We winterize our homes, cars and our wardrobe to adjust as we go from summer to winter. So let’s winterize our skin. If you are anything like me winter wreaks havoc on your skin, leaving you feeling dry, itchy and irritated. The change in humidity, ruthless winds and frigid temperatures can give skin a bad case of winter woes. Everyday exposure to the elements, combined with hours spent in artificially heated indoor environments, often leaves skin flaky, tight, and rough. So an adjustment in our skincare routine is needed. The drop in atmospheric humidity often depletes skin of its moisture, a shift that requires your internal system to work harder to stay hydrated. Skin needs more TLC during the fall because the transition from humid to cold weather can be extremely drying. But frigid weather is only part of the problem: Long, hot showers, sweltering offices, and harsh soaps are also to blame. Luckily, dry skin can often be alleviated by winter-proofing your skin-care routine. Below are 6 easy ways to start.
1. Upgrade your moisturizer. Many of us need richer face and body creams during the winter. Use cleansers, face creams, and body lotions containing plant-based moisturizers. Natural emollients such as jojoba oil, shea butter, and squalene (from olives) are similar in chemical makeup to the skin’s natural sebum. Plus the oil will create a protective layer on the skin. Oils are greasy and slippery and are great at sealing in moisture. Creams trap in moisture and aren’t as greasy, and they disappear when you rub them into your skin. Lotions may contain alcohol and that is a drying agent but absorbs quickly and tends to add the least amount of moisture. Humectants such as hyaluronic acid and vegetable glycerin also help skin attract and retain moisture. Research suggests that hyaluronic acid also combats skin irritation and inflammation, two of the problems our skin faces during winter months.
2. When shopping around, look for the ingredients like glycerin or sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxyl acids because these ingredients attract moisture to your skin and are humectants that help pull moisture from the air into your skin. Make sure that you use a heavier cream on your face at night. For your day cream, remember that you still need a SPF to protect from UV rays (not only are they cancer-causing, but they can also prevent skin from holding onto moisture). Sunscreen isn’t just for summertime. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin all year long. Sunscreen is a must year round. People don’t think they need sun protection because they aren’t on a beach. Trust me the sun is still out there in the fall and winter. Even on a cloudy day winter sun can reduce ceramide levels, and prevent skin from holding onto moisture.
3. Studies have shown that applying body lotion in the three-minute window right after you shower is best. Otherwise, moisture starts to disappear from your skin before you can lock it in with lotion. This will help trap water in the surface cells of the skin. Moisturize with the bathroom door closed. This maintains the humidity of the room. I prefer a natural oil for my body like coconut, it’s super hydrating. After that I spread lotion on my body after lightly patting down with a towel (that way my skin is damp but not dripping). Let’s not forget your lips. It is best to coat your lips with a deeply nourishing balm so you are not tempted to lick them for moisture.
4. During cold weather you might be tempted to soak in a hot bath. Hot water tends to dry out skin by washing off the skin’s natural oils. Without these oils, our skin loses more moisture than necessary. Not only does it dilate the blood vessels, but it actually depletes the moisture in your skin which is one of the causes of all this dry itchiness. The heat from the water further aggravates an already irritated skin. Keep your showers and baths short and use lukewarm water. No hot showers!!! I cannot stress this enough. I know a few of you are whimpering and the defiant among you will not even heed this advice.
5. Get a humidifier or pull out the one in the back of your closet that been collecting dust that you haven’t used since you had that sinus problem. The heater plus that roaring fire, that is keeping you nice and toasty inside has sucked all the moisture out of your house and your skin. So plug that humidifier in and do your face a favor, just be sure to fill it with cold water to prevent bacteria from growing inside.
6. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. It’s easy to remember the water bottle in the middle of summer when the temperature is reaching triple digits. We forget to stay hydrated in the cooler months when your teeth start to chatter, so drink up!!
With just a few simple changes to your daily routine you can winterize your skin and you will have healthy, hydrated and glowing skin.