What are the best tips for keeping skin moisturized during the winter?
In winter your skin requires twice as much moisture than it would in the summer months. You can do this two ways: the first is internally via diet and nutrition, the second is externally via skincare.
Diet & Nutrition: If you drink caffeine or alcohol, have two glasses of water for every cup or glass consumed. This will replenish the body with vital water. If your body is lacking in water, cells and enzyme actions in the skin will be impaired – this can cause skin conditions. Try to avoid diuretic medications as this will have the same effect.
A daily internal oil supplement also works well to help strengthen and re-moisturize the skin from within. Good choices are borage seed oil (also known as starflower) as it is high in the essential fatty acid GLA and natural-source Vitamin-E, which is close to three times more potent than the synthetic kind.
Skincare: During winter, plummeting temperatures outside combined with the drying effect of central heating can lead to dull, dry, tight-feeling skin. To prevent this, we need to ensure that skin is well hydrated, nourished and protected from the elements. The best ingredients for helping the skin to retain its own moisture reserves are plant oils which mimic the skin’s own naturally effective moisture barrier, sebum. Plant oils are easily absorbed into the upper layers of the skin, where they work hard to nourish and protect the skin, and include rosehip, avocado and borage.
I always opt for skincare formulated with naturally active ingredients rich in GLA, omega-3, antioxidants and plant oils - which are closest in structure to the skin’s own natural oils and give far better results than synthetic copies. A facial oil can be used as part of your daily essentials regime after cleansing and toning. I suggest using lightweight plant oils, such as apricot or peach kernel, or passionflower seed oil. Massage a few drops on your face at night to soften sebum so it can get out of the follicles and help balance your skin. Facial oils are also great for adding an extra bit of nourishment to dry skin. Try our Superskin Concentrate as it is an intense, aromatic blend of 100% pure plant oils. This rich, restoring night-time treat contains softening argan and organic rosehip oils, soothing neroli, lavender and chamomile essential oils plus protective natural source vitamin E to nourish and protect winter skin.
Our hands and face are the parts of our bodies that get most exposure to the harsh elements of winter. Our hands, nails and cuticles can become dry and chapped over the winter months. In addition to the other drying factors such as central heating, our hands are washed more often than any other part of the body. This constant exposure to warm water and detergents can remove the natural oils from the skin leaving the skin dry. Choosing a liquid handwash free from synthetic detergents, like Orange Flower Hand Wash, can really help.
Use a richer moisturiser (ideally packed with essential fatty acids like cranberry seed, or rosehip) when in air conditioning or central heating. Our Superskin Moisturiser is a rich, luxurious, fragrance-free moisturiser which contains a powerful blend of high quality naturally active ingredients, potent plant oils, omega 3, GLA and antioxidants to intensively moisturize, plump and replenish.
Cold weather can cause lips to become chapped, so it’s important to keep the thin skin here moisturised. Bear in mind that lip balms made with mineral oil or petroleum jelly don’t re-moisturise, they simply sit on the surface. So to keep lips soft and comfortable choose a lip balm made with plant oils or purified lanolin. My favourite multi-purpose ‘emergency’ skin salve is our Superbalm. It’s packed full of pure plant oils and natural waxes plus shea butter to soften and echinacea to strengthen which all work to protect my lips from the cold winter air.
Applying a face mask to skin is a great pampering experience, but did you know that exfoliating your skin beforehand can literally double the effects of the mask? Try using Gentle Face Exfoliator then follow with Intensive Nourishing Treatment mask to replenish and deeply hydrate winter worn skin. Use any excess on the backs of your hands to give hard-working hands a treat too.
To maintain healthy, glowing skin during the winter month’s exfoliation is vital. Use an exfoliator as often as needed to buff away dead skin cells and revitalise. Try massaging in a generous amount of our Energising Body Scrub in the shower. This uplifting, invigorating and refreshingly scented body scrub exfoliates and cleanses, leaving your skin renewed, revitalised and super-smooth. I also use a body scrub on my hands to soften dryness and follow with lavish amounts of Liz Earle Hand Repair.
Although it can be hard to motivate yourself during the long winter months, exercise is every bit as important for your skin as good food and skincare. It increases blood flow which delivers nutrients and oxygen supplies to the skin. The benefits – pink cheeks, sparkling eyes and a radiant glow – are instantly visible and the good news is you don’t need to spend hours in the gym. A brisk walk in the fresh air will help to clear your mind and leave you with healthy, glowing skin.
What are your personal skin care rules?
These are my top tips:
1. Keep it simple
That simple skincare mantra ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise’ remains the most effective foundation for healthy, beautiful skin. Cleansing is the cornerstone and the best cleansers clean, exfoliate and balance the skin, leaving it instantly brighter looking. Choose a cleanser that also gently exfoliates, as buffing the skin to remove dead skin cells not only instantly brightens the face but also gently speeds skin cell renewal, leading to younger looking skin. Cotton muslin cloths are ideal facial exfoliators as they gently buff without scratching or irritation. They are also easy and economical to use. Our Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser comes with two pure muslin cloths to remove the cleansing cream, boost the circulation and lymphatic system. Follow with an alcohol-free skin tonic and moisturiser rich in skin nourishers, such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
2. Switch to plant power
Pure plant oils are naturally rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients and do more good for your skin than bland mineral oil or paraffin waxes. Choose a cleanser, moisturiser and body cream based on plant oils as these help skin retain its own moisture reserves by mimicking the skin’s own naturally effective moisture barrier, sebum. Plant oils also sink further into the uppermost epidermal skin cells and are better for keeping the skin soft, smooth and line-free than their petro-chemical counterparts.
3. Natural Vitamin E
I swear by natural source vitamin E food supplement capsules, a powerful source of the skin saving antioxidant and very effective at supporting your skin from within. They really do make a difference to the smoothness of my skin. Look for the words ‘natural source’ on the pack, as these are almost three times as potent as the synthetic type. Vitamin E is also useful when applied externally to the skin as it acts as a topical antioxidant and can help reduce the free-radical skin cell damage that leads to premature skin ageing. At Liz Earle, we only ever use natural source vitamin E in our skincare formulations because it is so much more effective on the skin.
4. Early to bed
I have always tried to follow my mother’s best piece of beauty advice, that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after. Maybe she was just trying to get me to bed earlier, but I still find it to be true and it does give better quality 'beauty sleep'. My skin always looks radiant after a good nights rest and we should all aim for 7 – 8 hours a night.
6. Body Brushing
For brighter, smoother skin on your body, I highly recommend body brushing. It’s an easy and inexpensive way of keeping the skin smooth, especially on lumpy, bumpy areas sich as upper arms, hips and thighs. Use a long-handled, natural bristle brush to literally brush she skin from top to toe (working upwards from the soles of the feet), concentrating on hips and thighs to help shift cellulite. Given a daily boost of body brushing, our skin sheds waste and toxins more easily while our body benefits from a boost to the circulation and lymphatic system, improving skin tone, smoothness and even helping our immune system.
What would you suggest for women, age 20-30, for their skin?
Most hormonal changes should have taken place by now, so this is the perfect era to establish good skin habits. The core products I suggest for your face are a cleanser, which you remove with a muslin cloth to exfoliate gently, an alcohol-free skin tonic, light daily moisturiser, slightly richer night cream, facial oil and mask.
A good vitamin and mineral supplement is a daily skincare insurance policy and tops you up with skin-saving nutrients. I started taking Advanced Antioxidant Formula or VM75 by Solgar Vitamins in my twenties and have never stopped. If you’re not already taking a product with GLA and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, add one now to encourage skin smoothness.
Keep skin clear and smooth by sipping 6-8 big glasses of still water every day (between meals). Sipping little and often rehydrates better than knocking back a couple of large glasses at once. Anyone still suffering with acne on their face and/or body should see their doctor and request referral to a dermatologist. If you have breakouts around the time of your period, consider herbs such as chasteberry (Angus castus).
And finally – please don’t forget to use suncare on your face and body – and hands! Imagine your face as a shrivelled-up old prune in a few decades and take proactive action now.
Do you have any secret tips for healthy and beautiful skin?
To me, beauty is much more than skin deep, but radiant skin is the icing on the cake. I truly believe that healthy beautiful skin should be within everyone’s grasp – and skincare shouldn’t be a chore or cost the earth (in any sense). My skincare philosophy is to keep it simple; a high-performance, fuss-free and dependable botanically-based skincare routine teamed with a healthy ‘clean food’ diet, regular exercise and plenty of sleep will help ensure you remain happy and healthy - and your skin glowing with vitality.