As I walked through the fields with my fiancé Brendan to bring in the cows for the evening milking, the sun was setting, the wind was cutting and the beauty of nature was alive and well on the Healy farm in Watergrasshill, Co Cork.
But working outdoors is no joke and can be extremely taxing on our skin. At Emerald Beauty Clinic, I see both female and male clients with skin conditions such as rosacea, as well as dermatitis, eczema and dehydrated skin.
Not only does our skin take a battering when exposed to the elements, but returning to warm stoves and central heating can cause skin to dilate and burst its capillaries.
However, rest assured that I have lots of tips here to help you to improve your skin this winter.
As I always tell my clients, beauty is all about consistency. Small, simple changes practised daily do pay off over time.
None of us have the time to be rubbing creams into our faces all day when calves must be fed, silage put out and dinner made!
So here are my winter beauty tips for all:
1. Mind your skin by applying a protective moisturiser
I recommend Dermalogica Barrier Repair Gel (€49) to farmers, golfers, gardeners, sea swimmers and all those who work and enjoy the great outdoors.
You apply the clear, matt gel all over the face and neck every morning and afternoon and it shields the skin from the elements, like a coat of armour for your face.
It can also go on over makeup, which so many ladies love when having to stand at a sideline at a match, as I myself have done for many years now!
2. Heat is another skin trigger
Sitting too close to the fire or stove, turning the shower up to hot and even the waft of heat that we get when we open the oven door are all triggers that aggravate rosacea and skin sensitivity.
My advice is to opt for lukewarm water for showering, sit back from, instead of next to, the fire and stove and keep your head up and out of the way when opening the oven door. Your skin will thank you for it.
3. Face masks
Since we started wearing masks to protect ourselves from COVID-19, many people have complained about spots and breakouts. I advise all my clients to use two face masks in a working day. Eight hours in the one mask is too long for anyone’s skin.
I use a fresh, clean, cotton face covering every morning and change it at lunch time when working with my clients, washing after every use at 60 degrees.
Many are reusing face coverings for days, stuffing them into their pockets or bags, where dirt and bacteria form on them.
Let's face it, you quite literally need to change your mask daily as you do your underwear!
But when the face covering is off at home, I highly recommend that everyone does more hydrating face mask treatments.
My must-have winter face mask is my Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Mask (€45), a best seller at Emerald Beauty Clinic for all ages and skin types.
I love popping this hydrating mask on while doing my house work as it works away as you do!
4. Everyone’s skin needs boosting these cold winter months
Over the years, many have asked me what is the difference between a serum and a booster.
My answer is nothing, only the packaging and texture. A serum and a booster are basically the same thing, a product designed to work with, not instead of, your day and night cream.
The whole concept is to boost the skin like a multi-vitamin does. No moisturiser of any brand - regardless of how much you pay for it - is enough on its own for anyone’s skin in winter.
Our skin is like a sponge and it absorbs products faster in colder months. This is why applying a serum to boost the skin under your day and night cream will make a huge difference, not just to the look and appearance of your skin, but also the feel of it.
My golden rule of boosting is to always buy the same brand booster from the day and night cream you are using.
Emer O'Callaghan is the award-winning beauty therapist at Emerald Beauty Clinic in Douglas, Co Cork. For further information, call 021-436 5949 or visit www.emeraldbeautyclinic.ie.