Winter is officially back and although we do love how beautifully and peacefully the snow falls, winter would be much better without our skin drying out. However, here are 10 winter skin care tips that will leave you saying “Cold weather? Definitely snow problem”.
1. Moisturize Frequently
With winter season comes germ season. To save yourself from being the victim of a cold or fever, it’s best practice to constantly be washing your hands. However, constant washing will dry out your skin and leave your hands feeling scaly. To keep your hands from feeling like a reptile, simply moisturize your hands after every wash.
If you happen to be looking for a new moisturizer this season, we recommend getting one that is oil based. An oil based moisturizer will create a protective layer over your skin. This protective layer created by the oil will retain moisture for you skin better than any cream or lotion that may be water based. If oil based products aren't your thing, opt in for a cream over a lotion as lotions have a higher concentration of water.
2. Wear Sunscreen!
Even though the sun is no longer directly tickling your skin with its sunrays, it's always lurking. There is a common misconception that once winter comes sunscreen is no longer necessary, a statement which really is fake news. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, during the winter sun rays are able to pierce through those dark cloudy days and reach your skin without you even knowing it.
The Canadian Cancer Society also explains that for those of you that are active in the winter, you’re actually facing more risk of sun exposure as the sun rays reflect off of the snow. Wearing sunscreen is beneficial to your face for numerous reasons. For one, it protects you from the rays which helps prevent skin cancer. From a beauty perspective, it also helps you avoid premature aging of the skin from the effects of the harmful sun.
3. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is always a pretty good idea and unfortunately we naturally tend to reduce the amount of water we drink as we switch over to fall and winter hot drink specialties. Hot chocolates, pumpkin lattés, peppermint drinks, and all the other comforting drinks are delicious and great at keeping us warm but they are not as hydrating as water.
In fact, during the winter, you may want to increase your daily doses of water as the temperature drop tends to dry us out and leaves us with a lack of moisture in our bodies and skin. If your someone that forgets to drink water...good news! There are apps that will remind you to drink water throughout the day.
4. Balance your Diet
As important as water is, a balanced diet is also key to keeping your skin looking and feeling great during the winter. If you’re not eating the right foods, you won’t be getting the right nutrients to hydrate you from the inside out. For the most part moisturizing your skin is the most effective remedy for dry skin, but for super dry skin make sure you are eating omega 3 or omega 6 fatty acid foods to help balance your levels. So make sure to stock up on things like salmon, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, and avocados. In other words, keep eating all that avocado toast!
If you aren’t really into these foods and prefer a traditional vitamin intake, invest in fish oil capsules. These magical capsules will not only help you skin stay young and hydrated but according to the Harvard Medical School, they also help reduce your chances of cardiovascular diseases.
5. Buy a Humidifier
Being outside in the cold dry air to then go into an overheated room is one of the best feelings in the winter. There’s just something about feeling your body tingle while it melts to adjust to the temperature. Unfortunately, cranking up the heat on your thermostat during the winter is not good for you skin.
In fact, heating systems suck up the moisture in the air leaving your skin exposed to dry air. A quick an easy solution to stay in your oasis of warmth - without sacrificing your skin - is to buy a humidifier. A humidifier will replenish the moisture in the air and as a result keep the air moist and your skin happy while you’re indoors.
6. Choose lukewarm water
Another fan favorite during the winter is to relax in a piping hot bath or shower to warm up. Once again, big mistake. During the winter one should limit hot showers to 5 minutes or less, or switch to luke warm water for 10 minutes or less. If you are planning on taking these 5 minute hot showers, you should limit yourself to having maximum one hot shower a day. Short showers are not ideal for relaxation - I know, but long exposure to hot water can strip moisture away from your hair and skin. Once you’re done taking your shower make sure you apply cream within the next 3 minutes to make sure you are locking in moisture to your skin before it gets too exposed to dry air.
These washing tips are not just something to consider for your showers, but also for when you are washing dishes or washing your hands. When washing your dishes you are exposing your hands to hot water for long periods of time, during this period it is best practice to use rubber gloves in order to protect your hands from drying out. When it comes to washing your hands, if the water is causing your skin to turn red that’s a sure sign that the water is too hot. Once again, switch to lukewarm water or even cold water which can do the trick just as well. Just make sure you don’t forget to moisturize your hands promptly after!
7. Book Facials
Facials are a great way of getting someone else to take care of your skin while you sit back and relax. Not only do you not have to do anything except showup to your appointment, but your esthetician is also a skin expert that will treat you skin with care. Going to see an esthetician means that you will have a professional exfoliate your skin and work on restoring its moisture.
A peel, mask, or facial will also help improve facial circulation, which may help regulate your skin tone and reduce winter redness. How often should you get a facial? Every three to four weeks! This is how long it takes for skin to move through the full life cycle of skin cell growth. So if you’ve never gotten a facial, winter is a great time to give it a try.
An actual perk that comes along with winter is the accessories that we use to stay warm. I’m talking about hats, ear-muffs, scarves, gloves, mittens, leg warmers and more. These lovely accessories that help keep us warm are also protecting our skin. Wearing heavy scarves that protect your neck and cover part of your face are a sure way to avoid winburn and exposure to cold air. When it comes to choosing gloves or mittens make sure you choose a pair that do not irritate your skin. The skin on your hands is thinner than the skin on the rest of your body so try to avoid rough or scratchy textures.
9. Start a night time routine
Night time is prime time for your skin as the skin does its best restorative work at night. I understand not wanting to add extra steps after a long day, but introducing a night time routine will leave your skin feeling and looking better. To keep it simple, start with these 5 steps:
1. Wash your face.
2. Moisturize your face and body.
3. Apply Petroleum jelly to your lips and dry spots.
4. Wear socks to lock in the moisturizer on your feet.
5. Crank up your humidifier.
These steps will have you well on your way to better skin for these dry couple of months, AND are simple to do.
10. Swap your face moisturizers and cleansers
Last but not least, look into swapping some of your face moisturizers and cleansers. During the winter it’s best to avoid products that contain alcohol as the alcohol tends to dry up your skin. In addition to products with alcohol, keep an eye out for retinol and surfactants. These are both chemicals that also have drying components and mess with the skin’s barrier. If the products seem to do the trick for you and you don't think you can live without them, simply try using them less often.
Now that you know what not to use, here are a couple ingredients you should be looking for; ceramides and shea butter. Any cleansers or face washes that contain ceramides will help create a strong shield on your face, and will help you retain the necessary moisture in your skin. Ceramides also help balance your skin’s PH levels which will reduce acne and discoloration. In relation to creams, use products that have natural ingredients like shea butter in order to lock in hydration.
And there you have it! Invest time into taking care of your skin this winter and you’ll be glowing as if you were on vacation in no time.