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Winter S.O.S

Fight chapping, flaking and peeling

Winter S.O.S
26 September 2011

Q: I’m starting to get really dry skin and flaky patches now that the weather is starting to change. Do I need to switch up my skincare / shaving routine?

Chris, London

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

Almost all of us have trouble adapting to drastic changes in climate and environment. And, as you’re well aware, there’s nothing more brutal than the British winter at the height of this climate crisis. The icy cold winds do a great job of ripping into our skin’s protective barrier, leaving it defenceless, flaky and tighter than an obese Hoxton hipster in skinny jeans. And even if you don’t suffer from chronically dehydrated skin during the rest of the year, chances are your face will feel uncomfortable and parched as temperatures plummet.

In the same way your wardrobe gets an overhaul when the seasons change, so should your grooming routine. Look at it this way: one product isn’t going to work the year round just as one jacket isn’t going to be suitable for all seasons. Rather than slap on a Vaseline-style product (which essentially just sits on the surface of your skin doing nothing) you’ll need to incorporate heavy duty but intensive moisturisers that penetrate deep into the dermis. It might even be worth taking a good look at your diet too.

If you don’t mind a product with a dense and heavy consistency - and suffer from seriously dry patches - then look to Dermalogica’s Super Rich Repair (around £50 for 50ml;, a concentrated salve which acts like an insulator, helping fight inflammation at the same time. A more affordable but equally rich alternative is Ole Henriksen’s Skin Insulator SPF 15 ( £31 for 50g;, containing Borage Seed Oil, which prevents skin irritations and dryness. Henriksen isn’t as well known here as he is in Hollyweird but the botanical-based products are effective enough to ensure a loyal list of A-list fans.

If you can’t handle a heavy cream, try La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Epidermal Repair Accelerator (£9.50 for 40ml; or Elemis’ SOS Survival Cream (£39.90 for 50ml; - both are readily absorbed and won’t leave any annoying residue on the surface of the skin. If you’re hitting the slopes this Winter make sure you get something light and breathable with a built-in SPF like Lab Series’ Power Protector SPF50 (£38 for 100ml;

One more thing: Avoid sticking the boiler on full throttle and taking long hot showers when the temperature drops. These forces of habit might be comforting but they only dehydrate skin further, undoing all that well-intentioned grooming.

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(Image: Getty)