How to Treat Your Dry Skin This Winter, According to the Experts
With the cool weather here in Hong Kong, we’re all set to refresh our wardrobe with coats, scarves and boots, but chilly temperatures and cold winds also mean it’s time to switch up your skincare routine. It’s not just the temperature outside that can affect our skin, with the hot and dry air from heaters indoors also taking their toll––resulting in dry and dull skin.
To help you adapt your skincare routine for the impending cold, we talk to Joanne Ang, co-founder and skincare formulator of Kansoskin. She gives us tips and recommendations to ensure that our skin will survive the harshness of winter.
Cut back on showering more than once a day
Joanne Ang: Depending on your daily activities, showering once a day is more than enough during winter. Over-cleansing is actually doing your skin a disservice as it strips away your skin’s precious moisture and causes dryness. When your skin is dry, it’s prone to redness, tightness and irritation. It may even exacerbate existing skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.
If you are used to showering twice a day, try rinsing with just plain water in the morning and reserve your cleansers at night before bed. I recommend using a gentle, low pH, hydrating cleanser such as Rovectin Skin Essentials Conditioning Cleanser that’s not non-stripping for your skin. It’s also fragrance and essential oil-free for those who are trying to avoid fragrances. While it is tempting to use hot water, especially when it's cold outside, please avoid doing so. Using hot water will only further strip away your skin's natural moisture, so I recommend using lukewarm water instead.
Joanne Ang: The low humidity levels in the winter air will draw moisture from the outermost layers of your skin, that’s why it’s important to moisturise at least twice daily to maintain hydration levels. I recommend feeding your skin with an emollient-rich moisturiser such as Kansoskin Simply Better Barrier™ – The Ultimate Hydrating Relief Moisturiser. It contains 17 types of Asian botanicals, ceramides and pre-and-probiotic complex to deeply hydrate and soothe even the most sensitive skin. Because of its lightweight and non-sticky texture, it allows you to put on more layers, depending on your skin's needs.
The ideal time to moisturise your skin is within three minutes, if not immediately, especially on slightly damp skin every time you come into contact with water, such as after a shower and after every hand washing. This allows your moisturiser to seal in all the hydration and other goodness in your skin before it evaporates.
Tatler Tip: At night, after your skincare routine, apply a thin layer of balm or ointment such as CeraVe Healing Ointment on top of your skin. Known as “slugging”, this step acts as a “saran wrap” to further lock in the precious moisture on your skin and protect it from cracking and chafing. Your skin will feel much softer the next day.
Remember your SPF
Joanne: It’s tempting to skip your sunscreen during the winter months, but even if you may not feel the heat as intensely during summer, there are still damaging UV rays present. Sunscreen should be worn every day throughout the year to prevent harmful rays from causing premature ageing, sunburn and skin cancer.
A good sunscreen to consider is Purito Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF 50+ PA++++. It glides on the skin very smoothly and doesn’t leave it feeling greasy. And the best part? It doesn’t leave a white cast on your skin!
Exfoliate and Exfoliate
Joanne Ang: You might be thinking if you should skip your exfoliation step during the winter months, but you shouldn’t.
Ideally, you should exfoliate around 1–2 times a week depending on your skin’s needs. Otherwise, all the compact dead skin cells on the outermost layer of your skin can prevent your skincare products from penetrating effectively into your skin and also cause dehydration. Regular exfoliation is necessary to improve the effectiveness of your moisturiser in doing its job.
I personally prefer chemical exfoliation as it works more evenly on the skin. With physical exfoliants such as scrubs and cleansing brushes, it’s hard to control the amount of pressure applied to the skin. Larger, grainy and jagged exfoliating agents such as apricot pits and walnut shells can also be unintentionally causing micro-tears to the skin. The chemical exfoliant that I enjoy is Krave Kale-Lalu-yAHA Resurfacing AHA Exfoliator. It contains about 5.25% glycolic acid, which is an AHA that is able to gently exfoliate the skin without causing much irritation. The good thing about glycolic acid is that it can stimulate collagen production in the skin and also increase skin's hydration to help minimise fine lines.
Alternatively, you can also use By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. It’s considered to be the gentlest of all the AHAs because of its larger molecules. This allows it to penetrate the skin at a slower rate, hence reducing the likelihood of irritation. Not only that, but it also contains soothing ingredients like panthenol, Centella Asiatica extract and beta-glucan which can help to calm the skin after peeling.
Tatler Tip: Because the use of indoor heaters during winter can decrease air humidity and the dry air can cause skin irritation, I highly recommend using a humidifier indoors to increase the moisture levels in the air. I love the one from Novita HumiPerfect Humidifier NH900 as it gives you to option to have heat vaporising warm mist. At the same time, it can also help to sterilise and deodorise the air.
This article was originally published on November 26, 2020 and was updated on December 7, 2021.