7 Beauty Tips to Help Skin Face Winter
Cold, dry air steals moisture away from skin every second of every winter day. Not pampering vulnerable facial skin – exposed to the elements more than any other area – can lead to chapping, redness, itching, flaking, cracking, and premature wrinkling due to dehydration. Moisture robbers don’t just lurk outside your door. Indoor heating, fireplaces, and hot showers and baths take a further toll.
Here are 7 tips to keep skin looking youthful, smooth and healthy all season long.
1. MAKE IT LUKEWARM
When you’re feeling chilled, avoiding the temptation to take a long hot shower is difficult. But the intense heat of steaming baths actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which leads to moisture loss in all areas exposed to it. Keep water warm only, and limit the time you’re in it. And if you need to indulge, try a hot foot bath (in water high enough to cover ankles), which increases whole body warmth. Particularly when only washing your face or hands, choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping oils away from skin.
Bolster your winter skincare regimen by liberally applying moisturizer to your face immediately after splashing water on it when you rise, and also periodically during the day, not just after cleansing it at night. Avoid products with petroleum/petrolatum, chemical fragrances, propylene/polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate/sodium lauryl sulfate, BHA or BHT, and ingredients ending in siloxane or methicone, which can not only dry skin further but are known toxins. Choose natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, lavender, calendula, chamomile, jojoba and essential oils to help soothe dry, itchy skin. And if it persists, don’t rule out the fact that you may have a condition that isn't simply dry skin, but a dermatitis reaction from something in a moisturizer or food.
A rosy glow to the cheeks might look fresh and healthful, but it also shows that skin may be slightly inflamed and have broken capillaries if it persists after you’ve come indoors. Always wear a scarf to protect face from wind, snow, and even rain. And don’t forget sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun, especially if you’re snowshoeing or skiing where snow’s reflection intensifies the light. Consider a safer option like zinc oxide.
All types of heating systems dry out the air, so installing a humidifier in your home, particularly in your bedroom and home office where you spend lots of time, puts moisture back into the air to reduce skin dehydration. There are several reasonably priced models available that offer both warm and cool air options (so you can use it in dry summer months, too), and even show temperature and humidity of the immediate surrounding area. The relative humidity level for health and comfort is 40-50%.
5. HYDRATE FROM THE INSIDE
Drinking water and other fluids and eating foods high in water content (most fruits, and veggies like cucumbers, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, leafy greens) is good for overall skin health. Although dermatologists don’t all agree that drinking water directly helps skin stay supple unless you are severely dehydrated, its benefits definitely indirectly help. Water encourages collagen production which retains elasticity and regeneration of skin. And it helps to flush toxins that can lead to dermatitis or acne. Drink two litres of water a day during winter in hot or cold beverages. Also, take an omega-3 supplement and eat more fatty fish, avocados, nuts and seeds to give your skin the essential fats it needs.
6. BE GENTLE
When taking off makeup and cleansing your face, avoid soaps, body cleansers and skin wipes that all have incredibly drying ingredients. Pick a facial wash that will calm skin and gently remove dirt, but won't leave skin with a "stripped" feeling. Even oils like coconut and olive that you grab from the kitchen can remove makeup. Whether or not to exfoliate facial skin of dead cells in winter is questionable. Some dermatologists say yes, to help products penetrate skin, but others say the skin is not meant to be forced to shed. Skin on the face is some of the thinnest on the body so exfoliating too aggressively can leave it raw and inflamed. Don’t use exfoliators with beads or irritating nut shells.
7. USE DIY MASKS
Inexpensive homemade facial masks provide needed moisture just like store-bought ones; the best part — you know exactly what’s in them. Use hydrating ingredients like honey, avocado, yogurt, olive, almond and jojoba oils, bananas and aloe. Mix them together to create a cream or paste, and leave on skin for 10-30 minutes for lasting hydration. (See Super Hydrating Black Seed Facial Mask.) They should last a week in the fridge.
Article by Carol Crenna, Certified Holistic Nutritionist