Cold temperatures, dry air and indoor heating affects our skin, impairing its barrier function and leaving it vulnerable to dehydration.
The top layer of the skin is a barrier which can be damaged. In this case, the bad things from outside get into your skin while the good things that you want to keep in your skin, like moisture, evaporate out.
When you’re inside at home or at your office, using a humidifier will add moisture and help keep your skin hydrated. So run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in!
Keep in mind to minimize exposure to agents that strip the skin of its natural oils! It may be tempting to take a long, steamy hot shower, but the truth is that these are going to wash away any good oil that your skin generates. As a result, your skin becomes much more vulnerable. So in wintertime, it’s better to take quick showers with water as cool as you can tolerate. You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands! Yep, winter skincare routine is challenging.
Going to your local drugstore to find a local salesperson to give you correct advice on what products you should use during wintertime, might not be a very easy task. That’s why going to an esthetician or dermatologist even once is a good investment since they can analyze your skin type and give you advice on the skin care products you should use.
For now, we can give you some generalized advice. The good news is that a little bit of prep goes a long way in keeping your skin healthy through cold weather. There are many simple ways to combat the causes of dry winter skin and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all season long.
What to minimize or avoid
Be careful in your choice of soaps since the wrong ones can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, regular bar soaps may contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Products with alcohol are also concerning, because alcohol can strip your skin of natural oils. Look for products specifically labeled “fragrance-free,” referring to artificial fragrances and perfumes, because “unscented” products may contain fragrances. Products containing natural fragrances from essential oils are not problematic and may also be soothing based on their herbal healing properties.
Dry skin isn’t as efficient at shedding its dead cells, so it’s worth investing in an exfoliator to keep dullness at bay. Lightweight foaming cleansers feel great in summer, but in winter when things are altogether drier, it’s worth switching to a hydrating cleanser. Go gently with it as over-zealous peeling can overstimulate oily skin and leave dry skin feeling even drier. The best time to exfoliate is during night time regime since the skin doesn’t have to contend with UV rays afterwards. Truth be told, right now is the best time of year for brightening and exfoliating treatments, as lower UV levels mean skin is less vulnerable to damage. At the end of the process, you should apply a moisturizer to seal in the moisture.
Before getting into more details about creams, let’s talk about SPF for a minute. If you don’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean it’s not there! So don’t be fooled by darker, dreary days in winter! The sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that on bright days, snow reflects the sun’s rays up to 80% according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Having said that, it’s still worth wearing daily SPF protection. So before you go outside, apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher!
Which moisturizer should I use in the wintertime?
Now, moisturizing is one of the most important steps that one must do in wintertime! Hydration is the key for optimizing skin plumpness and making sure that the skin does not lose its natural oils. You may have a great moisturizer that works just fine in warmer months, but as weather conditions change so should your skin care routine.
During the winter months, go for a moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based. The oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. Did you know that night lotions labeled as “night creams” are oil-based? You can focus your search on creams based on oils like coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, buttermilk, cucumbers.
If your skin is on the dry side, look for creams with barrier-repairing ceramides and fatty acids since these prevents water loss. AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends you stop using products that contain alcohol and fragrances. Furthermore, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can dry your skin even more. Find a an oil cleanser, cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are hydrating, rather than clay-based.
Do you use facial oils or a face serum? You should! A couple of drops mixed in to your day or night cream helps to lock in moisture and keep skin petal-soft.
Now don’t forget your lips! Our lips have no oil glands of their own, which is why they chap and crack so badly in cold weather. Applying a moisturizing balm such as petroleum jelly can help.
Having all that covered up, it’s not just your face that might need a little extra help in winter. Just because our bodies are swathed in layers of wool and you wear gloves when you go outside, it doesn’t mean they should miss out on a nourishing boost.
Cover your whole body in oil-based body creams after every shower. Try finding lotions that contain rich plant-based butters like shea, cocoa or mango butter.
Keep in mind that winter isn’t only about chic dresses and boot combos, but also about switching up your usual skincare routine to keep your skin healthy and radiant year long.
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