Surviving the cold: The experts tell how to winter-proof your skin

Dr Zara Kassam PhD

As the temperature plummets your skin can dry out. We speak to the experts about how to winter-proof your skin. 

Winter is finally here and the sudden drop in temperature can wreak havoc on our skin.

The combination of chilly temperatures and central heating can make our once radiant skin dry, flaky and more sensitive. On top of this the icy air draws moisture from the skin, leaving it looking and feeling dehydrated and less radiant.

But with help of dermatologists, Dr Hadi Abushaira and Dr Anjali Mahto, we’ll help you winter-proof your skin so you can stay looking your best.

According to Dr Abusahria, it’s all about being prepared, and following a few simple steps can save you a winter of painful, dry, red and irritated skin.

Avoid long, hot baths

It seems logical to thaw out in a in a long, hot bath or steamy shower but it’s not such a delight for our skin, Dr Mahto warns.

“Whilst it is tempting to jump into a hot shower for twenty minutes when it’s cold outside, this is probably one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Hot water will remove your skin’s natural oils and quickly deplete natural moisture. Keep the showers no longer than ten minutes and use warm or luke-warm water,” she says.

Tip: Dr Hadi’s tip- Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a luke warm bath as it can help soothe dry and irritable skin.


Upgrade your Moisturiser

Now the seasons have changed we can no longer be loyal to the summer time favourites and we may need to change up to something with a bit more moisture retention such hyaluronic acid.

Dr Mahto explains why: “Your skin forms a protective barrier against the elements and one of its main functions is to prevent water loss.   In the winter months, there is less production of natural oils (e.g. ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids) resulting in increased dryness, scaling, and flaking of the skin. It is important to moisturize regularly to combat this winter dryness.

Harley Street Emporium recommends:

ESK repair+ harley street emporium

ESK Repair + is a super hydrating moisturiser with Vitamin B3, Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid (mid molecular weight) and Peptides (Matrixyl 3000).

Repair + helps calm, restore and hydrate the skin. It contains ingredients that have been shown to help manage Eczema, Acne, Rosacea and Psoriasis as well as reduce wrinkle formation.

“Moisturisers will bind and retain water, in addition to forming a protective seal preventing further water loss. For best effects, this is best done straight after showering and then throughout the day as needed”, she says.

Once you’re out of the shower or bath it is vital to pat the skin dry and apply a nice rich moisturising body oil, or cream.  Dryer areas like our hands, elbows, and knees may need some extra TLC with more frequent applications.

Tip: Dr Hadi recommends wearing cotton gloves and socks overnight to seal in the moisture.




Sunscreen may seem like an odd choice at this time of the year, but even though we can’t feel the warmth of the sun our skin is still affected by the UV rays which cause premature aging, wrinkles and age spots, says Dr Hadi.

“Lathering on a layer of SPF 15 sunscreen before going out for any extended period should help protect your skin from the sun’s rays,” he says.

Dr Mahto adds the sunscreen you choose should protect against UVA and UVB rays and that it’s “particularly important if you enjoy outdoor hobbies such as running, hiking or snow-sports.”


Use lip balm

Out lips don’t contain oil glands to so in winter they can need a bit of extra help to stay hydrated. Without it they can become dry and cracked.

However, there is a simple solution, a lip balm containing a waxy or petroleum jelly based product can help create a protective coating. One with an SPF is even better as our lips get burnt too.

Tip: Dr Hadi recommends using unflavoured lip balms with carnauba or beeswax; these offer the best protection in the winter months – keeping your lips smooth and moist.



Harley Street Emporium recommends:

nannic miracle lips harley street emporium Nannic Lip Balm – it’s a hydrating lip plumping balm that promises fuller and healthier lips in 29 days. Packed with peptides and nourishing nutrients including a SPF15 to protect the lips from sun damage.


Gently exfoliate

From exfoliating body washes to exfoliating masks, removing dead skin cells is more important than ever in the winter months, but many people miss this important step in their beauty regime.

Dr Abushaira tell us that if dead skin cells are too plentiful on your hands, face and body, it may be difficult for moisture to get through to the living cells underneath. A careful round of exfoliating can help prime the skin for a little moisturising.

Remember harsh scrubs can sometimes be too much, especially for dry or sensitive skin. Also, there are many cleansers that can exfoliate using mild acids, so you don’t have to scrub with products that can damage the already dry skin barrier.


Harley Street Emporium recommends:

Harley street Emporium ESK hydroxy cleanserWith Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acids it the ESK Hydroxy Cleanser gently cleanses and exfoliates without drying it out. It leaves the skin smooth and looking fresh. Suitable for normal and oily skin.


Stay hydrated and nourished

“As the temperatures plummet, it’s tempting to opt for a warming latte rather than a pint of water – but this may come at the expense of your skin,” says Dr Hadi.

Keeping our bodies hydrated is essential. Although there is debate over just how much water you should drink, aim for at least 6-8 glasses as day.

“Water should make up a significant percentage of this fluid intake, keeping your body hydrated and your skin looking fresh,” says Dr Abushaira.

Why not try a little warm water with lemon. This winter concoction is refreshing and hydrating at the same adding to our daily-recommended amount.

You can also give yourself a little boost this winter with a diet rich with foods high in water content.

“Stock up on vitamin C-enriched citrus fruits and juices in particular, as this vitamin helps your body produce collagen, a vital protein for repairing and connecting skin,” says Dr Hadi.

He stresses the importance of keeping your immune system strong throughout the colder months, with a healthy diet, and exercise, making sure our diets include plenty of vitamin C and zinc and omega 3, the building blocks to glowing skin.

Vitamin C when applied topically has excellent evidence behind for protecting the skin from the elements as well as boosting collagen.

Harley Street Emporium recommends:

harley street emporium ESK C forteESK C Forte is an ultra-hydrating serum that delivers 16% L-ascorbic acid to the skin which helps boost collagen, even skin tone and protect the skin from the elements.




Invest in a humidifier

We are all guilty of turning up the central heating to full blast in the colder months. Artificial heat means there’s less moisture in the air, and as a result the longer we stay in such environments, the dryer our skin gets. This can lead to not only to dry, flaky skin but also breakouts and blocked pores.

One way to combat this it to invest in a humidifier. Dr Abushaira tells us that humidifiers can help increase the amount of moisture in the air.

“Placing one humidifier at home and one at the office should ensure that your skin is never deprived of much-needed moisture, and will retain its beautiful autumnal glow.”

Even a bowl of water placed near a heater can make a difference. (Obviously, don’t put it where it could spill on an electric plug or cable!)

Tip: Carry a small thermal water spray with you. This can help top up your skin’s humidity levels on the go.


What do you do in the winter months to maintain healthy looking skin? Why not share your tips and tricks with us!


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