Winter is coming and I know what we’re all thinking: Ugh, who invited you anyways, winter? In the cold and dry weather of winter, our skin takes some serious, unwanted backlash – dry skin, chapped lips, frostbite, you name it! If proper skin care isn’t taken, these conditions only worsen throughout the seemingly endless season. People say to love the skin you’re in and the best way to do so is by taking care of it! Here are some tips to keep your skin glowing and healthy during the long months of winter (even under your bulky parka and cute knit sweater).
Freeze! It’s the Skincare Police!
When thinking of our skin in the winter, “dry” will likely be the word that first comes to mind. Because dry skin is the leading concern that most people have in the winter, there must be a focus on ensuring that our skin stays soft, supple, and hydrated during these months. To tackle dry skin Dr. Prystowsky says, “The three biggest culprits we have to face are dry air, hot showers, and soap.”
Culprit #1: Dry Air
Brr! We get chills just thinking about the biting cold wind of winter. Thinking about its effects on your skin? Double chills, double Brr! In the winter, the air and wind is cold and dry, sucking the moisture right out of your skin so as a counteragent, focus on keeping your skin moisturized.
When it comes to moisturizing and cleansing in the winter, opt for using heavy moisturizers, more oily skin care products, and be sure to use gentle cleansers instead of soap. Cleanse less frequently than you would in the summer. Here are some tips Dr. Prystowsky suggests:
For Normal to dry skin: Use a moisturizer that contains vitamin A. Vitamin A will gently keep the pores open and aid in rejuvenation. Livad Skin Care’s Complexion Cream uses a bioidentical version of vitamin A that’s great for dry skin.
For oily skin or acne prone skin: Use a product that contains retinol because it is stronger than bioidentical vitamin A in opening pores and eliminating oil from skin. For more severe oil clogging, use a cleanser like Neutrogena’s oil-free Acne Wash which contains 2% salicylic acid. Look out for excess irritation as cold weather will dry out your skin when using these products. Use them on alternate days to manage your oily skin without causing irritation.
To take care of your hands and feet, use Vaseline or Aquaphor daily and be sure to wear thick socks and gloves before leaving your home. If those ointments are too thick for you, try out Livad’s Cuticle Cream. To protect against frostbite, use similar tactics: protect face, ears, head, fingers, and toes with warm outer wear and be sure to stay dry! (Not too try, though…)
Don’t forget about your lips, either: avoid licking your lips and opt for Vaseline or Aquaphor instead of chapstick. (But I love chapstick! We know, we know.)
In the cold air of winter, a space heater also starts looking a lot like a best friend. But don’t be fooled! Go get yourself a humidifier instead! Dr. P says, “There’s a reason deserts are dry and hot. Blasting your skin with hot air is the last thing you want to do. Do yourself a favor and buy a humidifier. Not only will it help your skin, but keeping your house and workspace at a comfortable humidity will help with breathing problems, dry eyes, and cracked lips.”
Culprit # 2: Hot Water
“Hot showers and cold weather seem to go together as well as hot chocolate and marshmallows, but you’re going to want to turn the temperature down a few notches,” advises Dr. Prystowsky. Hot showers wipe out your skin’s natural oils, the same natural oils that help your skin hold onto moisture. So hot showers actually dry out out! Thus, it’s important to take warm showers over hot showers in the winter. If your bathroom mirror is steaming up, it’s a sign that you want to turn that temperature down. Keeping showers short (5 minutes or less) will also help. Your main goal is to keep your skin as hydrated as possible, and following these tips will help you do that!
Culprit #3: Soap
Soaps and cleansers strip your body’s natural oils – a major no thanks in winter! We’re not saying don’t use soap, but rather be mindful of what and how much you’re using.
Dr. P says, “more than a tablespoon of a MILD soap/cleanser is going to dry your skin out. For your facial moisturizing/cleansing routine, only use half a teaspoon of a mild cleanser. If that still seems to dry you out, you can make a very dilute lemon water to wash your face with at night. Using too much lemon will also dry your skin out, so it’s a real balancing act.”
When choosing your winter cleanser, choose ones super fatted like Dove, as Dr. Prystowsky recommends. Dove’s beauty bars and body washes have dry oils that help replenish the oils that are washed away from regular cleansing. A body oil used after your gentle cleanser will also help.