Many of us enjoy the winter-- but let's admit--most of us don't want The Dreaded Winter Dry Skin! Whether we're on the ski slopes, walking the dog after a freshly fallen snow, or curled up with friends by the fireplace enjoying good wine, our skin is crying for attention!
Stepping up our skincare is essential during the winter months as central heating and cold, dry air-- literally-- suck the water out of our skin! Your Summer Skincare Rituals most likely are not enough to combat winter's dry, cracked skin. Your arsenal needs to lean towards richer creams--applied more often. More attention is called for the skin exposed to central heating systems and cold, dry air outdoors. An ounce of protection is easier than treating and repairing the damage!
Whether you're a winter sports enthusiast or more the cozy, indoor type, you'll benefit from taking a few extra measures to protect your skin from dry, flaky, dehydrated, itchy (can we add more adjectives?) winter skin. With extra care, you may help prevent more severe conditions such as eczema from ever developing. Even our southerners can benefit from some of these easy pointers!
Stay Hydrated- Drinking a little more water would benefit most of us (coffee, soda, and wine don't count--sorry). That was easy! And we should do this all year long anyway.
Avoid hot, long showers- We often hear this, but it's not an old wives' tale. I must admit, this is the most challenging recommendation (for me) to follow. I love hot showers and baths in the winter! I try to make the water more "luke-hot," forcing me to add more cool water. Prolonged exposure to very hot water strips the skin of its healthy oils.
You don't need to lather all of your skin with soap every single day! Of course, washing our private bits, feet, armpits, and upper back every day is essential for good hygiene. Unless you exercise every day, the rest is occasionally ok with a good rinse with water.
And speaking of soap--stop using it! By its very composition, soap is alkaline--having high pH levels sometimes as high as 11. Our skin has lower pH levels of around 4.7 to 5.5. High pH products are simply not beneficial for your skin as this strips skin of its "acid mantle" and healthy oils. I preach this often. So what the heck do we use to cleanse in the shower or our faces? Choosing a cleansing bar (formulated differently than soap) or a shower gel with a healthy skin pH of around 5.5 to 6 is far preferable (we happen to make one!). Also, check out our new, unique Shower Cleansing Balm!
Pat your skin dry; avoid wiping dry after your shower. Your skin is craving water (hydration)! Then proceed to the next tip as quickly as possible.
And immediately after patting skin dry after showering--apply a great emollient cream to your skin. Arms, legs, torso, feet, everywhere! The sooner it's applied while your skin is still warm and slightly damp, the better. (You may wish to try our Natural Dry Skin Cream for Serious Relief).
Central heating without a humidifier? This is an invisible guilty culprit that dehydrates the skin. A good quality room humidifier is a small investment to improve your skin's health dramatically, and you'll breathe better too!
Sunscreen! Yes, summer's over--but UVA and UVB rays don't stop their damage because it's winter. Please apply sunscreen to areas exposed to the air and cold winds if you're enjoying outdoor winter activities.
Find some fabulous scarves you love! Great gloves and hats too. Not only will you be styling, but you'll be protecting your face, neck, and hands from winter's cold, dry air. If you're a skier, the ski shops have the best neck, head, and hand gear (and they're more appealing to women than they used to be. Sorry guys-- you don't have a corner on this anymore!).
Consider switching your summer facial skincare to richer, denser creams for your face, neck, and décolletage. Winter skin simply needs more emollience. Apply your water-based hyaluronic serums and follow up with your more emollient creams as quickly as possible after cleansing. Even oily facial skin requires some extra moisturizing. If oily skin becomes dehydrated (yes, oily skin can become dehydrated) and forms dry patches--you're smothering your pores and making breakouts worse. There are plenty of non-comedogenic creams available which don't cause breakouts (look for Squalane in particular in the ingredient list). We have a wide array of facial Serums, Creams, and Lotions to please any of your specific skin needs!
Your lips need extra attention in the winter to help against chapping. If you don't have anything but Petrolatum Jelly --use that! It's unfairly maligned, having an undeserved bad rap. It's one of the most occlusive ingredients available to prevent water loss. We are developing a nourishing balm for the areas of our skin needing the most attention--lips, hands, elbows, and feet. Our goal is to make it extra Effective and better than the usual run-of-the-mill balm. Stay tuned- we're almost there!
Wearing a wool sweater is so wonderfully warm. However, it can aggravate or further irritate dry skin. I have a favorite cashmere sweater that would drive me to distraction, and I found myself scratching my skin every time I wore it. So, even the softest cashmere can be guilty of aggravating skin! Simple solution: Avoid wool's direct contact with your skin by adding a fitted T-shirt under the sweater to provide a one-layer separation. Now, you can enjoy your beautiful and warm wool sweater!
It's easier to Protect skin from winter's challenges than to Correct already damaged skin! It's also much less costly than a trip to the dermatologist. Of course, many skin conditions may need a dermatologist's attention, no matter how attentive you are. If you are doing everything possible and your skin is still itchy, dry, cracked, or appears to have rashes, a trip to the dermatologist will help reverse and prevent more damage.
You may already know many of these tips and tricks to keep skin hydrated and healthy during the winter. That's wonderful! Then we're just reminding you of how important these are. And maybe there's a tip or two that might be new to you too, and it was worth the read!