They said it was cold in Johannesburg, but isn’t it cold everywhere in winter? What they didn’t prepare me for was a total shock to my system. Capetownians are familiar with a cold, wet winter that is not ideal but at the very basis, bearable. Colder still would be European winters where there is snow involved, but Johannesburg offers a different sort of winter.  It’s dry because Johannesburg is located at high altitude, at some 1,753 meters above sea level. What’s worse is winter already plays havoc on our bodies and in addition to this keeping warm with heaters dry you skin further. Even long, hot showers/ baths break down the lipid barriers in your skin. So how does it affect a man? Well for one he is probably not looking after his skin to begin with.

I experienced some harsh changes within the first week of moving to Johannesburg. Sinuses, cracked lips, a very, very dry face, nosebleeds and of course a month of the man-flu. It was clear that the moisture in the air in Cape Town had not travelled with me and I was now faced with the task of fixing this problem. Let’s explore the options that I utilized.

It goes without saying that skin lacking moisture then requires moisture. So pick up a product to your liking and requirements. Personally I am not a fan of itchy, dry skin so I immediately opted for Nivea’s Intensive Moisturizing body lotion and applied it two to three times a day until my skin felt more or less normal. Even my body-wash was replaced with one with the same intensive qualities. It is important to toss any soap bars because they are particularly good at sucking out moisture in your skin. When taking a (warm not hot) bath add a few drop of almond oil which helps (among many other things) to combat dry and itchy skin. This being my most important discovery that I’ll come back to in a minute.

It is very important that in conjunction with providing moisture on the outside, you also mirror that on the inside. The recommended amount is roughly 8 glasses of water per day so I made sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. An odd but no less successful tip I picked up was to massage my skin with a mixture of butter (organic unsalted butter) and a pinch of turmeric and a little bit of greek yogurt. Once a week will suffice if you leave it on for roughly 30 minutes before washing off.

While we have covered the obvious things your skin requires after adjusting to a harsh change in climate, I wanted to add something that I only recently discovered as a result of my skin drying. I haven’t made the full move towards an all-organic lifestyle but I am trying to slowly incorporate it into my life. My mother has been telling me about the advantages of olive oil as a moisturizer for years. It wasn’t until a friend from New York recommended I try a brand called Yüli that deal with oils and serums as alternative to moisturizing, that I paid attention. I ordered their Liquid Courage and a few other oils and utilized them immediately.

Liquid Courage in particular is a serum powerhouse that uses over 18 essential key actives that work like a nutrient cocktail of potent antioxidants to fight free radicals, environmental stress inducers, and fatigue to restore and improve skin quality. These oils may look like work but I assure you the three step process takes less three minutes to apply. YÜLI have spent a lot of time addressing the needs of male skin because it is so inherently different to women and yet their products are perfect for either of the sexes. The best news is they ship to South Africa and will be stocked here soon enough too. As I am in my late twenties it is vital that I take proper care of my skin, come summer or winter I hope you’re doing the same!