The cold weather can be rough on your skin. Here’s how you look radiant and glowing.

Every season demands that you take care of your skin in a different way. The key is to know your skin and understand how it reacts to different weathers. The winter brings problems of flaky dry skin and chapped lips. Low temperatures, low humidity and strong, harsh winds deplete the skin of its natural lipid layer, which keeps the skin from drying out. The dry air from room heaters and other heating sources also suck the moisture out of skin.

Causes for dry skin

Dr. Shobha Sehgal, Head of Business, Day Spa & Beauty Zone, VLCC says there are internal and external causes for the skin becoming dry in winter.

External: As the percentage of humidity in the air becomes lower during winter it enhances the drying effect on the skin. Exposure to wind, cold water and soaps further increases the dryness.

Internal: The skin’s temperature becomes lower due to exposure to cold wind, so the blood vessels get constricted. This reduces blood flow to the skin, sweat glands and sebaceous glands. This leads to reduced water content leading to dry flaky skin and itching. Another cause is drinking less water, as people are less thirsty in winter. This causes the skin to dehydrate.

Well known beauty expert Shahnaz Husain says, “It is necessary to adjust the daily skin-care routine to seasonal changes. The moisture that the skin loses must be replenished, because habitual lack of moisture can lead to signs that we associate with ageing, like lines and wrinkles. There can be flaking of the skin, with rough patches. If there is excessive dryness, avoid soap and use a cleansing cream or gel.”

Dr. Sehgal offers the following tips to avoid dry skin:

Avoid exposing skin to extreme temperatures and cold wind.

A pre-bath warm oil massage, preferably almond oil, is a must. This not only ensures silky smooth skin, but also tones the muscles, soothes the nerves and aids blood circulation. Pat excess oil off with a damp towel before you step into the bath or shower.

The skin on your feet tends to dry and crack more in winter. Use a file to exfoliate the rough areas and dead cells after the shower. Apply a moisturising cream thereafter.

Apply a rich body lotion or cream over your whole body immediately after the shower to seal in the moisture. This increases the water content of the skin’d outer layers and gives it a soft, moist look.

Application of sunscreen before stepping out is a must.

Home Made packs

Dr. Sehgal offers a few pamper packages that you can make at home.

Avocado Mask: perfect for dry skin that may become very irritated in winter. Mash avocado flesh with a fork, add a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and apply. Supplies your skin with a whole range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and softening agents to fight dryness.

Cultured Milk Mask: simple and effective cure for tired skin. Mix natural yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, or kefir and apply on your face avoiding areas around the eyes. Relax for 10-15 minutes and rinse your face with cool water. Softens, rejuvenates, and restores a natural pH balance of your skin.

Egg White Mask: good for oily skin with large pores. Smooth a beaten egg yolk all over your face, rest for half-an-hour, and rinse with water. Refreshes and tightens your oily skin, creates a natural barrier to protect your skin from harsh winds and frost.

Shahnaz Husain also has some other tips to share.

Honey: Mix honey with one teaspoon orange juice and apply. Wash off after 20 minutes. Honey suits all skin types. It is a powerful humectant, attracting moisture to the skin. It also contains valuable vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which nourish the skin. For very dry skin, add half teaspoon almond oil to this mixture.

Cabbage and Carrot: Boil cabbage in enough water. Cool the liquid and use it to wash the face. Then grate carrots and apply. Leave on 15 to 20 minutes and wash off. Cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals. Carrot is rich in Vitamin A.

For dry skin: Mix one teaspoon each honey and rose water, with one teaspoon almond meal (ground almonds) and two teaspoons dried milk powder. One teaspoon egg yolk may be added. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Mix liquid ingredients gradually, to get the right consistency. It should be a paste that does not drip. Wash off after 20 to 30 minutes. Applying mayonnaise or egg yolk on the skin also helps relieve dryness.

For oily/combination skin: Mix three teaspoons oatmeal with one teaspoon honey and two teaspoons curd. Apply on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after 20 t0 30 minutes. Egg white may be added to this mixture.

For acne-prone skin: Take two teaspoons curd and one teaspoon dried and powdered mint (pudina) or basil (tulsi) leaves. Add a pinch of turmeric. Apply on the face and wash it off after 20 minutes with plenty of water.

Essential tips

Dr. Snehal Sriram, Head, Medical Services, Kaya Skin Clinic has certain essential tips that will help keep your skin glowing even in the chill. For one, she says, eat a balanced diet, which includes vegetables, fruits, and fresh fish every day. Try to avoid alcohol and coffee. Both dehydrate the skin and cause more drying and itching.

Use a humidifier inside the house to keep the skin moist. Exercise helps produce sweat and increases blood flow to the skin, which improves the skin’s hydration. Colloidal oat meal baths, in addition to preventing water loss, also soothe the skin. While taking a shower in winter, alternate moderately hot water with cold water for a few seconds. This provides an internal massaging effect with improved circulation and better hydration of the skin.

Don’t worry too much about the havoc played on the skin by the changing weather. Just lead your life normally and welcome the arrival of winter.

Do:

Apply lots of moisturiser around the eyes as the skin is very delicate.

Drink at least 7-8 glasses of water a day.

Protect lips with lip balm/gel

Always wear gloves, scarves, etc while you go out.

Use soap-free moisturising cleansers

Add emollient/mineral oil to bath water (1-2 drops per bucket)

Apply moisturiser immediately after your bath

Use sunscreen regularly

Use a night cream on face and body before sleeping. Remove excess cream with moist cotton wool, which does not soak up moisture from the skin.

Always remove make-up before bedtime. Cosmetics can dry out the skin.

For hair, use mild moisturising shampoo and conditioner after shampoo

Trim split ends

Don’t

Use soaps, scrubs and loofahs

Use toners and astringent

Use scrubs and grainy packs.

Sit for long hours under the sun or in AC

Try treatments like straightening, perming, blow drying

Shampoo frequently

Home care

Dr. Snehal Sriram’s home care tips

Mix honey and milk and apply. Mix half-a-cup honey to bath water for soft and smooth skin.

Aloe Vera helps remove dead skin cells and is soothing, healing, and moisturising.

A facemask of egg white and honey removes tan from face.

For oily skin, soak multani mitti and mint powder in yoghurt for 30 minutes. Mix well and apply on face. Leave till dry. Wash off with lukewarm water and rinse with cold water.

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