For South Africans looking forward to the festive period and enjoying a well-deserved break from the stress of everyday life, this is your annual reminder: taking a holiday from your skincare routine is not an option.

Caring for your skin and maintaining a healthy, hydrated glow is a full-time job, and with December being one of the hottest and (in many parts of the country) driest times of the year, now is the most crucial time to pay closer attention to how you care for your skin.

That being said, with these helpful tips and essential skincare plugs to help maintain and build a great skincare regime this December, you may wind up changing your perspectives, from skincare to ‘self-care’.

1. Curate your collection

It may not be the season, but there’s no better time than the holidays for a spring clean of your skincare drawer.

Have a look through your cleanser, moisturiser, and make-up collections and throw out any expired products – “some ingredients degrade over time and not only become less effective but can actually cause skin irritation,” says Dr. Bradley Wagemaker, Medical Director at Lamelle Pharmaceuticals. “Get rid of any facial products that are fragranced, harsh exfoliants, and any alcohol-based products too. These can do more harm than good.”

2. It’s a day/night game

Setting up a proper day and night skincare regime to follow is incredibly important. Seeing as you’ll likely be lazing poolside or chasing adventure outdoors and exposed to UV rays, your daytime routine needs to include a good UV-resistant sunscreen – bonus points if it also contains hydrating ingredients such as lipids, ceramides, and glycerin. Hyaluronic acid is also incredible for hydration but may lead to irritation during sun exposure, making it a far better addition to your nighttime routine instead.

“Opt for rich, velvety-textured creams like Forteve’s Soothing Cream, an especially miraculous product for dry and sensitive skin to fortify and restore barrier function while soothing irritation,” adds Dr Wagemaker.

3. Pamper yourself with a home facial

Between spending time with loved ones and going out partying with friends, try to make some time for much-needed solo self-care. Take the time to properly cleanse your skin with a rich foaming cleanser containing natural, wholesome ingredients, massaging it into your face and neck for a relaxing experience. Use a gentle exfoliator once a week – chemical exfoliants tend to be the gentlest for more sensitive skin prone to irritation, dryness, and breakouts.

Masks containing clay, sulphur, or mud are great options for lifting dirt and excess buildup in the pores, as well as hydrating masks to improve skin barrier health and lock in more moisture. The good news is that this doesn’t have to break the bank, making pampering facials sustainable enough to do every week.

4. Reduce Risk

Reduce the risk of pre-cancerous skin lesions and Actinic Keratosis by adding a supplement like Nia-Sol to your skincare routine. Nia-Sol helps to protect and improve the internal structure of skin damaged by UV radiation. Nia-Sol lotion is used in conjunction with Nia-Sol capsule supplementation to improve the appearance of red, flaky, rough patches on sun-exposed skin.

5. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Your mum was right – it’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen, regardless of how much exposure to the sun’s rays you expect to have, even indoors! Keep in mind that frequent exposure to harmful UV rays can cause a skin condition called actinic keratoses (also called solar keratoses), resulting in dry, scaly patches or bumps appearing on the skin due to environmental damage. Sunscreen can help prevent, reduce, and even eliminate actinic keratoses in the skin, making this yet another good reason to start and keep wearing sunscreen every single day.

Just as summer bodies are made in winter – glowing, healthy, and hydrated skin is made year-round, especially in hotter months. Don’t take a break from your skincare regime this December but do your best to develop an even healthier approach to caring for and loving the skin you’re in this festive period!

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