Protect your skin

Bring your body in from the cold this winter with a good cream to protect against dehydration or dryness.

IN November, the weather bites. Your skin feels it first. You need your skin protected. All of it. Even skin that is covered feels the onslaught of the cold weather and the drying effect of central heating. This hot-cold combo is a disaster for your skin. There are two answers: move to the Bahamas or buy good cold-weather creams.

Even since I tried Sisley’s insanely expensive Confort Extreme, €142, 10 years ago, I’ve believed the right cream will protect your skin all winter. Sisley’s cream is an indulgence, but it got me through a bitter few weeks in the Austrian Alps and an unforgiving Christmas in Glasgow.

Knowing whether your skin is dry or dehydrated is a neat trick, and will help you choose a suitable moisturiser (although many creams cater for both conditions). Dry skin is a type (but it can be a ‘condition’, too) and it is caused by a lack of oil.

It can be more prone to fine lines, is sensitive and easily inflamed and is characterised by small pores. Dehydrated skin is due to a lack of water, and can be flaky and tight. It also is more prone to fine lines. If you’re worried about which you have, then check with a beauty therapist or dermatologist.

For me, winter skincare begins with an extra-hydrating serum. Just as layering with clothes is better than throwing on one big jumper, so your skin also benefits from a layered effect in winter.

Liz Earle’s Superskin Concentrate, €47.50, is one of my favourites, and Bobbi Brown’s Extra Repair Serum is also very good, giving a kick of extra-care. Or opt for a couple of drops of soothing and nourishing skin oil at night, such as Trilogy’s 100% Natural Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, €39.95.

There are tons of great creams to get you through the winter. I’m a loyal fan of Sisley’s (especially if you’re heading off to very cold weather) but Neutrogena, Avene and Clarins are also great for cold-weather solutions.

Don’t necessarily go for the thickest — it can overload your skin, and might not necessarily be the most effective. Two great options are Clarins’s HydraQuench Cream and Clinique’s new Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator, €45.50.

Don’t forget about your hands, either. My poor old mitts age about 10 years in the first few weeks of winter. They can’t cope. I love Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Concentrated Hand Cream, €5.63, because it’s cheap and very, very effective.

And for the body? Because my skin gets as lumpy and bumpy, during the cold weather, I exfoliate daily with Voya’s Time to Shine Body Buff, €29, before giving my skin a generous dose of Avene’s new Dermexo.

Cold weather? Bring it on.

STUFF WE LIKE

Moisturisers for different skin types

Sisley Confort Extreme, €142.

Even at the best of times spending more than a hundred quid on a skin cream seems crazy. But if I lived in Switzerland and was used to the best of things, and the worst of weather, then this is the skin cream I’d go for. It lasts ages as you only need the tiniest bit, and it’s the only cream I’ve tried that really did make my skin feel totally protected against the cold.

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Serum, €73.

The relatively new skincare line from Bobbi Brown isn’t cheap, but it’s very good and is already scoring awards. This serum is excellent for skin that is in need of a little extra care, which makes it a top choice for the winter months. There’s meadowfoam seed oil, wheat, bran and olive extracts and clary sage extract. Nice.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5, €12.50.

La Roche Posay has an excellent cold weather skincare range and its Hydraphase Intense Rich cream is very good for rehydrating sensitive skin types. This balm is a good one to have on hand through the winter, for dry patches and chapped, rough skin. I like using it on very weather-damaged hands.

Aveeno Dermexa Soothing Emollient Cream, €12.10.

It can be hard to find a good body moisturiser — there are a lot of over-scented, under-performing products out there, but this one from Aveeno is a good option. It harnesses the power of oats to fight dry, sensitive skin and is great for winter.

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