There’s something rather wonderful about getting your sweat on when it’s absolutely Baltic outside. Going for an early morning park run as the morning fog starts to lift; battling it out on the hockey pitch as your warm breath hits the cold air; taking a dunk in the chilly Irish Sea to really get the adrenaline + endorphins pumping!
We are huge advocates for keeping up a solid exercise routine, even when the temperatures drop outside but we know it can wreak absolute havoc on your skin; dry, red, and generally just mad at you, your skin can really take a hit in the winter. So? WHAT DO WE DO?????
Well, if you’re us, you find an expert. THE expert when it comes to skincare: time to meet Jennifer Rock, CEO & founder of The Skin Nerd and Skingredients! Jennifer is an award-winning dermal facialist and skin tutor who founded The Skin Nerd, including Nerd Network online skin consultation and membership service, Skingredients skincare and Cleanse Off Mitt makeup remover. Her philosophy is one of education when it comes to our bodies’ largest organ.
So obviously, we’ve called on her expertise to identify exactly how we maintain our exercise rhythm while keeping our skin happy+healthy! Here are Jennifer’s top tips for maintaining a moisturised, exercised warm winter glow!
Do I need a different skincare routine for different exercises? E.g. running vs. hockey?
When it comes to looking after your skin during any form of exercise, my main advice would be to cleanse thoroughly before and after exercising. Traces of makeup can get in the way of your sweat escaping, which can lead to itchiness, irritation and even congestion, and you’ve got to get that same sweat off you afterwards too.
The only place you’d need difference in your skincare routine is mostly outdoor exercise versus indoor exercise. If you’re doing it outdoors, you’re more likely to have the oils stripped off you - lord! - and this means you’ll need to put more of an emphasis on re-hydrating your skin.
If you exercise outdoors, get yourself a hand cream to get them back in good nick, especially if you’re climbing, cycling or doing anything else that will cause friction to your delicate hands. Remember to use SPF on any exposed areas before exercising outdoors (even in Winter), and to rehydrate post-workout with a nourishing serum or moisturiser that contains hydrators such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides.
If you’re an outdoor swimmer or indoor swimmer, lather yourself up in a body cream after you towel off and avoid going from a chilly lake into a very heated space, as sharp temperature differences can wreak havoc on the skin and cause further skin dehydration.
WHY IS EVERYTHING SO DRY??? How do you combat dry skin in the winter months?
Cold winds work to whip the natural oils that work to keep your skin hydrated right off you - rude! You can’t stop this from happening per se, but you can replace those oils with similar oils after the fact. Ceramides occur naturally in your skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF) and nourishing oils like grape seed oil or rosehip oil will be able to introduce that lovely lipidic moisture back to your biggest organ too.
Skingredients is our own range so we may be biased, but Skin Good Fats is filled with ceramide-y, fatty goodness for any dry patches you’ll find on your skin during the more blustery months.
How do I protect my skin when going from hot to cold (and back again!) environments? E.g. home-to-outside-to-gym?
Unfortunately, you can’t really protect from sharp temperature dips outside of avoiding them entirely, but making sure to replenish your skin’s moisture will definitely help! In terms of nutrition, our clients find that having more omegas in their diet or taking them as a supplement helps their skin to maintain moisture better - we love Solgar Triple-Strength Omegas and Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Omegas+, and you can get fatty acids in through your diet by upping your intake of flaxseed, chia seeds, salmon and avocado, just to name a few sources.
Is sunscreen really necessary in the winter?
I know you’d like me to say no, but yes, of course it is. UVB rays are the form of UV most associated with heated sunlight and the summer months, and contribute to the development of skin cancers and accelerated ageing. However, UVA rays are year-round and can also damage your skin in the same ways - nerdie bit: they can even travel through windows and clouds.
Whenever anyone asks for the best anti-ageing product, my answer is an SPF. Prevention is always easier than trying to treat the skin retrospectively!
The great thing about a good SPF is that it will do more than just protect your skin from UV. High-quality, higher-tech ones will also hydrate, protect from pollution, mattify or highlight, and prime the skin.
What are some of your favourite winter skin pick-me-up products?
It’s not a bad plan to have a nourishing, richer cream or masque in your arsenal if you’re going to be out and about in en plein air in the Winter. The REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask is great, and I also love to pop a layer of Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanse on for 20 minutes as a micro-mask to balance and soothe my skin.
Skin dehydration means flakiness and surface dehydration which translates visibly to dullness. The only man for flakiness and dullness is exfoliation. I’m not pro-scrub, as I find scrubs, grits and exfoliating tools can be too harsh on the skin, but exfoliating acids are fantastic for prompting your skin to exfoliate itself and loosening the bonds holding dry, dead skin cells to your lovely fresh new cells.
Sally Cleanse in the Skingredients range is 2% salicylic acid, which simultaneously exfoliates and decongests the skin. It’s quite strong, so twice a week at night is the perfect amount of times to use it for most hoomans.