THE IN-TRAY

A winter body care routine

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Winter can wreak havoc on skin – in particular, hot showers and overzealous use of the heater stripping away moisture. The resulting dryness can lead to irritation, flaking – and some even notice it exacerbates existing skin conditions like keratosis pilaris. Here, MECCA skin expert Madeleine Mills provides a winter body care routine to take your skin from parched to peachy in no time!

Why does skin feel dry in winter?

“The big factor in why our skin begins to feel drier during winter is transepidermal water loss – or TEWL – which is essentially the loss of water from our skin to the environment,” explains Mills. “It’s usually accelerated by low temperatures with low humidity, as well as drastic changes in temperatures like hot showers and heating – making this season a recipe for dehydration!”

So, exactly how much water loss are we talking? “It’s estimated that our skin can lose up to two cups of water each day through TEWL, especially overnight,” says Mills.

How do you combat dry skin on your body?

Naturally, bringing hydration back to the skin is the name of the game in the cooler months: “When looking for a winter body care routine, look for products to feed hydration back to the skin and nourish and protect the skin’s barrier to minimise its water loss,” Mills advises.

“Some of my favourites include Nécessaire’s The Body Serum, packed full of niacinamide and ceramide NP to help support the skin’s moisture barrier, while five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid keep the skin hydrated. Apply it straight out of the shower to get the best results, following up with a moisturiser to lock in hydration and feed the lipid barrier of the skin.”

Another of Mills’ favourites is Kiehl’s classic Crème de Corps Moisturiser, which is “rich in squalane, a lightweight lipid that mimics your skin's natural oils. That – along with a blend of nourishing oils, cocoa and shea butter – will reinforce your moisture barrier to seal in that hydration.”

And for the body oil lovers, Mills recommends Sans [ceuticals] Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil which “delivers omega fatty acids, vitamin E and squalane to protect and nourish without any stickiness.”

For an invigorating post-shower ritual, try adding a little body oil to your dry brushing routine (we love the GOOP G.TOX Ultimate Dry Brush).

How to treat dryness and keratosis pilaris in winter

Keratosis pilaris is a condition that causes rough patches and small bumps on the skin – usually the result of excess keratin blocking hair follicles. While it can be tempting to over-exfoliate with physical scrubs, resist the urge! Consult your doctor or trusted healthcare professional instead.

Meanwhile, harsh physical scrubs can also "accelerate dryness," says Mills. "Opt for products with chemical exfoliants to gently lift dead skin cells," she advises.

“The Mecca Athletica Skin Perfecting Body Wash from Mecca Cosmetica contains glycolic acid and gluconolactone to gently exfoliate and gently cleanses the skin without drying it out. Follow up with the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Glycolic Body Lotion; it retexturises with its blend of AHAs and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier with niacinamide, vitamin F, squalane, shea butter, marula butter and hyaluronic acid,” she adds.

Top 5 tips for body care during winter

Here’s what Mills recommends for those looking to keep their arms, legs and more in tip-top shape (even under several layers of thermals!):

1 “Use body cleansers that don’t leave the skin feeling tight or stripped – look for body washes that give a creamy, hydrating lather, like Sol De Janeiro’s Shower Cream Gel or Drunk Elephant’s Kamili™ Cream Body Cleanser.”

For those with acne-prone skin, Frank Body’s A Clearing Body Wash takes that familiar pore-cleansing, breakout-busting active, salicylic acid, and combines it with a soap-free, hydrating body wash.

2 “Try to avoid steaming hot showers and keep the temperature closer to lukewarm to minimise transepidermal water loss. Then, moisturise while the skin is still damp to lock in all that hydration!”

3 “Transition from thinner body lotions to thicker creams, balms or oils to reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier and protect it from dehydration.”

4 “It’s easy to forget to drink as much water when its freezing outside but keeping up the internal hydration will make the biggest difference to how your skin feels!”

5 “It may not feel like it, but the UV rays are still damaging during winter, so wear sunscreen – like Mecca Cosmetica’s To Save (Sensitive) Body SPF50 Superscreen – always. Sunscreen will also create another layer of protection from water loss – bonus!”

It’s time to give your skincare a seasonal update – and treat your skin to some extra TLC! Join us in the Beauty Lab for a (complimentary) Winter Rituals workshop.

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