Winter is a tricky time for skin. These cold days can bring more than just rosy cheeks for many people. It is common to experience uncomfortable dryness on the skin of the face, hands and feet during the winter season. For some, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling – skin gets so dry it results in cracking, flaking or even eczema (in which the skin becomes rough, inflamed and itchy). Wrinkles can also appear more pronounced as moisture is stripped from the skin, shriveling usually plump skin cells.


Q: My skin has always been normal (not dry nor oil). Over the last few weeks I have noticed the skin on my face feeling tight and even rough in some places. What is going on? Has my skin type changed?

It sounds as though you are suffering from dry skin as a result of the change in season. Don’t worry as this doesn’t necessarily mean that your skin type has been permanently altered. It is common for skin to become dehydrated if you do not adapt your skin care regime with the climate. I would recommend that you switch to products that cater for dry skin in winter – look out for products that contain Hyaluronic Acid for maximum hydration without oiliness. After the winter months you should be fine to switch back to your ongoing routine for normal skin.


Q: Please can you advise me about my hands, Dr Nel. They are so dry that they feel painfully raw.

From what you have described it sounds like you are dealing with severe dryness of the skin on your hands. It is hard to keep the skin on your hands moisturized, especially in cold, dry weather, because the skin here has fewer oil glands than other parts of the body. Protect your hands from products such as soap that may strip away moisture. I would recommend that you buy a good quality hand cream, preferably containing SPF, and apply this frequently throughout the day and especially after washing. It is much easier to stave off dryness than treat it, so ensure you moisturise your hands frequently in the run up to the winter months before they become dry. The same goes for the skin on your feet. Prevention is better than cure.


Q: My wrinkles are definitely more pronounced now that winter is here. How can I treat these immediately and permanently without undergoing a cosmetic procedure?

With the advancement of technology, we have seen the advent of some very exciting topical skin products to treat the appearance of wrinkles in the market. Look for a product that is clinically tested to show improvements to wrinkle depth within a measured amount of time.
A product like this should give you good, enduring results after a few months of continuous use. In terms of immediate wrinkle repair, there are many products available with light-reflective technology to “blur” the appearance of imperfections such as wrinkles or pigmentation. Furthermore, it is possible to find a product that actually combines the above mentioned long term improvements to the skin with a blurring active. This will help to soften the look of your wrinkles instantly while you wait for the other ingredients to take effect over time, so you can look your best from the moment you incorporate a product such as this into your routine!