Winter can ravage your skin — making it dry, itchy, and irritated. When outside, winter conditions leave your skin feeling extremely dry and irritated. Once indoors, heaters become the culprit: drawing moisture from the air and your skin. It can feel like there is no escaping the havoc.

Don’t despair, there are many simple ways to combat dry winter skin and help keep your skin feeling hydrated and supple, including some easy changes to your everyday routine. For example, using rich moisturisers, the right cleansers and avoiding long, hot showers.

I have been formulating skincare products for the harsh Australian climate for over 25 years. Here are my top 5 tips to ensure your skin stays in peak condition during the winter months.

1. Avoid harsh, drying soaps

Using the wrong soap can be disastrous in winter. Everyday soap bars can contain a cocktail of irritating ingredients that include artificial fragrance, preservatives and detergents. They will make your skin feel clean for a few moments then dry and uncomfortable later. Choose a soap that is made with
plant oils and free of sulphates. Natural soaps are highly effective in cleaning the skin without the harsh drying effect of chemically based alternates.

When you consider we bathe every day, it’s incredibly important to use a soap that is gentle and moisturising on our skin. It’s best to avoid chemicals and use gentle shower gels and natural soaps in winter that moisturise and soothe the skin.

2. Choose gentle, chemical free facial cleansers

Just like soaps we use on our body, when cleansing our face, it’s very important to use a gentle, effective hydrating detergent free cleanser. I recommend cream cleansers (especially in winter). Look for cleansers infused with natural ingredients (Jojoba, Aloe Vera, Apricot Oil), detergent free with a think creamy consistency. Natural, thick cream cleansers are designed to be highly effective without dehydrating the skin.

3. Modify your facial skincare regimen for the season

During the winter months, choose chemical free creams and toners that don’t contain alcohol. Toning is important, but a lot of toners contain alcohol. It can be extremely drying on the skin – especially in winter months.

Your sleep phase is the perfect opportunity for the skin to repair and heal. Choose a rich night cream and moisturising serum specifically designed to deeply hydrate and repair as you slumber. Avoid chemicals, synthetic ingredients and instead opt for naturally based, preservative free alternatives.

Exfoliation is also super important during winter. Exfoliating removes dead, dry skin cells, unclogs pores, increases blood circulation and brightens your skin’s appearance. Most importantly, exfoliating 1-2 times a week allows your moisturiser and serums to penetrate deeper into the skin and work more effectively.

Opt for exfoliants made with non-irritating ingredients. Look for hydrating ingredients like Aloe Vera Juice and Jojoba. Top tip: Choose an exfoliant with tiny granules as large granules may overstimulate and irritate the skin.

And don’t forget your lips. Applying a moisturising balm can help heal dry, cracked lips and keep them from cracking. It’s a great idea to always carry a Lip Balm in your bag as you never know when and how often you’ll be needing it in the winter! Look for natural balms infused with Jojoba, Coconut or other hydrating natural emollients.

4. Moisturise frequently, especially your hands

I always apply a nourishing, naturally based body moisturiser after bathing. Hot, long showers are lovely in Winter but they remove natural oils from your skin. Maintain healthy skin by moisturising after every shower session.

Don’t forget your hands, especially after washing the dishes. I prefer a hand cream made with plant oils and botanicals. I find plant oils (Almond, Apricot, Olive or Jojoba) to be really nourishing. Not only are they natural, they really do work to rehydrate and replenish moisture. I also recommend wearing waterproof gloves whilst cleaning or washing dishes (avoids direct
contact with chemicals).

5. Apply sunscreen

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget your sunscreen. Even on overcast, cloudy days, the sun’s rays are damaging. Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap! It’s just as important to be applying sunscreen in the harsh winter weather as it is in the summer.

Finally remember to eat right. Healthy food on the inside reflects on the outside. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and most importantly, in my view, a wide smile and confidence will also work wonders for the skin!