GUEST POST: Healthy Winter Skin

On this crisp wintery Wednesday I on Image welcomes our first ever guest beauty blogger Vivienne McAlister-Geertz, owner and Chief Skin Lover at Simply Skin

When winter arrives we all want to keep the chill outside and the warmth inside. But that means we crank up our heat and this inevitably leads to dry skin. Whether you heat your home with oil, gas or electricity, the effect is the same. So how do you reduce the effects of winter and central heating on your skin? Read our guide below so you can enjoy healthy, happy skin throughout the cold winter days. –Vivienne McAlister-Geertz

Photo credits John Price at

Photo credits John Price at

So what does the cold winter weather do to your skin?

The winter weather strips your skin of its moisture and then sucks away the naturally-produced sebum (or oil) that your skin creates to keep your skin moisturised. Then when you turn on your central heating, it will begin to pull the moisture out of the air in your home, making it drier and this, in turn, pulls the moisture out of your skin. So it’s a double-whammy – both the winter weather outside and the central heating inside both draw moisture out of your skin. As your skin loses moisture, it becomes more and more dry and can begin to feel tight and itchy. To avoid your skin becoming damaged and prematurely aging you really need to turn the heat up on your skincare routine.

Adjust your cleansing and moisturising routine

Did you know that whilst a hot shower or bath may feel good when it’s cold outside, the hot water actually strips the oil away from your skin much more than lukewarm water? I recommend you turn down the heat a bit when you’re in the bathroom, especially when you’re washing your face and hands as they are exposed to the cold weather the most, and the skin on your face and hands is thinner than the skin elsewhere on your body.

Because your skin dries out more in winter you really need to up your game when it comes to moisturising and you may find that the moisturiser you use in spring and summer just won’t kick it in winter. I recommend using oil-based products such as body serum and facial serum to replenish the oil that is being stripped from your body. I also recommend using a body butter which is heavier than a moisturiser. When out shopping for a body butter, try to find one that does not contain water (you’ll see “Aqua” listed on the ingredients label if it contains water) as a true body butter should only consist of butters and oils. Always have an oil-based product like a body serum or facial serum close by when you cleanse your skin, for example near the bath, shower or at the sink, so you can apply it immediately after you wash.  Applying a moisturising product to damp skin helps seal that dampness into the skin.

And don’t forget about your feet. During winter your feet also need extra strong treatment so the lotion you use during summer just make not kick it. I recommend upgrading to a heavier moisturiser, like a foot butter, which is full of butters and oils. Remember to choose your moisturiser carefully. Avoid moisturisers which contain petroleum-based ingredients such as mineral oil or paraffin wax as these ingredients tend to dry out your skin even more.

Photo credits George Yanakiev at

Photo credits George Yanakiev at

Protect your skin

When you’re out and about, protect your skin from the winter elements by covering up and wearing gloves and scarves. By adding this extra layer of protection you reduce the amount of moisture being sucked from your skin. Apply sunscreen. Yes – sunscreen isn’t just for summer.  The winter sun, especially in combination with the reflection and glare from snow, can still damage your skin. I recommend you apply sunscreen to your face and other exposed areas such as your hands (if you don’t have gloves) approximately 30 minutes before going out and re-applying if you are staying out for long.

Avoid wearing socks and gloves that are damp or wet as this can irritate your skin or cause cracking and itching. And if you suffer from eczema, wet gloves and socks could cause a flare-up. If your facial skin is dry, avoid using harsh peels and masks that contain alcohol or are clay-based as these will strip the oil from your skin. Rather choose masks which are deeply hydrating and use them only occasionally.

Exfoliate, hydrate and sleep on it

Although regular weekly exfoliation should be part of our skincare routine, because we cover up more in winter and our skin isn’t on show so much, we tend to forget the importance of exfoliating our skin – out of sight, out of mind. We need to remember the reason for weekly exfoliation and that’s to help remove dead cells from the skin. If there are too many dead cells caught on the skin your winter moisturiser simply cannot penetrate through to do its job. Whilst it’s important to exfoliate your body each week, I recommend you pay particular attention to exposed areas of skin such as your face, hand and lips. I recommend using an exfoliating product which contains butters and oils meaning your product will exfoliate and moisturise. Immediately after exfoliating, don’t forget to generously slap on your winter moisturiser.

How many times have you heard someone tell you that you need to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated and looking younger for longer? Well…. just because you drink plenty of water doesn’t mean you won’t have dry skin. According to dermatologist, Kenneth Bielinski, whilst the skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from drinking fluids, the average person’s skin does not reflect the amount of water they consume. I recommend drinking plenty of water for your health, not just your skin. In winter we tend to not drink as much water as we turn more towards hot drinks like cocoa. Why not try some warm water with lemon juice in it for a lift?

As you already know, you need to crank up the amount of moisturiser you use in winter. But why not also let your moisturiser work for you while you sleep? On those areas that need that extra boost of moisturiser during winter, such as hands and feet, why not slap on some body butter on your hands and foot butter on your feet last thing at night, then wear cotton gloves and socks to seal in the moisture until morning.

If you follow the tips in this guide and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy throughout the winter months, you’ll have less work to do to prepare your skin for the warmer spring weather. –Vivienne McAlister-Geertz


About the author

Vivienne McAlister-Geertz

Photo credits Dave Pelham Photography

My name is Vivienne McAlister-Geertz and I’m the owner and Chief Skin Lover at Simply Skin, a handmade skincare company. I believe that the size of your jeans doesn’t determine how beautiful you are; it’s the size of your heart, the strength of your determination, and the gentleness of your love. So, through Simply Skin, I take you on a personal adventure that will inspire you to step into a world of beautiful dreams and fantasies. I bring to the forefront, the honest unapologetic you. My dream is to encourage and guide you to love the woman you really are, with sincerity and authenticity. No more hiding and blending in with society’s expectations and norms. Celebrate, with pride, your individuality, your uniqueness and your natural beauty, for all women are truly beautiful.