Big, cosy sweaters and cups of hot chocolate can do wonders for your mood. But winter is not so great for your skin!
Cold weather and dry air, coupled with indoor heating, can dehydrate your skin. This leaves it feeling dry and rough during winter. And, as a man, your face becomes more sensitive to shaving, and more prone to premature ageing too.
But don’t worry.
For 2020, we’ve updated our guide to winter skin care for men. We’ll show you how to take the best care of your face and start the new decade off right.
Make this a season full of winter handsomeness!
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN IN WINTER... AND WHY YOU NEED TO
Redness, sensitivity, irritation and dry, flaky skin; winter conditions are particularly tough on your face.
The main reasons your skin behaves this way…
- Cold, dry air outside - As the temperature outside drops, the air is less able to hold moisture and becomes drier. This prompts it to draw moisture from your skin, leading to that dry, tight feeling. And if you’re prone to dry skin anyway the condition can worsen and become extremely painful in winter.
- Over-heated dry air inside - Central heating, wood-burning stoves, and cosy fireplaces all reduce the humidity indoors and dry your skin out even further.
But you can take steps to make sure that your skin doesn’t become dry, itchy and damaged this winter.
Gentle, hydrating skincare is what's required. Read on...
CLEAN YOUR FACE BUT WITHOUT OVERDRYING YOUR SKIN
As a man, your skin tends to be oilier than a woman’s. You naturally produce more oil, or sebum, because the sebaceous glands are more numerous and more active in a man’s skin.
This excess sebum can clog pores and lead to blemishes and acne, so it pays to clean your face twice a day - all year round.
But washing your face with a harsh cleanser or soap can over-dry your skin at the best of times. And in winter it’s really important that you don’t rob your skin of essential moisture.
Glycerin is a naturally occurring ingredient that balances the water levels in your skin. It facilitates moisture and restores your skin to normal hydration. Perfect for when the cold, dry air is disrupting that delicate balance.
It’s also worth sticking to lukewarm water when washing your face. Hot water will dehydrate your skin even more.
The same applies when you’re taking a shower.
It can be tempting to take long, hot showers when the mercury drops. But the high water temperature, and the evaporation that occurs once you’re out of the shower, will dry your skin out.
Follow these 5 steps to make sure you’re washing your face the right way – without harming your skin.
STEP 1: WET YOUR FACE USING WARM WATER
Before applying any face wash, first splash your face with warm water.
Avoid using very hot water as it will leave your skin dry and irritated.
On the other hand, comfortably lukewarm water will open up your pores and make for an effective clean.
STEP 2: USE A SMALL AMOUNT OF FACE WASH
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use too much product. A little goes a very long way, and you only need to use an amount the size of a nickel.
Squeeze this onto your fingertips and then spread the product across your hands. This will improve the effectiveness of the ingredients and allow you to evenly cover the areas of your face.
STEP 3: MASSAGE ON TO YOUR FACE (and beard)
Use gentle, circular motions to massage your face wash onto your face and neck, avoiding getting too close to your eyes. Use just enough pressure to loosen up dirt and excess oil.
Do this for about 30 seconds, spending extra time on those areas where you tend to have a build-up of oil or sweat.
And there’s no need to use a sponge or washcloth to apply your face wash. In fact, these can harbour bacteria and irritate your skin so best to avoid them.
Take it nice and easy, and let the cleanser do the work.
AND FOR YOUR BEARD
With your beard make sure that you use your fingertips to dig deep into all directions of the beard. This action will clean your skin better and will loosen any beardruff. It also stimulates the hair follicles, encouraging more growth.
STEP 4: RINSE
After massaging, rinse your face. Again, use lukewarm water.
When rinsing your beard, move your fingers through the beard to make sure that all the soap residue is gone
STEP 5: PAT DRY
To dry your face, simply pat your skin lightly with a clean, soft towel.
If you have acne, don’t rub at your skin with the towel, as this could irritate your skin.
Now if it’s a shave-day, you’re ready to apply your shave cream and start shaving. And if not, then this is when you apply your moisturizer.
For more on how to keep your face looking fresh, clean and healthy, see our article here.
EXFOLIATE TO BRIGHTEN UP DULL, WINTER SKIN
Dehydration from the cold, winter air can lead to flaky skin which looks dull and grey. It’s essential to exfoliate these flaky dead skin cells away to improve your skin’s appearance.
It also makes skin more receptive when you add hydration. It allows your shaving cream and moisturizer to sink into your pores and really get to work.
The right exfoliator will brighten and re-invigorate your skin. And by clearing away the dead skin cells it will prevent in-grown hairs from developing too.
But here’s the thing.
It’s important not to be too rough!
Stick to gentle chemical exfoliators which include Alpha-Hydroxy Acids in the ingredients. These are much better than gritty (or physical) scrubs which can dry out your skin and cause tiny tears in the skin’s surface.
This is a naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy acid that will gently and effectively exfoliate your skin. And it’s gentle enough that you can use it every day without irritation – even if you have sensitive skin.
And because we’ve incorporated it into our Daily Face Wash you can clean and exfoliate in one step every morning. This makes sure that dead skin cells are swept away before they get the chance to build up and show as flaky skin. So your skin is always in excellent condition.
In fact, exfoliation is one of the best things that you can do for your skin year-round!
So if you want glowing, healthy looking skin check out – A Man’s Guide to Exfoliation: FAQ's – where we answer all your questions.
HOW TO HAVE A GENTLE, EASY SHAVE IN WINTER
When the temperature drops, shaving can become a painful task!
The key to avoiding this is to introduce a hydrating shave cream to your routine. This will nourish your skin and protect against irritation and sensitivity.
Our Protective Shave Cream includes Shea Butter and Glycerin to improve hydration. It protects your skin and regenerates the protective lipid barrier which becomes depleted in winter.
A richer cream like this provides more protection between your skin and the blade.
We’ve also incorporated Apricot Stone Oil to lubricate your skin so that the razor glides easily over your face, resulting in much less irritation, and a super smooth shave.
MOISTURIZE YOUR SKIN
The most important thing you can do for your skin in winter is moisturize it... a lot!
You’re always going to look your best if your skin looks hydrated, and this is especially true in winter. Don’t wait for your face to get so dry that it needs to be rescued. Moisturize every single day to keep your skin smooth and soft.
But that doesn’t mean having to use a thick heavy cream that will leave you with a greasy feeling.
A lightweight cream with the right ingredients is even more effective.
OTIS Hydrating Daily Moisturiser is as deeply hydrating and nourishing as a heavy balm. But is still lightweight and easily absorbed, so there is no greasy feeling.
And it’s packed with powerful anti aging ingredients like:
- Hyaluronic Acid - to provide deep and long-lasting hydration, making your skin look smoother and improving elasticity
- Matrixyl – a peptide which stimulates natural collagen production to smooth fine lines and prevent deep wrinkles from forming
- Aloe Vera and Allantoin – to soothe and soften red, chapped winter skin
- Glycerin - to keep your skin soft and hydrated all day long
- D-Panthenol - to calm any redness and irritation from cold winds. This also restores the barrier function of the skin which becomes compromised in dry, cold weather
- Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E– anti-oxidants which regenerate your skin and help combat the aging effects of winter
Even if you have oily skin, it’s still essential to use a moisturiser in winter to hydrate and nourish your skin. Choose one that is light and has the right ingredients – like our Hydrating Daily Moisturiser - and your face won’t feel greasy or break out.
DON’T SKIP THE SUNSCREEN
It’s totally possible to get sunburned during the winter so protecting your skin from damaging UVA/UVB rays is a year-round job. And for those working outside, sunscreen is always a must.
Remember to reapply sunscreen several times throughout the day, especially if working or playing outside.
The best way to protect your skin is to use a sunscreen that is light, absorbs well and is super-effective – one that you will be happy to keep re-applying. We think Anthelios XL by La Roche-Posay SPF50 is the best around.
KEEP YOUR HANDS AND LIPS HYDRATED TOO
It’s not only your face that can feel dehydrated and uncomfortable in the cold winter air. Your hands can get painfully dry and crack in winter as well. Whilst your lips become chapped and uncomfortable.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR HANDS
While it’s important to wash your hands often during cold and flu season, soaps and anti-bacterial hand sanitisers can be drying. And again, hot water can be a culprit here too. Try to keep to lukewarm water when you wash your hands. It will be just as effective against bacteria but less damaging to your skin.
And you’ll need to restore any lost moisture. You can use our Hydrating Daily Moisturiser on your hands as well as your face. It will deeply hydrate your skin but without leaving a sticky, greasy feeling.
Alternatively, Kiehl’s make an excellent Hydrating Hand Cream which includes Shea Butter. We especially love the Grapefruit version for its delicious, fresh scent.
KEEP YOUR LIPS MOIST
You don’t need to be told that licking your chapped lips will only make them crack and peel worse than before.
Instead use a lip balm, but not one that will dry your lips out even more. Avoid those containing menthol or alcohol. Our favourite is NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm – or simply stick to coating them with Vaseline.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN FROM THE INSIDE
Prevention is the key to keeping your skin in good shape all year round. And it pays to take even better care of your skin from the inside during winter.
Two things which will make all the difference -
a healthy diet
Try to Include foods rich in healthy fats and protein (like fish, walnuts, flax-seed, olive oil, soybeans) and vitamins A, C, and E (such as red peppers, broccoli, spinach, oranges, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, sunflower seeds, almonds).
drinking more water
It’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your skin healthy at all times of the year. But it’s especially important to remember to stay hydrated in winter in order to counteract the dry air. Don’t underestimate the dehydrating effect of central heating and exercising outside.
The cold weather may not be your skin’s best friend but follow these tips and you’ll stay looking good all winter long… and on into the new decade!
- Keep your face clean, but make sure not to over dry your skin
- Exfoliate away dead skin cells to instantly improve dull, winter skin
- Use a nourishing shave cream to protect cold, sensitive skin
- Moisturize… a lot!
- Remember to use sunscreen
- Keep hands and lips hydrated too
- Take care of your skin from the inside
- Eat a healthy diet
- Drink plenty of water
Thanks for reading!
Is there anything we’ve missed? Or maybe you have a question.
Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment below.