Although winter in Durban is by far the lesser harsher climate in South Africa, you can still expect to notice that your skins needs are somewhat more demanding!
I for one noticed that my summer time face moisturizer is just not enough and it doesn’t matter how much I mask my skin, it still feels quite parched.
In the skin center we are seeing more sensitivity and allergic type skins too. Why you ask?

Well it’s quite simple: when your skin is exposed to environmental changes like heaters and then cold winter morning air, or hot showers to cold bedroom temperatures, the skin’s capillaries dilate due to the raise in temperature and simultaneously when you expose them quickly to cold temperatures, they constrict. (The same is for spicy foods and exertion in sport). Once or twice over shouldn’t present a problem but over a prolonger period you’re going to create permanently dilated capillaries or spider veins.

One of the main histological changes that occur is that the skin’s barrier function, natural protective mechanism, becomes compromised due to lack of moisture in your skin care routine. This means that the skin’s ability to retain moisture is impaired and you’ll experience increased sensitivity and dryness as all the good stuff escapes the skin and the bad stuff penetrates it, thus throwing the whole skin balance out of kilter.

The typical reaction is to layer on more moisturizer but what studies have shown us is that this is not necessarily the answer.

Skin Technology has advanced to such a stage that thicker or more does not mean better when it comes to moisturizers. Rather opt for concentrates or serums that can add moisture to your moisturizing routine. Serums work deep into the skin and change it inwardly rather than superficially.

Your skin expert should be re-evaluating your whole routine to ensure it meets your needs over winter. Although it is winter time please don’t think that you no longer need sun screen. The rule of thumb is that temperature does not dictate sun protection. As long as there is sun shine you need to protect your skin from UV rays.

What I highly recommend is that if you have a particular skin concern like pigmentation or aging sin, now is the time to consider treatment courses as you are less likely to spend time baking in the sun.

Let’s look at a skin routine and how I would consider changing it over the colder season.

Cleansers and eye make-up removers:

If you’re getting away with using a cleanser, that isn’t designed to remover make-up, over your eyes , you may find your eyes less tolerant to this over winter. Opt for a gentle eye make –up remover with no alcohol or fragrance in it please!

Cleansers remain on the skin for a very short period of time so they will not be the be-all an end-all when it comes to changing your skin. Simply ensure your cleanser is alcohol , fragrance and soap free. If your skin feels tight post cleansing, you’ll probably find that it either has alcohol, fragrance or the incorrect pH.


If you’re still using a fragranced, alcoholic toner, this will be the death of our skin this winter. Time to move onto a toner that is designed to hydrate and soothe your skin.


Often the dryness you experience could be an accumulation of dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin. Think of it as a piece of plastic suffocating your skin, nothing will penetrate it and nothing will nourish the dry feeling it leaves . So rid yourself of the dead skin and feel your skin breathe and look a whole bunch better.

Start by choosing the correct exfoliant to suit your skin:

  • Scrubs (Mechanical exfoliation) for oily, congested skins, with no inflammation or sensitivity.
  • Peels( Chemical Exfoliants) which contain hydroxy acids for more aged skins or skins that stimulate easily or even acne skins that cannot tolerate friction(as it worsens/aggravates the problem lesions).

Always remember that more is also not always better. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.


Masques topically change the way that your skin looks and feels quickly. They are quick “response type treatments” that need to be done at least 2-3 times per week.

In winter time it’s ideal to include a masque that looks at both hydration and a small percentage of oil nourishment. It’s recommended that you masque after exfoliation for optimum results.

Serums or concentrated boosters or treatments products :

It’s the perfect time of the year to be doing more active treatments upon your skin. I love putting my clients onto courses of booster skin treatments or treating pigmentation or ageing skin concerns over winter, as you’re probably going to spend less time outdoors and are less likely to have added sun exposure which would contradict what we’re trying to achieve. With most of these treatments there is an increase in exfoliation that will make your skin slightly less tolerable to UV light and what’s more work against what we’re trying to achieve.

Using a concentrated serum to treat your skin concern would be vitally important. I also like layering different treatment concentrates like one for hydration and another for anti-ageing etc… Of course this would be dependant upon the concept of the system that you’re using. Ask your skin expert how she feels about it. If you’re on Dermalogica, your skin will love it!
Serums/concentrates bring about radical change in your skin as they have up to 80% concentrated ingredients, unlike a moisturizer that is designed to simply maintain your skin’s moisture levels.

Eye Care:

Oriental diagnosis reflects the eyelid area as your allergy zone and below the eyes your kidney zone. So often over the winter months we see many irritated eyelids. They become intolerant to product and make-up. This is your body’s way of showing you that you’ve got far too many histamines in circulation and you probably need an anti-histamine to sort it out. It’s probably not your eye cream or skin product that has caused the problem, so don’t be too quick to throw it out! Simply put it aside for a few days, once the sensitivity has subsided, you may resume its use.

If you have noticed that the lower eye is looking dark or bluish in color, note how much water you have been drinking. In winter we often drink less water as it’s cold and we would rather indulge in coffee and tea’s etc… we also tend toward warm foods that have far more salt within them. Salt dehydrates the system even further and may exacerbate this area.

It’s never too late to treat this area of the face as it’s the most vulnerable skin. It’s delicate and not as resistant to abuse; thus will age faster than the rest of your skin. So be gentle and don’t use anything harsh or aggressive over here. Eye creams are a must in my books!


As we established earlier on, a moisturizer’s function is to maintain the water balance /moisture within your skin. Think of it as a “lid on a pot”, without it everything good will escape the skin and everything bad will penetrate your skin! So never negotiate wearing a moisturizer. It’s a bare essential to skin maintenance.

Q:Will it radically change your skin?
A:Yes and no: If you’re not using any moisturizer, it will be the difference between a dull, sallow skin that stimulates more easily and is sensitive to any new climatic factor vs. a skin that behaves in the colder winter months.

Q:Will it target more specific concerns in your skin like aging or acne or sensitivity etc?
A:No , rather opt for a concentrate for specific results.

Categories: ArticlesSkin