No matter what climate you live in, weather takes its toll on your skin. When temperatures drop and the wind blows in the wintertime, dryness becomes a serious issue for your skin. Your complexion gets no break indoors either, where heating systems sap more precious moisture from skin cells. If you already have naturally dry skin, you may see cracks and flaking. Even oily skin is not immune from the effects of cold weather.
Here are some recommendations for creating a winter skin care routine that protects your skin from those harsh, drying winter conditions.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Moisturizer should already be a regular part of your daily skin care, regardless of your skin type. If you have dry skin, you might want to switch to a thicker lotion or cream with an oil base that forms a barrier to hold moisture in.
Check the label for ingredients like glycerin and alpha-hydroxy acid, which are humectants that actually attract and retain moisture.
If you have oily skin, you do need to watch out for oil-based products that have a tendency to clog pores more than water-based products.
Look for moisturizers with natural oils like avocado, primrose or almond. These substances are also anti-inflammatories, so they help fight breakouts as well.
Don't Forget Sunscreen
Cold temperatures don't prevent damage from the sun’s UV rays. The effects of UV rays can actually be intensified by the glare reflecting off of snow. Include a daily application of moisturizer with sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.
Use a Gentle Touch
During the winter months, cut back or eliminate intense masks, peels and other treatments that can be harsh on your skin. Treat yourself to a moisturizing facial that soothes and hydrates your skin. If you don't want to visit a spa, there are a number of recipes for DIY facials using naturally moisturizing items such as eggs, milk, avocado and yogurt.
Make sure your everyday skin care products are also gentle. Avoid bar soaps along with alcohol-based toners and astringents, which all strip moisture from your face. Exfoliation is still important to remove dead skin cells that turn into flakes. Products with glycolic or lactic acids provide moisturizing properties to balance the exfoliating effects.
Tone Down the Hot Water
Coming home to a leisurely hot shower is absolute heaven, but the heat and steam from frequent hot showers and baths can lead to dry, itchy skin. Keep the water lukewarm and stick to a 10-minute limit. Be sure to use lukewarm instead of hot water any time you are cleansing and rinsing your face.
Moisturize Your Home
The trade-off of a toasty-warm home is an arid atmosphere. Humidifiers replace moisture in the air to fight dryness. If you would prefer a greener more organic method, houseplants are a more natural way to add moisture. Plants release moisture through a natural process called transpiration in which the pores on the underside of leaves essentially sweat. Adding a few houseplants will provide top notch air purifying and humidifying capabilities to your home or apartment.
Cover Up At Winter Time
Spending time in brisk, dry winter winds is probably the quickest way to end up with dry, chapped skin. Always wear a scarf that you can pull up over the lower half of your face when the wind blows.
Pamper Yourself At Night
Use sheets and pillowcases in flannel and other natural fibers. Not only are they softer and easier on your skin at night, they boost the overall coziness factor on cold winter nights as well!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dietary fat has long had a bad reputation, but omega-3 fatty acids have come to be known as the "good" fat. Your body needs this fat to keep skin soft and hair shiny. As a bonus, omega-3s offer a host of vital health benefits for your heart, joints and mental well being. Aim for two to three servings per week of omega-3 enriched foods such as salmon, tuna, or trout. Nuts and seeds are also rich sources of omega-3s.
Use these tips to get the upper hand on harsh winter conditions to maintain a healthy, glowing complexion. If you suffer from excessive dryness with painful cracking and flaking or acne breakouts during the winter, be sure to check with your dermatologist for more winter tip skincare tips and advice.