Central heating on = Skin turning off!
The autumn nights really feel like they’re closing in now and winter is definitely on its way.
This week I gave in to the chilly evenings and turned the central heating on – as much to keep warm as to stop feeling damp from all the rain we’ve had.
It’s made my home lovely and cosy but of course the down side is that if I’m not careful my skin will soon feel very dry and lose its summer glow. It’s a well-known phenomenon that central heating dries out our skin, leaving it feeling taut, dry and more prone to crinkly lines as well as dull and even itchy. So what can you do to counter this unfortunate side-effect of modern day living?
Here are my 7 Top Tips that will help your skin to stay supple and your body healthy during the winter months.
1 Hydration: Drinking plenty of water is perhaps obvious but an absolute must. Without adequate water, your skin looks dull, dry and lines look more prominent. When skin is properly hydrated it’s plump with good elasticity and doesn’t crack so easily. Try warm water with a slice of lemon in the morning and last thing at night. Sipping water during the day is a good way to increase your water intake if you don’t like drinking large glassfuls of water, which many people don’t. Hot water is often easier for people to drink than cold water especially in the winter.
2 Skincare: Make sure you use more moisturiser and include a regular exfoliating regime; I like to use this very simple sugar scrub to exfoliate.
1 cup of organic olive oil or coconut oil and 1 cup of sugar.
Mix them together, put into a jar in the fridge and use when you need to.
Apply to your face and body and wash off after about 10 minutes; it leaves skin feeling very fresh and looking much clearer as the dead skin cells are removed.
3 Ventilate your home: Open the windows! Central heating dries out the air and many houses and flats now have double-glazing and are essentially air-tight – not the naturally draughty rooms I grew up in – so it’s actually great to get some fresh air circulating around your home on a daily basis. Have a window open in your bedroom at night and turn off the heating! Try real wool blankets to keep you warm, not the man-made polyester blankets which frankly are useless at keeping you warm. If your house or flat gets very dry, consider using a humidifier to put some moisture back into the air.
4 Exercise: How many of us think we can hibernate in the winter and not bother about keeping up our fitness regime that we followed so assiduously in the summer. We no longer have the incentive of getting into a bikini and looking great in summer clothes but exercise increases blood flow and your blood carries oxygen and vital nutrients to all the cells in your body, including skin cells. At the same time, exercise increases lymphatic flow by as much as 25% and your lymphatic system is like an internal hoover, removing waste products and substances that cannot be re-absorbed into the blood.
5 Use sunscreen: Even though it’s cold and you can’t feel the warmth of the sun, don’t be fooled into thinking that it isn’t there and isn’t affecting you.
UV radiation is the number one factor responsible for skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. In fact, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have identified broad spectrum UV as a human carcinogen.
UV radiation has 3 specific wavebands; they differ in their biological activity and the depth to which they penetrate into the skin. The two you need to know about are UVA and UVB.
UVA accounts for up to 95 percent of the solar UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
It can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and has for years been thought to play a major part in skin ageing and wrinkling. The important thing to remember is that UVA rays are present during all daylight hours including the winter months so we need to protect ourselves. It’s also useful to know that it can penetrate through clouds and glass – which means that any windows you sit by are not protecting you!
UVB is the middle-range of UV. It’s responsible for burning, tanning and acceleration of skin ageing and plays a key role in the development of skin cancer. It doesn’t penetrate through glass like UVA. Find protection that offers multi spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB. Just because a sunscreen states a high SPF rating, it doesn’t mean it protects against both forms of UV radiation.
6. Don’t forget your hands and lips: Our hands and lips are especially sensitive to the cold. Try and moisturise your hands every time you wash them. Better still, use gloves where possible to prevent dry, cracked skin.
7. Consider supplements: Omega oils and hyaluronic acid can both help your skin to lock in moisture, making the most of all the water you drink .
We need a balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids to feed skin from inside.
If you don’t like oily fish which is a source of omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, sardines or herring, take a supplement of fish oils.
The other important essential fatty acid is Omega 6 found in Evening primrose oil, Blackcurrant seed oil and Borage oil. If you’re on any blood thinning medication [anti-coagulants], blood pressure medication, anti-depressants or medication to control seizures then you need to check with your doctor first as there are well known interactions with certain essential fatty acids.
Start now to make changes so that when the really cold weather arrives, you’ve got your new regime in place – any questions, do let me know. x