Winter Chills: Let's Prep!

If you’re anything like me, the winter months can be super harsh on your skin. Strong winds and cold temperatures leave my skin feeling dry and irritated. While we're still a few months out, it's important to think about prepping for your skin during the winter months! Sometimes, even more serious skin problems can occur from having extreme dryness due to harsh weather. These conditions may include cracking, flaking, or even eczema, an inflammation of the skin. Regardless of the severity of any of your ‘winter skin’ issues, paying attention to the effects of the changing seasons is essential to creating a complexion you’ll love into the future! In order to combat the long winter and its harsh effects on exposed skin, cleansing and moisturizing are extremely important! Here are a few tips on how to keep skin moisturized and smooth throughout the winter:

1. Change up your moisturizer. You may love the moisturizer you use during the spring, summer, and fall, but winter brings along with it colder temperatures that could dry out your skin more than usual! Switching to an oil-based moisturizer from one that is water-based will lock in hydration for a significantly longer time period. Oil-based products create a protective layering on your skin that will help provide extra strength against cold temperatures and harsh winds. Though we tend to stay away from these products in order to prevent our skin from looking too greasy, the oil base in the moisturizer will balance out the dryness of your skin during the winter months, leaving your face feeling and looking great! Many products labeled as ‘night creams’ are oil-based, but check the label for details before purchasing!

2. Protect against UV Rays. Even in cold temperatures, the sun can still have damaging effects on your skin! Between sunlight and a glare from any snow on the ground, your exposed skin is very vulnerable to UV rays. Using sunscreen daily, or a moisturizer infused with any sort of broad-spectrum protection, will keep your skin feeling hydrated throughout the winter. It will also help prevent against burning, irritation, or rashes.

3. Steer Clear of Astringents. Though masks and peels work wonders on our skin, it’s important to proceed with caution when using them in the winter. Many of these products sometimes strip away essential oils from our skin, leaving our faces exposed, raw, and dry. Instead of using clay-based masks or peels that tend to extract necessary moisture, switch to one that states its ‘deeply hydrating’ effects on the skin. Additionally, using gentle foaming or milk-based cleansers can counteract the stripping of oils that your skin may experience.

4. Humidify. During the winter, central heating systems in houses and apartments can leave indoor air very dry. To combat the negative effects this dry heat has on your skin, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Increased moisture inside will help keep your skin from drying out. If you have numerous, small humidifiers, place them throughout your living space to help spread the moist air evenly.

5. Be warm instead of hot. Similarly to any lasting exposure to dry heat, hot water temperatures can dry out your skin. Though you might want to jump in a hot shower after a long day in the cold, take warm showers and baths instead of cranking the knobs to the hottest possible limit. Extremely hot water actually breaks down the lipid barriers in your skin, allowing moisture out and dryness in. In addition to using warm water instead of hot, try to take shorter showers or baths. Staying in warmer water for shorter periods of time will help counteract exposure to dry heat and hot temperatures. If you suffer from one of the aforementioned conditions resulting from extremely dry skin, try taking a bath with oatmeal or baking soda added into the tub. These substances relieve itchiness and flakiness through a gentle and natural cleansing process.

6. Hydrate. Even though the colder temperatures may not make you thirsty, it’s important for both your skin and your overall health to drink enough water. Staying properly hydrated ensures the replenishment of moisture in your skin and throughout your entire body. Though it seems to be a common misconception that drinking more water will automatically ensure perfect skin, hydrating frequently will only aid in your attempts to lock in moisture and create a glowing complexion.

I hope these suggestions help you combat the negative effects winter weather may have on your skin! Happy skincaring!