At this time of year your skin is subjected to harsh wind, rain, sleet and slow, low-temperatures outside as well as artificially warm temperatures inside. Not to mention the stress that can come about as a result of this busy time of year and all the parties. But rather than worrying about the effect it’s all having on your skin, top skin specialist Dr Rekha Tailor, medical director and founder of Health & Aesthetics, explains how SPF is needed even in winter, and shares her tips for the healthiest skin.

‘People tend to think once the winter months arrive they can stop using SPF on their face,’ explains Dr Tailor. ‘However, despite the fact that the temperature drops significantly in the winter months, the sun can still be extremely strong and damaging to skin, especially when reflecting off snow. Therefore it’s important to continue to wear an SPF on your face, neck and hands (or anything that’s exposed). Doing so will help to reduce the drying of the skin and hold-off premature ageing for longer.’ 

Party without a breakout

This time of year is a busy one. Whether it’s the shopping, partying or even just the planning that is occupying your time and energy, it’s guaranteed to impact on your skin.

‘It’s a known fact that exhaustion lowers the immune system and can make the skin worse,’ explains Dr Tailor. ‘Having one early night can do wonders for your skin, as can making sure you stay hydrated and drinking lots of water throughout the day.’

Keep active to make skin glow

We often look and feel better during the summer because we spend more time outdoors in the fresh air. While there’s sometimes nothing better than snuggling up under a warm blanket in front of the fire in winter, staying active boosts circulation, gets your pulse rate up and gives you a healthy glow. ‘Even just a half an hour walk three times a week will help keep your skin looking radiant,’ explains Dr Tailor.

Turn the water temperature down

It’s tempting to turn up the water temperature to the max to warm up on a cold morning, but surprisingly ensuring the water is lukewarm rather than hot will do wonders for your skin.

‘If the water is too hot it can strip the oils away from the skin,’ explains Dr Tailor. ‘These natural oils are essential for keeping skin hydrated and so whilst a hydrator can also help, by ensuring the water temperature isn’t too high we can also reduce the risk of these oils being stripped away. If your skin is red and itchy when you come out of the shower this can be a sign that the temperature was too high.’

Drink lots of water

In the cold weather, we tend to drink less water than in the summer when we are hot and turn to things like tea and hot chocolate. This can result in the body becoming dehydrated and the skin dry.

‘Don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside too,’ explains Dr Tailor. ‘Swapping your hot chocolate for water with lemon, or your normal tea for a mint tea helps to reduce the caffeine intake and ensure that your body, and skin, are getting the hydration that they need. This in turn will help it to look smoother, plumper and healthier. Alternatively, up your water content by eating foods that are high in water – such as watermelon, apples, oranges, cucumber.’ 

Choose your accessories carefully

Nothing says winter like a new hat and scarf set! Whilst it’s essential to protect your head and the delicate skin on your neck from the elements, many of the knitted accessories can be uncomfortable and irritating when worn directly next to the skin.

‘Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, can be accentuated by rough, irritating winter fabrics,’ explains Dr Tailor. ‘To avoid suffering from irritated skin and scalp when wearing winter clothes, try to opt for items made from natural, breathable materials. This helps the air to circulate and reduces the build-up of heat in one place, which can add to the irritation.’

Remove dead cells for clearer, luminous skin

You may be sweating less but your skin still gets a build-up of dead skin cells and sebum over winter, so weekly exfoliation can keep your face smooth and remove dullness. A medical-grade facial treatment is one way to keep the skin glowing.

‘Our Hydrafacial is great because it’s powerful but it’s not invasive,’ explains Dr Tailor. ‘There are no cuts, there are no chemicals and there is nothing used that will scrape the skin. You walk in with skin that is full of dead skin cells, blackheads and other issues. Your skin is clean and full of beneficial substances.’

Dr Rekha Tailor is the medical founder and director of Health & Aesthetics in Surrey