Winter skin survival guide by Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist

10th November 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

There is no way back, winter is here, and as much as we love cosy jumpers and Christmas markets, it’s actually the most challenging season for our skin. Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist and founder of D.Thomas clinic explains, “it doesn’t like the contrasting temperatures of centrally heated buildings and the cold outdoors – both of these environments are drying and the chopping and changing of temperatures affect the barrier function of the skin”.

Unfortunately, once the barrier stops working properly, no matter how much moisturiser you whack on, it simply evaporates without nourishing the skin cells properly.  Damn.

“This is usually the point when most people would reach for an oil or a thick greasy cream, don’t! These actually further compromise your barrier function and confuse your skin. It does not use oils to nourish itself – it needs water instead, and the only way to really get water into the skin is from the inside out”, says Debbie.


Image credit: Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist 

When you slather greasy or oily products on the surface of your skin, you trick it into thinking that it doesn’t need moisture, so it stops absorbing water from the body.

Debbie states, “face oils and heavy creams basically plump the soft, dead layers on the surface of the skin, as well as the starved, dehydrated, living layers that are deeper in the skin”.

Think about how after a while, your skin stops responding to your cream and you either feel that you need to apply it more regularly or get a thicker cream to get rid of the tight, uncomfortable feeling. “This is because the skin is becoming more dehydrated with each application. I often find that oils also agitate conditions like Rosacea, perhaps because of the deeper dehydration that can also weaken the skin”, Debbie explains.

So what’s a girl gotta do to keep the summer glow all year round? Simply follow Debbie’s five golden rules:

Think: antioxidants

Start using daily a serum packed with antioxidants. These neutralise free radical damage to the skin, strengthening and protecting it at the same time, Medik8’s Thione is great for younger skins. If you are intolerant to Vitamin C then I highly recommend NeoStrata Skin Active Antioxidant Defense Serum.

Shed those dead skin cells

Include an exfoliation using chemicals, not physical exfoliation, in your daily skincare routine. Sound harsh? It doesn’t need to be! A chemical exfoliant covers everything, from mild fruit enzymes, like papaya, to stronger natural acids like glycolic, as well as retinol-based products. These can all help with the shedding of excessive dead skin, allowing your topical products to penetrate deeper and promoting healthy skin function. Don’t overdo it though, the last thing you want is a red irritated face.

Invest in a serum

I really promote active serum based skincare. I don’t use any creams myself, instead, I just layer 2-3 serums daily. You need to find the serum that has the right ingredients for you; whether it’s hydrating hyaluronic acid, growth factors, resurfacing acids or peptides – serums are packed with more concentrated active ingredients which treat and correct the skin. I recommend Bioeffect serums to everyone – it’s both, nourishing and anti-ageing.

Repair with building blocks

If your skin is flaking, irritated and dry then you need to repair the barrier function, and products containing ceramide are perfect for this. I recommend SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Repair. It’s the perfect balance of lipids that will help repair the barrier function and retain essential moisture. If your skin is oily or acne prone, try Medik8’s Beta Moisturise, the probiotics in it also show skin health-boosting properties.

It might be cold, but…

Sun protection is needed all year-round – UVA sun rays are not filtered out by clouds. Good quality products can also protect you from infrared damage caused by computer screens as well as protecting you from the ageing. I highly rate PCA’s sun creams – they have many skin boosting formulations, including very light, oil-free ones which are endorsed by the skin cancer foundation.