A to Z for Healthy Winter Skin

    It’s winter time and, believe it or not, your skin needs just as much care, if not more, as during the summer. Dr Leila Sadien offers comprehensive advice on how to keep your skin glowing and healthy throughout the chilly months ahead.

    Think of your skin as a coat that protects you from head to toe – it is your largest organ and keeps everything on the inside in and all the nasties out! Not only is it your very personal shield but it is your unique expression of external beauty. Return the favour and nurture and nourish your skin with the following A to Z care tips.


    Applied topically and taken orally, antioxidants protect our bodies from the harmful effects of oxidation, such as cancer, inflammation and general ageing, caused by poor lifestyle choices. Vitamins A, C and E are great antioxidants, and winter is a wonderful time to provide nourishment to sun-damaged skin.

    B: BUMS

    Winter is a great time to treat cellulite, especially as it takes a few months before signs of improvement become evident. Nettle root and DHEA gel is a wonderful cellulite-busting treatment that a compounding pharmacy can make up for you.


    A chemical peel is essentially the application of acids to help treat skin problems. These acids can be made in a lab or extracted from natural botanicals, they can even be made with fruit and veg at home! Winter is ideal for peels because it's much easier to stay out of the sun while the skin heals.


    The lack of sunlight in winter means that less vitamin D is manufactured by the body as there is less skin exposure to UVB rays. We are also more covered, so less of our skin is exposed to the sun. Winter also often means less outdoor activity. All of this triggers low vitamin D levels, which can result in acne, rosacea, ageing and delayed healing and repair.


    Dry skin is often disastrous for people who suffer from eczema, as is exposure to seasonal allergens. Among other great treatments, a good omega-3 taken orally is very helpful for this, as is a lipid-based moisturiser.


    Hair follicle inflammation is more common in winter as usually women allow their hair to grow longer in certain areas, or they shave instead of waxing. Dry skin can also provoke folliculitis, as can wearing tights, stockings or restrictive clothing.


    Keeping your skin protected from very cold weather is vital in winter. Dry hands and feet and chilblains can be avoided simply by keeping these extremities warm.


    Keeping a humidifier to moisten dry air has a myriad of benefits for healthy including keep- ing the skin glowing and hydrated throughout winter.


    We all know winter comes with depressed immunity, but how does this affect your skin? The skin is in fact the first line of defence against harmful disease-causing bacteria and other pathogens. If this barrier is compromised, by being extremely dry for example, our skin is at risk of becoming infected. This is especially important with regard to eczema, rosacea and dry cracked heels.


    Juicing is such a great, easy way of getting in lots of nutrients quickly. A healthy, balanced nutritional intake plays a huge role in preventing or easing the effects of almost all winter-related skin conditions. Try to juice with all the colours of the rainbow to get a good mix of plant nutrients.

    K: KIDS

    Don’t forget that your children’s skin also changes in winter. Make sure they eat well, use a good nourishing moisturiser, and please don’t forget the sunscreen!

    L: LIPS

    Lips can take the worst beating when it comes to dry skin. Besides being really thin, the skin of the lips doesn’t have any oil glands to protect it. Drink lots of water and make sure to use a good lip balm throughout winter, and don't lick your lips!


    This goes without saying. Moisturising is even more important in winter. I love using hyaluronic serum in winter as an added moisture step.


    Many women tend to skip their night-time skin routine in winter because of the cold. This is criminal. Now more than ever your skin needs that second dose of moisturiser, and many night-time products are particularly good for winter.


    It’s no surprise that nature provided us with the exact thing that treats almost all winter skin problems – oranges! Whether applying the fruit topically or eating it, oranges help with antioxidants (vitamin C), pigmentation, anti-ageing, acne and dull skin. Oranges are even an excellent conditioner.


    The cold, dry air and decreased sunlight all contribute to worsening psoriasis. Keep warm and moist with humidifiers and moisturisers to keep the condition under control.


    If you notice that your skin has changed in any way with the change of season, be sure to discuss this with your skin care practitioner. We often have to tweak doses or change the frequency of certain products and see what needs to be added or removed from your regular routine.


    Also known as vitamin A; many people apply retinoids topically to encourage skin turnover and keep the skin healthy and smooth. Please contact your skin care practitioner for instructions on how to change your routine in winter as retinoids could leave you feeling drier and more sensitive.


    Sensitive skin always gets worse in winter. In my practice I have often witnessed how hydrating with a lipid-based moisturiser with anti-inflammatory properties often completely cures sensitive skin.


    Change of season is always a good time to detox. We build up so many toxins throughout the year, which all contribute to dull skin, puffy dark eyes, acne, pigmentation and many other ailments. Detoxing twice a year is the least we can do to give our livers a break.

    U: UV RAYS

    Many people don’t realise that most UV rays travel right through clouds and cause the same damage they would do in summer. Don’t neglect a daily sunscreen in winter!


    Every vitamin has some benefit for skin changes of winter. Be sure to be on a good, naturally-sourced, comprehensive multivitamin throughout the year.

    W: WATER

    The best way to beat dehydration is to drink pure water! Natural spring water is best but bottled water will do if that isn’t accessible. The recommendation is still eight glasses a day of pure water, and no, coffee doesn’t count!


    The stellar summer exercise routine often takes a knock as the temperature plummets, but did you know that your skin suffers from too little exercise too? Increased circulation and oxygen delivery to cells ensures cell detoxification and a healthy glow, and by reducing stress hormones, many inflammatory skin conditions can be treated with exercise.

    Y: YOGA

    Yoga is a great way to exercise indoors in winter and has so many benefits for skin. Specific poses assist with increased circulation to the face, promoting healing and collagen synthesis. Yoga also helps to detox the entire body and, don’t forget, being toned helps us look good too!

    Z: ZITS

    Acne can definitely worsen during winter because, as discussed, skin is drier and less able to act as a defence against bad bugs. People often think that moisturisers worsen acne but in winter they are immensely helpful in treating acne and preventing scarring.

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