How to train your skin

The cooler months are the perfect time to take your skin to boot camp and get it back in top form.

Weekly regimens involving active skincare can replenish, rejuvenate and promote cell turnover, while masks and peels for treating pigmentation, melasma and wrinkles can revive your skin after the long, hot summer. So what are the cool climate skin boosters that will help you get your skin fighting fit throughout winter?

A serious skin routine incorporates a variety of layering strategies and techniques to diminish fine lines and wrinkles; fade pigmentation and age spots; firm sagging skin; minimise uneven skin tone; and improve breakouts.

A few extra minutes every day spent with your skin rejuvenation products will turn a basic skincare routine into a serious skincare regime that will comprehensively address an array of skin issues.

Clean

Cleansers are an essential step in any effective skincare program. Choose a simple, gentle cleansing product that will effectively remove dirt, makeup and excess oil. Maintaining the evening cleansing step is the most important of them all to wash away the day’s wear and tear on the face. Try something with glycolic acid or AHA for added skin-refining and anti-ageing benefits.

Exfoliate

After cleansing, the next most beneficial strategy to incorporate into your serious skincare regime is exfoliation. Removing the old skin cells that collect on the surface of the skin encourages the growth of new cells, revitalising your skin.

You can choose to use a mechanical exfoliation method, which is a granular scrub style, or a chemical exfoliant. The abrasiveness of a microdermabrasion scrub is quite effective in removing the outermost layer of dead skin cells that collect on the surface of the skin.

Mechanical exfoliation can be integrated into your routine directly after the cleansing step once or twice a week.

There are several opportunities to integrate chemical and enzyme exfoliants such as an alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acid, or Vitamin A (Retinol, Tretinoin and Retinyl Palmitate). These are good for fine lines and wrinkles and should be included in any serious skincare rejuvenation plan.

A good exfoliant, microdermabrasion or peel can truly work wonders on jaded skin, removing dead cells and revitalising the complexion. Do bear in mind that a scrub doesn’t have to be harsh or very grainy to work. In fact, a product that is too harsh or is used with too much enthusiasm can do more harm than good and granular scrubs can exacerbate problems such as redness and broken veins.

Masks & peels

A regular face mask can keep skin in tip-top condition. Refining masks can the achieve the removal of the older, outermost layer of skin, which stimulates new skin cell growth.

An occasional home or in-salon peel can also be a beneficial strategy to substitute for an exfoliation treatment for some skin types.

Moisturise, strengthen and protect

The winter months usually bring the difficult duo of cold weather and heating, which combine to suck moisture from skin, chapping lips and cheeks. This is not only unsightly but can also be very uncomfortable. A decent moisturiser is essential in winter, and you may find you need to change to a richer one as your skin battles the elements.

Moisturising gives your skin the arsenal it needs to ignite and sustain the rejuvenation process. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a super additive to lock moisture into the skin. Try an HA serum with an SPF moisturiser over the top for a plumping day-time concoction.

Peptides are known for their rejuvenation and repair properties, such as copper or hexapeptides, so they come highly recommended. Be warned that many of the anti-ageing ingredients, such as Vitamin A, AHA or BHA, greatly increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Find a different skin rejuvenating moisturiser for day and for night that work well in synergy. For instance, if you are incorporating anti-ageing duo Vitamin C and copper peptide, use them at different times because they neutralise each other’s effective qualities.

Don’t forget the all-important SPF, though. An incredible 80 to 90 percent of what we perceive to be the signs of ageing (wrinkles, dryness) are actually caused by sun exposure.

Serums are a great option if you feel your skin is drying out over the colder months. There are many to choose from and most contain concentrated levels of beneficial ingredients that are easily absorbed. A little goes a long way too; just apply a drop or two under your moisturiser to give skin a boost or use at night for an intensive treatment.