Seasonal changes influence the skin. Winter is the dry season and the skin loses moisture to the atmosphere. Habitual lack of moisture can lead to excessive dryness, flaking, rough and red skin, etc. Therefore, as seasonal changes take place, it is necessary to adjust the daily skin-care routine in order to prevent moisture loss and also replenish moisture.
Keep it Clean
For dry skin
Dry skin lacks both oil and moisture. If it is not kept moisturised, very tiny lines may become visible on the outer layer. In some case, there may be rough, red, flaky patches appearing on the skin. The daily care routine is extremely important, as it helps to delay ageing in dry skin. If the skin is very dry, avoid soap. Cleanse twice a day, with a cleansing cream or gel. A cleanser containing aloe vera would be good, as it moisturises the skin. Apply the cleanser and wipe it off with moist cotton wool. After cleansing in the morning, tone the skin, using a rose-based skin tonic. Using cotton wool, wipe the skin and then pat it briskly. Toning removes the cleanser and also stimulates circulation, flowed by applying a moisturiser. At night, cleansing is even more important in order to remove make- up and pollutants. Make-up cosmetics also cause dryness. Massage the cleanser lightly into the skin and remove it with moist cotton wool. Using moist cotton wool helps to prevent further dryness, as it does not absorb any more moisture from the skin.
For normal to oily and combination skins
Normal to oily and combination skins may also feel dry during winter. This is due to dryness of the outer layer. For a combination skin, use a cleansing milk and for oily skin, a face wash containing ingredients like neem and tulsi would be ideal. Apply it on the face and wipe off with moist cotton wool, or wash off the face wash. Then tone with rose water or a rose- based skin tonic. Apply a light liquid moisturiser. Or, use a non-oily matte moisturiser.
Lock the Moisture
For dry skin
Moisturisers are available in cream and liquid form. For dry and dehydrated skin, it is better to use a moisturizing cream. A liquid moisturiser should be used under make-up. Apply it before using foundation. Whenever the skin feels dry, apply a liquid moisturizer. For all skin types, apply sunscreen before going out in the sun.
Most sunscreens have built-in moisturizers. This helps to protect the skin from moisture loss, because sun-exposure also depletes moisture. For dry and dehydrated skin, a sun block cream would be better, while for normal to oily skin, use a sun block lotion or sunscreen gel.
For normal to oily and combination skins
Normal to oily and combination skins actually feel and look better when the humidity is less. However, after washing the face with soap, there can be some superficial dryness. Sometimes, when moisturisers are applied, the skin can become prone to pimples. This is a problem faced by people with oily skin. To deal with dryness and moisturise on oily or acne prone skin, take 100 ml rose water and add one teaspoon of pure glycerine.
Mix well and keep in a bottle. Apply a little of this lotion whenever the skin feels dry. Avoid mixing home ingredients in large quantities so that they keep well. You can even keep the bottle in the fridge.
Normal to dry skins should also be nourished with a good night cream. Look for a nourishing cream, containing ingredients like wheat germ oil, carrot seed, almond as they are rich in Vitamins A and E. Spread the cream lightly on the face. Adding a few drops of water helps the massage. Remember that when you massage, use gentle strokes, without pulling or stretching the skin. Nourishing helps to lubricate the skin and keep it soft. It also helps the skin to hold moisture better. After cleansing, apply the nourishing cream and massage it on the skin, with upward and outward movements, for 3 to 4 minutes. Then wipe off all cream with moist cotton wool before bedtime.
Facial masks should also be part of the skin-care routine. Nowadays ready-to-use masks are available. Choose one according to the skin's requirements. You can also mix a mask at home with wheat bran (choker), almond meal and one teaspoon each of honey, egg yolk and yogurt. For oily skin, add egg white. Mix together into a paste and apply on the skin. When it dries, wash it off. Use the mask once or twice a week.
Facial masks help to remove dead cells and keep the skin in a good condition. The skin's moisture-retention ability improves and it can also absorb skin-care products better. If the skin is very dry and sensitive, avoid masks.
Pay special heed
There are certain areas of the face that also need special care. The skin care methods for these areas are the same for all skin types.
Eyes: Apply an outer-eye cream around the eyes and wipe it off after 10 minutes, with moist cotton wool. Do not massage the skin around the eyes, as the skin can get pulled or stretched. The skin around the eyes is very delicate and should be treated very gently.
Lips: The skin on the lips is also very thin and lacks sebaceous (oil producing) glands. That is why it can become dry and chaps easily. The skin may also start peeling. It is extremely important to remove lipstick from the lips every night, using a cleansing gel. Some lipsticks actually have a drying effect on the skin. After cleansing, apply an almond cream on the lips and leave it on all night. This would help to soften the skin. In fact, lip balms are also very helpful in healing the skin on the lips, preventing chapped lips and keeping them soft and smooth. As a home remedy, one can apply almond oil, or cream of milk. Daily care is very important.
Easy DIY winter treatments for skin
Apply honey on the skin and rinse off with water after 15 minutes. For normal to oily skin, add a few drops of lemon juice to the honey. Applying mayonnaise or egg yolk on the skin also helps to relieve dryness. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off with plenty of water.
Cleanser for dry skin: To a tablespoon of cold milk add 2 drops of any vegetable oil (olive, or til or sunflower oil). Mix well. Dip cotton wool in it and use it to wipe the skin. You can make this in a larger quantity for 2 or 3 days, but keep it in the refrigerator.
Skin softener for dry skin: Take four tablespoons honey, one cup milk and four teaspoons wheat germ oil. Mix together and keep in a glass jar with a lid. Keep in the fridge. Apply a little of this lotion on the face, neck and hands daily. Rinse off with water after 15 minutes.
Cleanser for oily/combination skin: Add lemon juice and rose water to ripe papaya pulp. Apply on the face and wash it off after 20 minutes.
Moisturiser for oily skin: Take 100 ml rose water and add one teaspoon pure glycerine. Mix well and keep in an airtight bottle. Apply a little of this lotion to relieve dryness on the face and hands.
Skin toner for all skin types: Take one tablespoon honey and one peeled and cored apple. Puree the ingredients in a blender. Apply it on the face like a mask and keep it on for 15 minutes. Then, rinse off with cool water. This is a powerful skin toner.
Face mask: Mix half a teaspoon honey, one teaspoon rose water and one teaspoon dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply on the face. Remove after 20 minutes with water.
Food for the skin
Diet also helps to achieve a glowing skin. Nature is actually the best physician. It provides us with fruits and vegetables that are needed by the body in the different seasons. In winter, we need Vitamin C to strengthen our immune system and protect the body from colds and coughs. So, we have oranges and sweet lime (mousambi). Green leafy vegetables are also rich in Vitamin C and many minerals. In winter, the body also needs more of Vitamin A. So, have plenty of orange vegetables and fruits, like papaya and carrots.
Both Vitamin A and C are very important for the skin. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and delays early aging. It also helps to maintain healthy collagen, the supportive tissue of the skin. Similarly, Vitamin A and E play significant roles in maintaining the softness and smoothness of the skin texture. Dates, seeds, nuts and dry fruits are available in plenty during the winter months and so are peas. These provide proteins, vitamins and minerals which are required by the body. People with certain health conditions such as Diabetes are advised to consult their physician and dietician before making any changes to their diet.
Fruit and vegetable juices, freshly extracted are ideal. They provide nutrition and cleanse the system. There is no doubt that if the body is supplied with adequate nutrients and wastes are eliminated efficiently, we can achieve healthy, glowing skin.
Shahnaz Husain, globally acclaimed pioneer and leader Ayurvedic beauty care,is a world renowned beauty and wellness expert. A Harvard Subject on “Emerging Markets,”
she is Founder and CMD of the Shahnaz Husain Group.