Women2Day - Hair and Beauty: Melt away winter woes

Rescue your skin and hair from the big winter chill hangover.

The headlines claimed it was the worst winter for 30 years. While the disgruntled nation couldn't stop moaning about snowstorms, sleet and ice, your skin and hair were the silent sufferers of the big chill.

Frizzy locks, chapped hands, nippy toes and scaly skin - those extreme weather conditions have spelt disaster for our beauty regime.

Just as your body craves warming soups in the winter and fresh salads in the summer, our skin and hair also require some seasonal upkeep adjustment to correspond with the barometer.

Sally Penford, education manager at the International Dermal Institute, says: "While we don the opaque tights and long sleeves for winter, we somehow find it acceptable to ignore the skin on our bodies under the premise that we can't see it!

"Just a few minutes a day can keep winter skin glowing with the freshness of summer."

See off the effects of Jack Frost and give your body some post-chill soothing.

Body work

Switching from arctic temperatures to stifling central heating is pretty unavoidable in the winter but the extreme contrasts leave your poor skin in a confused state.

"Skin becomes dehydrated during the winter months due to central heating drying the air and moisture being leeched from your body," Sally says.

Don't: Lather up with soap. Your skin has an acidic pH of between 4-6 to provide a barrier of protection against moisture loss.

"Soap completely strips this barrier and leaves your skin vulnerable," Sally warns.

Do: Swap your outdoor gloves for an exfoliating mitt and try a weekly body scrub to bring dull skin back to life. Once skin is smooth, boost your winter dry skin with an intensive moisturiser.

Try: Molton Brown Warming Eucalyptus & Ginger Body Scrub, £28 ( www.moltonbrown.co.uk ); Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Cream, £3.99 (nationwide); Aveeno Moisturising Creamy Oil, £6.99 (Boots).

High fives

Unless you're in possession of some superhero gloves that keep every millimetre of your digits snug, your hands are one of the first areas to suffer in the biting cold.

Dr Susan Mayou, consultant dermatologist and Neutrogena expert says: "Exposed areas like your hands are particularly prone to dryness. Frequent application of an effective moisturiser acts as a barrier against the cold and can prevent dryness."

Don't: Forget your SPF. There may be no sunshine but according to Dr Mayou: "UV rays can still penetrate in the winter months."

Do: Spend a few minutes before bed massaging hand cream into your paws so they can recover overnight.

Try: Dove Intensive Cream for Extra Dry Hands, £2.99 (0800 085 1548); Dr Nick Lowe Double Duty SPF15 Hand Cream, £8.99 (Boots); Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream, £18 ( www.blisslondon.co.uk ).

Feet for a queen

It's easy to forget your feet when they're buried in Ugg boots and swathed in thick socks but your tootsies need special attention too.

Vaseline technical expert Atoshi Ghosal says: "Your feet remain one of the most neglected parts of the body but the truth is they require the same level of care as your face or body."

Don't: Wear irritating materials on your feet even if they do keep them snug.

"Wool keeps you warm in the winter but can feel rough on sensitive, dry skin," Atoshi explains.

Do: Use an effective emollient regularly on your feet to prevent dryness - it will need to be more moisturising than your usual body lotion.

Try: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Nourishing Foot Cream, £5.49 (0845 601 5789); Philosophy Soul Owner Overnight Exfoliating Foot Cream, £12 (0870 990 8452/ www.hqhair.com ); Origins Reinventing The Heel Mega-moisture for Dry, Cracked Feet, £19 ( www.origins.co.uk ).

Tamed tresses

Hat hair is the least of your worries in the winter. Cold and damp weather can leave your hair looking frizzy, flyaway and out of control - and not in an intentional mussed-up way!

Aussie haircare ambassador Liz Taw says: "If your hair is lacking in moisture and there's moisture in the air, the hair cuticle will open up and not reflect light leaving hair looking dull, as well as unmanageable."

Don't: Neglect your weekly intensive treatments.

"Central heating can really dehydrate your hair, as it does with your skin, so I would advise a regular treatment once or twice a week for extra protection," Liz says.

Do: Treat thirsty hair with a good moisture enriching shampoo and conditioner to help prevent breakage, split ends and frizz.

Try: Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo and Conditioner, £3.49 each (nationwide); Ojon Restorative Leave-in Treatment, £29.50 (select John Lewis); PhytoJoba Intense Hydrating Mask £18.50 (John Lewis).

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