We change our clothes in the winter months with woolly tights and thick boots protecting us from the cold, but what about our skin? Should we change our skin care routine now that the cold harsh winter weather is setting in? We caught up with Stewart Long, Boots skin care scientific adviser and asked him all about caring for our skin the winter. Do we need SPF, a serum and how do we prevent cold sores? Get all your answers here and discover our favourite moisturisers and skin care treats for winter.
Should I change my skin care routine in the winter?
"You may find that your skin, particularly on the face and legs becomes drier and more uncomfortable in winter and for this reason your favourite moisturiser may no longer prove effective enough. If your skin does become dry consider rich, shea butter containing moisturisers for face and body."
Why does my skin get drier in the winter?
"Many people find their skin becomes drier in winter due to the low humidity, wind and cold, and may require more intensive moisturisers. The skin's barrier is very sensitive to changes in the amount of moisture in the air and in the cold, dry winter air, this leads to an increase in water loss from the skin. The skin becomes tight and uncomfortable. You need to choose a moisturiser that will help to restore the barrier, making it resistant to the drying effects of winter."
Should I still wear an SPF in the winter?
"If you spend all day indoors, then an SPF day cream is probably not necessary but if you like to spend lunch outside or go out in the early evening when the sun is still out, then an SPF day cream will protect skin against long term ageing damage. UVA levels are relatively constant all year round, so even if the sun does not feel strong, it can be slowly ageing your skin, even in winter."
People say it's good to use a serum in the colder months, what exactly is a serum?
"A serum is generally a more intensive, luxurious feeling product designed to deliver concentrated levels of ingredients for a specific purpose. An example would be Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum, which has our highest levels of anti-ageing ingredients in a product designed to deliver them efficiently to the skin. The product does not have sunscreens and has low levels of moisturising ingredients as it is designed to provide maximum anti-ageing performance first and foremost. Serums will often go under your moisturiser."
Are serums worth the cost, they are pretty pricy?
"I would say they are worth the cost. They are designed without compromise to deliver the largest possible skin benefits (eg, anti-wrinkle, age spot fading) and generally have the highest levels of active ingredients. In Boots' case, our serums are also subjected to major independent clinical studies to demonstrate their performance."
I get a lot of redness in my cheeks in the winter months, it there any way to prevent this?
"Redness of the skin in winter is usually due to the damage to the skin barrier described above. This leaves the skin dry, tight and irritated. Use a good moisturiser to restore the barrier and relieve the dryness. This will help decrease any irritation and redness."
What's the best way to treat combination skin that is dry and flaky yet still oily?
"Even if skin is oily, it can be dry at the same time because the cold dry air damages the barrier. It is still essential to use a moisturiser to restore the barrier but you may want to try a lower oil type, rather than a rich dry skin formula."
Should I take vitamins in the winter to prevent colds?
"Boots healthcare technical expert Gavin Stainton says, "Ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, rosehip and ginseng can help maintain a healthy immune system so your body has a better chance at fighting off infection during the winter months. The natural complex of nutrients found within rosehip works together with vitamin C and vitamin B6 also plays a vital role in ensuring your immune system remains healthy."
What are cold sores and why do I get them more when it's cold or I'm ill?
"Boots pharmacist Angela Chalmers says, "Cold sores are one of the most common skin conditions which are caused by the herpes simplex virus. They are usually passed on through close forms of personal contact at a young age. Once infected, the virus invades the cells of the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis, causing a tingling or burning sensation on the lips. Fluid-filled blisters form shortly afterwards which dry out and leave scabs after seven to 10 days. The cold sore virus can be almost invisible to the immune system and therefore continues to exist in nerve cells, laying dormant until factors such as stress, sun exposure, a weakened immune system or the common cold cause re-infection.
A weakened immune system is one of the most common triggers for cold sores, which is why you may be more likely to have an outbreak when you're ill or in the winter months when it's cold."
Are there any ways to help prevent cold sores?
"Eat nourishing foods, as fresh as possible and try to hit your five a day fruit and vegetables to give your immune system a boost. Keep well hydrated and try to fit in small amounts of moderate exercise throughout the week. If you do have an outbreak, consider using an antiviral cream which contains acyclovir, as this helps to slow down the growth of the virus and speed up the healing time of a recurrent infection. Aciclovir creams need to be applied at least five times a day for up to a week to work effectively. Apply at the tingle stage to help prevent an outbreak. If you miss applying at tingle stage, do keep applying as it will still help to reduce the amount of days you are affected by it."
Get your skin care routine ready for winter with our favourite beauty products:
Anti-ageing: No7 Protect And Perfect Intense Beauty Serum £19.75 boots.com and Avon Anew Reversalist Renewal Serum £20 avonshop.co.uk
Hydrating and brightening: Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Skin Serum £28, lookfantastic.com
Our must-have for redness: Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum £45 houseoffraser.co.uk
Budget buy: Skin Therapy Collagen Boost Beauty Serum £5.86 selected Sainsbury's stores nationwide
Anti-ageing: L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream £62 loccitane.com and Roc Complete Lifting Day Cream £29.99 boots.com
Redness: Eucerin Anti-Redness Day Care £19.49 boots.com
Oily T-zone: Givenchy new Hydra Sparkling Velvet Luminescence Moisturising Cream £36.21 debenhams.com
Our must-have for pigmentation and age spots: Clinique Even Better SPF25 Moisturiser £32 clinique.co.uk
First signs of ageing: No7 Protect and Perfect Day Cream £19.50 boots.com
Budget buy: Pond's Dry Skin Cream £3.99 boots.com
Skin care extras
Our must-have skin repairing night serum: Estée Lauder Advance Repair Night Synchronized Recovery Complex £36 esteelauder.co.uk
Night cream for first signs of ageing: Decléor Regenerate Aroma Night £36
Redness relieving primer: No7 Colour Calming Primer £10.50 boots.com
Extra hydrating body cream: Aveeno Skin Relief Body Lotion Oatmeal & Shea Butter £4.99 Boots nationwide and ocado.com
Hydrating facial cleanser: Baume éclat Balm-to-oil Massage Cleanser £18.50 lancome.co.uk
Cold sore treatment: Cymex Ultra £3.99 (contains aciclovir 5%). Available from pharmacies nationwide.
Vitamins: Boots new vitamin C and Rosehip healthy immune system capsules £5.99 for 60.
Budget buy: The Sanctuary Warming Charcoal Detox Mask £8.99 thesanctuary.co.uk
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