Lee Garrett’s Winter Skincare 101

by Lee Garrett

‘In the winter, the freezing cold temperatures and low humidity levels outside, combined with too many hours inside our centrally-heated homes can leave our skin feeling dry, dehydrated and in much need of some TLC’ says Harley Street Skin Expert, Lee Garrett. ‘Biting winds can also blow away moisture from the skins keratinocytes (i.e. skin cells), leaving it feeling stretched, tight, even sore and chapped.' It’s impractical to think we can protect ourselves against the elements – after all, we all have day-to-day lives to lead, jobs to go to etc. - but there are things we can do, inside and out, which can limit the damage. Here are Lee’s top tips for keeping your skin healthy, hydrated and protected:

1. Know Your Moisturisers
Using a Vitamin C based serum will provide your skin with the best protection from the cold winter winds, free radical damage and calm any irritation.

‘During the day, I recommend using Obagi Sun Shield (SPF 32 or 50) and Obagi CRX Pro C. It’s packed with key ingredients that penetrate the skin and the main ingredient is Vitamin C - one of the most powerful antioxidants. Or, for a more cost effective alternative, Tebiskin UV Soothe 50 is equally amazing as it contains the anti-inflammatory agent MSM and is very effective at calming your skin, whilst protecting it from UVA and UVB.’ says Lee. ‘Then, at night, I use Tebiskin Hyal as it’s very effective in replenishing the skin's hyaluronic acid.’ 

2. Repair Pre-existing Skin Damage
‘Sometimes the skin damage has gone just that little bit too far to be solely repaired and protected by natural remedies and store brought products. In this instance, I recommend having a course of Meso Therapy using Skinko. This is when a highly experienced skin specialist applies pure hayalonric acid underneath your skin, providing it with the ultimate hydration to restore its nourished ‘pre-winter’ glow. Each treatment costs £250 and, for optimal effect, it is advisable to schedule 1 treatment every 3 weeks (for the first 4 sessions), followed by one treatment every 6 months to maintain the results.’

3. Natural, Homemade Skin Remedies 
Prevention is always better than cure (and a little bit of pampering never goes amiss!) so here are some great home remedies to help you to maintain soft, youthful looking skin, whatever the weather.    

  • Olive Oil, Brown Sugar & Honey Scrub. Mix 2tbsp of olive oil with 4tbsp of fine brown sugar and 1tbsp of honey. 
  • Soothing Milk Lotion. The harsh winter weather can cause your skin to become dry and itchy. This is uncomfortable but the worst thing you can do is to scratch it as this can cause lasting skin damage. The milk in this lotion has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties so will help greatly. Combine several drops of rose water with 4tbsp of milk. Rub it all over your body and leave for 10mins. Rinse with cold water. 
  • ‘Beautiful Me’ Honey Cure. Honey is one of nature’s best moisturisers. It’s full of antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and is fantastic for helping your skin to retain moisture. Before bathing or showering, rub natural honey all over your body. Leave it for 5-10 minutes. Repeat daily.
  • Oatmeal Bath Soak. Oatmeal is extremely beneficial for the skin, both when eaten and when applied to the skin itself. It’s brilliant for moisturising dry skin as its high protein content creates a protective barrier, preventing moisture loss. Pour one cup of plain oatmeal into your bath of warm water and add a few drops of lavender oil (so you don’t smell like porridge!)

4. Healthy Skin Shopping List
Lee says ‘Vitamin C stimulates collagen production to keep the skin healthy, while Vitamin A protects the skin cell membranes and Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and protects cells from oxidative stress. Vitamins and minerals are always best absorbed by the body when consumed in their natural state so I always try to adapt my shopping list to include ingredients that will help my skin and body to look its best according to the time of the year. That way, I don’t have to think about getting the required vitamins… I know I am.’

  • Olive oil - Rich in Vitamins A and E and will help hydrate the skin to maintain its elasticity and softness.
  • Grapefruit - Contains Vitamin C, lycopene (i.e. keeps your skin youthfully smooth) and potassium (i.e. prevents wrinkles and age spots).
  • Avocado - A good source of Vitamins A, C and E. Along with mono-unsaturated fats, this wonder fruit also contains folic acid, magnesium and potassium, which are all essential for healthy skin.
  • Carrots and broccoli – Carrots are rich in vitamin A, while Broccoli is packed with skin-boosting Vitamins A and C, as well as natural oestrogens. For best results, opt for steamed, roasted or blanched broccoli.
  • Almonds - Contain powerful antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin E and other anti-aging properties to help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Spinach - Contains many nutrients needed for maintaining healthy skin cells and fighting the skin’s natural aging process. It’s especially rich in Vitamins A and C.
  • Green tea - Rich in antioxidants that fight free radical induced skin damage. Plus, the polyphenols in green tea reduce wrinkles, age spots and saggy skin.
  • Salmon - High in Omega-3 fatty acids and nourishes your skin from within. This helps maintain plumpness and moisture even when exposed to skin-drying winter winds and central heating. It also contains zinc, which stimulates the production of new skin cells.
  • Dark chocolate - Rich in flavonols - important antioxidants that fight against free radicals, helping your skin to stay soft and supple, and increase blood flow. (Note: The chocolate should contain >70% cocoa solids and be low in sugar.) 

Finally, drink lots of water - I know it’s obvious but it’s very important. Properly hydrated skin retains its elasticity, which prevents lines and wrinkles, chapped, scaly or flaky skin. We all know we have to drink lots of water during the summer months but it is equally important during the winter when we spend much time inside heated buildings. 

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