‘Tis the season for cracked skin and chapped lips…but it doesn’t have to be! Cold temperatures and blowing winds can wreak havoc on skin in the winter, but a few common sense adjustments to your daily routine can make a world of difference. Here are our favorite winter skin care tips to keep skin soft, smooth, and glowing during the harsh months ahead.
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Winter Skin Care Tips
1. Continue using sunscreen! No matter the season, the sun is always out. Always protect yourself from skin cancer by using a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Here are a few great options with an SPF of 30 or more (which we always recommend):
2. Hydrate: We repeat this mantra constantly because it’s so vital to good health, but you need to stay hydrated. It’s easy to remember to drink the water your body craves during summer months when you’re hot and perspiring, but you still need 8 – 10 glasses per day when it’s cold. Water helps flush the toxins from your body that cause many skin issues.
3. Switch to a heavy-duty moisturizer: The lightweight moisturizer you use during summer months won’t cut it when it's cold out. Switch to a thicker moisturizer or cream to protect skin from winter weather and to prevent makeup from looking caked on and unnatural.
Moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid are your best bet for holding on to water and plumping skin. The acid acts as a natural sponge and absorbs water into dry skin. A single gram of hyaluronic acid can hold as much as six liters of water*. It's about as close to a miracle skin product as you can get!
Hyaluronic Acid Serum by Skin Deva is an inexpensive option (less than $15) that's vegetarian, cruelty-free, and made in the U.S. If you order through Amazon Prime you'll receive it in less than 2 days! Another fantastic (albeit more expensive) option is Paula's Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster.
4. Use appropriate makeup products: Moisturizers aren't the only products that need to be switched out during the winter months! You also need to make sure you're using the right makeup. If you like using mineral foundation you may want to rethink that choice in January when the air is dry. Powder will cause dry skin to appear duller, so switching to a liquid foundation can make a world of difference.
Liquid blush and highlighters are great for adding a luminous glow. Daisy and I both have one secret product that we absolutely love to use during the winter months to add a healthy glow to our skin. It's by Benefit and it's their Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain. Because we're both pretty pale, Lollitint is the shade that works best on our skin tones.
I cannot begin to describe the healthy glow we get from using this stuff! It's incredible! To apply, use the applicator wand to add a small amount to the apples of your cheeks. It's a sheer product so it won't look very powerful when you first apply it, but once you rub it into your skin the magic happens. It makes skin appear pink and dewy like you just returned from a run. We need to make a YouTube video about it so you can see the magic!
5. Use a humidifier: Do you find yourself constantly pushing that up arrow on your thermostat so you’ll feel cozier during the cold winter months? Guilty! The downside to a cozy house is the lack of moisture in the air. You can easily combat that problem by adding a humidifier in a couple rooms.
I like the Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier because it lasts all night and is whisper quiet. It also has a nightlight option that can be set to your choice of 7 soothing colors. If you're the type who likes adding essential oils, it includes a built-in aroma diffuser.
6. Turn the heat down: Speaking of heat, constantly running your furnace will dry out the air and suck much-needed moisture from skin. Set the thermostat a few degrees lower than you’d like, then wear warmer clothes and cuddle under blankets instead. This is a win-win, because your skin and your wallet (AND your snuggle buddy) will thank you!
7. Limit harsh products: Skin is more prone to irritation during the winter season, so keep your routine simple by limiting harsh products such as Retin-A, drying soaps, and alcohol-based toners. If you normally use Retin-A daily, consider switching to every other day or even just twice per week.
8. Avoid hot, steamy showers and baths: When you take long, hot showers or baths, you end up drying skin out instead of moisturizing it. Water pressure and heat combine to strip essential oils from skin's surface, leaving it hungry for moisture. I know it's tempting, but if you insist on taking a hot bath or shower during the winter months, you'll need to cut it short and hop out in 10 minutes or less.
The best thing you can do once you're out? Moisturize skin immediately — while it's still damp. Many of our top recommended body lotions are very inexpensive, so feel free to slather them on. Rough areas such as knees, elbows, and ankles benefit from a coat of Vaseline or coconut oil.
9. Eat healthy fats: Just as proper hydration is essential year-round, so is a healthy diet chock full of vitamins and nutrients. You've probably heard it said that you can exercise all you want, but if you eat a crappy diet you're sabotaging your efforts since “abs are made in the kitchen”. A similar argument could be made regarding skin: It doesn't matter how many products you pile on your face, if you're not nourishing your skin from within, it won't look good.
Foods like avocado and salmon contain Omega 3s and beneficial fats that help keep skin soft and supple, so don't feel guilty about snacking on healthy fats during the winter season. Nuts are one food item where people tend to overindulge (since they're so easy to snack on mindlessly), so mind those portion sizes.
10. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells: No matter how much care you put into your skincare routine, your body still sheds dead skin cells daily. Help accelerate the process by exfoliating gently to slough away old skin. Once the old skin is out of the way, moisturizers and serums will penetrate better!
Most of these things are common sense steps we should be taking anyway, but it's important to be extra aware in the winter months. Skin is one of the first areas of the body to show the effects of drastic climate changes, but fortunately many of the issues are preventable. If you follow these winter skin care tips and just adjust your skincare routine accordingly, you'll have beautiful skin all winter long!
Hyaluronic Acid Source: Paula's Choice