How to take care of your skin in winter

After the longest autumn I think I’ve ever had, winter has arrived in the UK and with it comes cold air biting at your skin. As if that isn’t bad enough, you’re then subjected to the dry air of the central heating.

Mature skin in particular needs an extra touch of TLC in the winter months. Here’s the five best ways of giving your skincare regime a bit of love…

Learn the beauty benefits of CBD oil

I’ve been reading a lot about CBD (cannabidiol) oil helping to treat the menopause, but it seems it also has lots of benefits for the skin.

“It makes an effective moisturiser, reducing fine lines, wrinkles and helps prevent early signs of ageing,” says nutritional therapist Fiona Lawson, who works with CannabiGold.

Studies show CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory that could help with acne. Because acne is a result of inflammation of the hair follicles and the sebaceous glands, the oil works to calm the skin, which reduces breakouts and redness. There are reports that it could also help with oil production.

I know what you’re thinking – acne is for youngsters. Well believe me, it’s not. When my hormones started to flux (makes me sound like Back to the Future’s DeLorean!), my skin broke out like it had never done in my teens and 20s. Spots AND wrinkles – life’s a bitch at times.

However, CBD oil is a powerful antioxidant, which means it could also help lessen the signs of ageing by diminishing wrinkles and dull skin. Wish I’d known about it five years ago.

(By the way, CBD oil is not a drug. Yes, it comes from the cannabis plant but it should not contain the psychoactive – and illegal – cannabinoids THC & CBN. There’s a tiny chance it might, however, so make sure you buy from a reputable brand. So no, you won’t get a high – unless you really love what it does to your skin.)

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Cannabigold classic 500MG CBD oil (£29.90)

Eat fruit and vegetables

I grew up eating fruit every day* and I really notice a difference in my skin if I stop doing it – probably because I end up snacking on sugary snacks such as chocolate and boiled sweets instead.  

“What we eat has an effect on the mechanisms that are associated with ageing of the body and these benefits will be reflected not only in terms of good health, but also in the condition of the skin,” nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, the author of and Natural Alternatives to Sugar, says.

“Vitamin C is the most important nutrient as this vitamin helps in the manufacturing of collagen so a good intake of fruits and vegetables is important and should be eaten on a daily basis.”

The importance of fruit and vegetables in a healthy diet can’t be overstated, especially when we get older. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been tied to fewer menopause symptoms, while they’re also essential for bone health.

I also find that I look after myself better when I eat better – it gives me the energy I need to do things like take my make-up off properly at night and put on all my lotions and potions. Plus there is nothing tastier than a ripe strawberry or a handful of sugarsnap peas.

(* My mam is of the old-school method of boiling veg until it’s mush so while we also had vegetables with every meal, all the goodness had long since disappeared.)

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Itsu seaweed thins (RRP £1,)

Add a touch of seaweed to your diet

When I was a teenager, a boy tried to scare me with seaweed on the beach at Whitley Bay. I remember us both being bemused when I took it out of his hand and asked what I was supposed to do with it! He’d be even more incredulous that I now eat seaweed. When we go out for a Chinese meal, they have to whirl the lazy susan away from me when it’s placed down on the table.

I’m glad I do because seaweed is swimming (sorry) in beauty benefits. Antioxidants help protect against free-radicals, fighting the signs of ageing from the inside out, while it’s also packed with vitamins, minerals and salts to nourish your skin.

Learn to manage your stress levels

My skin is the first thing to suffer when I feel stressed. I look dull, get furrow lines from frowning and I develop under-eye bags so deep I feel like I could carry potatoes in them. I’ve tried meditation and mindfulness but I never feel relaxed, which means I end up getting more stressed – especially in the dark, cold months. The one thing that does it for me is yoga.

I have enthused about Chaz Rough’s Yogamazing podcast (above) for years. Mr 50Sense started me on it after it helped his back. The focus and Chaz’s calming voice means it is just 20 minutes of bliss, where I can truly let my mind go. Yoga is the only exercise where I honestly get an exercise high afterwards. It leaves me feeling great.

It’s also cheap – all you need is a mat. Make sure you choose one that’s light and flexible so you can carry it around if needs be and also test it’s stickiness. You don’t want to slip in the crow pose.

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Phantai Manala yoga mat (£80)

Exfoliate your skin

Two times a week, I exfoliate both my face and my body to remove dry, flaky and dead skin. At the minute, I’ve fallen in love with Mr 50Sense’s Bulldog Original Face Scrub (that’s between you, me and the bathroom). It contains aloe vera, camelina oil and green tea and feels so smooth – which is weird, because it’s a scrub! But it’s not one of those scrubs that tears away from your skin. It’s soft and gentle and I can notice the difference afterwards. Let’s hope Mr 50Sense doesn’t notice it going down quicker than it should…

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For the rest of me, I’ve been converted to the Rabot 1745 Coffee Body Scrub from Hotel Chocolat. I first saw this at a press event and tried in against my hand and I was amazed at how hydrating and creamy it felt, which is perfect for the dry, winter months. Plus it smells of coffee – but in a nice way, not that horrible chemically sense that so often plagues food-based beauty products.

Apply both on wet skin in the shower or bath, using gentle, circular motions. For a start, just massaging your skin feels wonderful and you’re left feeling refreshed and clean.

And while you may want a hot shower after being out in the cold, make sure to use warm water and gentle body washes so you don’t strip your natural oils away any more.

What are your top tips for taking care of winter skin? Let me know below.

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