and other essential vitamins and nutrients to be able to heal, repair and regenerate the epidermis, which it does on a fortnightly cycle.
Give your skin an extra weekly treat with a face oil such as fabulously regenerative rosehip – just massage it into your skin last thing at night, paying particular attention to the skin around your eyes, mouth and forehead.”
“Exfoliation is an essential part of a healthy skincare routine as it helps to slough off dead skin cells and buff away flaky, winter skin,” says Dr Blakely. What’s more, cellular build-up in the pores is a breeding ground for acne bacteria.
“However, exfoliation is not something that you should be doing every day. Exfoliating two to three times a week will be ample.”
A replenishing mask is the perfect winter treat for jaded complexions, says Nicole. “The right face mask can help to nourish and hydrate the skin, cleanse and detoxify and improve the appearance of your pores.” For a nourishing, homemade treat, she suggests mixing one eighth of a mashed avocado with one teaspoon of kaolin clay, one teaspoon of aloe vera gel and five drops of rose essential oil. “Avocado is rich in antioxidants and moisturising fatty acids that help to restore and regenerate the skin,’ she says. “Meanwhile aloe vera hydrates, kaolin cleanses and tones and the wonderfully balancing rose oil will moisturise and soothe and act as a general skin tonic.”