Written: July 2007
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. You might have had your share of drenchings this winter, but your face is likely to be more parched than ever. Here’s how to break the dry spell…
How dry are you?
Probably more than you think. Everyone faces the ravages of lower humidity, central heating and wind during the cooler months and you don’t have to be uncomfortably tight or flaky to be dehydrated. Try the crinkle test, suggests Emma Hobson from the International Dermal Institute: “Smile and pucker your lips at the mirror, or gently pinch your cheek between your fingers. If fine, crepey lines appear, that’s a good sign of dehydration.”
“The actual oil level in your skin only varies slightly from summer to winter, so [unless you usually need an oil boost] you shouldn’t necessarily switch to a heavy, oil-rich moisturiser,” advises Hobson. But it is vital that your winter skincare not only contains quality moisturising ingredients but also helps hold onto hydration.
NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream, $50
Contains the combined powers of hyaluronic acid and a humectant PHA (poly hydroxy acid) called lactobionic acid to attract water and trap it beneath a ‘hydro film’. Meadowseed oil also helps condition the skin’s defences against moisture loss. Strong enough to combat serious dryness, it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin too.
Cetaphil Intensive Moisturiser, from $6.95
Quenches a parched complexion with a blend of naturally nourishing shea butter and barrier-strengthening glycerol. Fragrance-free to avoid flare-ups and non-greasy, it moisturises for up to eight hours and can be worn everyday under make-up.
Sebamed Anti-Dry Day Defence Cream, $24.49
Enriched with comforting avocado oil, this cream intensively cares for skin suffering windburn and flaking. Replenishing moisture stores with vitamins A and Ewhile soothing irritation with rapeseed phytosterols, it banishes dryness to leave skin softer and more supple in seconds.
Ultraceuticals Ultra C Treatment Cream, $120
“Vitamin C increases skin hydration indirectly by, firstly, increasing the production of ceramides that form the lipid barrier that keeps water in the skin and, secondly, increasing the production of keratin, which does the same,” says Dr Geoffery Heber. This, his own formula, bursts with a pure 23 per cent of the stuff.
Danné Montague-King Hydrophilic Crème, $107.50
Holding up to 10 times its weight in water, this comforting cream soaks right in to work on a cellular level. Rich in vitamins A and D, it does away with dryness and winter flakes while reducing trans-epidermal water loss.
Oily skin gets thirsty too
“Oil does naturally care for skin and help preserve the moisture barrier, but it’s different to the moisture healthy skin also needs,” explains Hobson. “Your skin might feel oily, but environmental conditions are still sucking the moisture right out. Everyone needs to protect their skin.” Plus, dehydration will only provoke your skin to overcompensate with oil. Opt for a moisturiser that tops up hydration without adding to your shine factor.
Glotherapeutics GloPurifying Oil Control Emulsion, $59
Balances hyaluronic acid and allantoin with antibacterial agents and d-cholic acid to give spot-prone skin lasting hydration. Also helps mop up oil slicks for a lasting matte complexion.
Dermalogica Active Moist, from $51
A light, oil-free lotion that combats surface dryness without provoking eruptions. Natural astringents including lemon and watercress help control sebum while soothing extracts of cucumber and mallow provide moisture.
Ella Baché Hydra Ever-Fresh Matifying Gel, $89
A moisturiser for those who don’t like moisturiser. This gel uses hyaluronic acid for maximum moisturisation plus nymbuline to repair skin’s hydrolipidic barrier – then it disappears into a smooth matte finish.
A little TLC
Make winter skin maintenance a treat. “People don’t use moisturising masks enough,” says Hobson. “A deeply hydrating mask, ideally every week but at least every month, can really make a difference.”
Environ Interactive Claytech Mask, $40
Perfect for all skin types, especially oily. While kaolin clay draws out excess oil, glycerol and vitamin E lock in moisture. Apply it for 10 minutes or leave to soak overnight.
Linden Leaves Herbalist Moisture Replenishing Masque, $25
Dripping with balancing manuka oil and comfrey, this hydrates and soothes the natural way.
• For an intensive moisture hit, layer a serum or moisturiser beneath your treatment mask. Declaré Hydro Balance Moisture 24H Effect Ampoules ($44.95 for seven) are perfect for the task.
• Bathe quickly in warm water and apply moisturiser within three minutes of getting out.
• Get more essential fatty acids from sources like oily fish or supplements like Danné Montague-King’s DMK EFA+ ($60).
• Regular exfoliation stops moisturiser getting stuck in surface debris.
• Skip soaps and alcohol-based toners.
• Don’t forget your daily sunscreen. Alpha-H Ultra Protector SPF30+ ($54.95) contains aloe and vitamin E too.
• Mists boost moisture without messing with make-up. Try: Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner ($20.95) or Purestuf Natural Skincare Heavenly Mist Vitamin Spray ($25).
• To thoroughly soak flaky areas, use a vitamin-drenched serum as a spot treatment. Try: Botani Olive Skin Serum ($29.50) or Renew Skincare 100% Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil ($15.95).– Tracey Withers