Why fatty acids should be our winter go-to for skin

If you find making the transition from warmer weather to winter difficult, spare a thought for your skin.

Changes in exposure to light, plunging temperatures, harsh winds and the drying effects of indoor heating can really put our skin through its paces.

Left to its own devices, my skin definitely reacts negatively to the cold and I end up with dryness and irritation.

So usually as we head towards the cooler, darker days I make a few changes in my skincare routine with the goal of adding more moisture and nutrients.

One thing that doesn’t change year-round is my use of sunscreen. It’s always the final step in my morning routine to protect my skin because UV rays don’t take a break in winter and are still the primary cause of damage to your skin cells, known as photoaging.

Reach for the Omega 3s

But whereas over the spring and summer months I’ll just apply a little vitamin C serum first thing for a little added environmental protection, followed by a peptide serum (I use No7 Damage Reversal) before finishing with a sunscreen that doubles up as a moisturiser, in winter I add another step which is to add in an oil.

In previous years I have used Augustinus Bader’s highly expensive but very nourishing Face Oil, opting for the smaller size at £70/$93 for just 10ml.

But I just add one or two drops to my Bluelene sunscreen for an added moisture boost and to make sure a little goes a long way.

This year, I’m trying out True Botanical’s Pure Radiance Oil. It’s priced at a hefty £90/$110 for 30ml but that’s considerably less than the Augustinus Bader oil and a little of this really goes a long way.

The good news is it’s a high performer, non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores, and is rich in everything you want in winter – ceramides, Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

And talking of Omega 3 fatty acids, my optometrist recently advised me to take Omega 3 fish oil to help my dry eye condition, with the theory being that it improves the quality of your tears to help relieve dryness.

Working from the inside out

In the same way, upping your intake of oily fish in winter and/or using a supplement can also be helpful for your skin with a 2018 review from researchers in Taiwan concluding that fatty acids in fish oil can improve skin barrier function, inhibit UV-induced inflammation and hyperpigmentation, improve skin dryness and accelerate wound healing.

Omega-3 fatty acids could also reduce the production of inflammatory compounds that contribute to the ageing process, and taking a supplement is a cost-effective way of harnessing the benefits if you don’t eat a lot of fish.

There are also some good-quality, lower-cost face oils around that will do a similar job to the Augustinus Bader and True Botanical products so protecting your skin this winter needn’t cost the earth.

At half the price of the True Botanicals face oil, this one from Farmacy has an impressive list of nutrient-rich ingredients and plenty of omega-3s to boot. £44/$48 for 30ml