Winter facial care

Rain, snow and cold, freezing temperatures are what we associate with the winter. With this in mind, its the time of year when us guys need to spare a thought for the impact this will have on your hair and skin.

The biggest cause of winter skin problems is central heating. Constantly going in and out of work or your home exposes your skin to a sudden change of environment which confuses the operational side of the skins natural defence system.

In essence, the centrally heated environment tells your skin, "Look, its OK. Its quite warm, its probably a summer day". Your skin then switches to safe mode and its defences are dropped. While this doesnt cause problems in the humid indoor environment, the sudden change into a cold, dry outdoor environment with no natural defences strips your skin of its moisture causing red, flaky patches of skin in the exposed areas.

Its a similar situation with your hair. The constant hot/cold environment can create a flaky scalp in the winter months. Note however that a dry flaky scalp is completely different to dandruff, which is an oily condition. Make sure you treat a dry flaky scalp with moisturising shampoos and conditioners. Dandruff is treated with completely different products and those products may make a dry flaky scalp condition worse.

Fortunately, we can prevent these problems from happening with an easy morning hair and skincare regime.

Beginning with your shave, change your SD (Denatured) alcohol based shaving foams and aerosols to moisturising shaving creams. A moisturising shave cream will put moisture back into your skin. Try to shave with the grain as this wont rob your skin of its defensive oils like shaving against the grain can do.

As long as you dont have really oily hair, consider swapping your regular shampoo and conditioner to moisturising versions. This should help to prevent a flaky scalp. Leave-in conditioners are easy to use and perfect for preventing dry scalps.

Dont use soap or cheap cleansers since the mass produced chemicals in these products can dry out all skin types. Your skin is protected by its Acid Mantle which is a slightly acidic protective barrier. Look for cleansers, cleansing bars and shampoos and conditioners which range between pH 7 to pH 5.5 and certainly dont use any alkaline products on your skin. Alkaline products will neutralise the Acid Mantle making the problems worse.

Once youve washed and shaved, its time to use a little protection. Hopefully, this will be something you guys should be used to! To protect your face, you need to use a moisturiser. A moisturiser will coat the skin and then be absorbed. It will replace lost moisture as well as provide a protective layer against the elements. Most mens moisturisers now have a matte finish so you shouldnt need to worry about having a shiny face!

As with anything, there are exceptions to the rule. If youre on a winter holiday, normally at a high altitude, you should also invest in a sun protection product. Skiers and boarders often catch a bit of sunburn on their ears, noses and cheeks. Unless otherwise stated, put your sun protection cream (with a minimum protection of SPF30) on before your moisturiser, or better still, use an all-in-one moisturising sun protection cream.

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