It is always important to “check in” with your skin at least four times a year – during each new season. Now that winter is really upon us I felt it was a good time to talk about some winter skincare tips.
Generally the biggest skin issue people have during the winter is dry, flaky skin which makes perfect sense, of course. Cold, wind, and dry air all take moisture from the epidermis, the top layer of the skin, leaving it dry. Since our dermis is our skin’s shield from external factors it is important to keep it well hydrated. Even people with very oily skin might find that they need a moisturizer during the winter. There are a few ways to get that extra moisture that your skin needs. You could simply buy a creamier, thicker moisturizer with more emollients to use during the coldest months of the year. I actually prefer another method since I like both my daytime and nighttime moisturizers a lot. I started using a little bit of jojoba oil on my face before applying my regular moisturizers (I buy my jojoba oil at Trader Joe’s; it is about $7 for 4 fluid ounces – very reasonable price). Jojoba oil will not clog your pores so it is a great choice for any skin type. You can also use a B5 serum since B5 is very hydrating. Skinceuticals and Dermaquest both make good B5 serums. Or you could use a hydrating mask once or twice a week in order to help your skin regain some of its lost moisture.
Make sure that you don’t spend too much time in the shower or rinse your face with water that is too hot. If you do you are further compromising the skin’s dermis and once again leaving it vulnerable to moisture loss. If you are using a cleanser with AHA or salicylic acid you might want to switch your cleanser to one without those added ingredients during the winter. Though both of those ingredients are great they can dry skin out over time and as such generally most people will find that cleansers like that are better suited for the warmer months or when you are feeling especially oily. Instead of using such a cleanser exfoliate gently about two times a week with a lotion, mask, or gentle scrub.
I find that my hands become extremely dry and even crack during the winter. Wear gloves when you wash dishes or clean the house in order to protect your hands. I am constantly washing my hands, partly because I have a two year old and I am constantly washing my hands after changing diapers and wiping his runny nose, so I find I need extra moisture to combat the dryness and cracks. Lately I’ve been using a Vitamin E oil in the morning and night. You can even slather your hands at night with A&D ointment which will create a protective barrier over your skin as you sleep. (Though this is a post about winter skincare tips I will mention that in the summer I find my hands don’t need quite as much moisturizer as they do during the winter, so I simply use a regular sunscreen on them which works great to both moisturize and give me the sun protection I need. Last summer I used the Target brand Up & Up Face Lotion spf 70 on my hands)
And above all – don’t forget your sunscreen! People seem to think once it is no longer summer there is no need to use sunscreen. Nothing could be further from the truth! According to an article in Skin Inc. – “Even on gray winter days, about 80% of both UVA and UVB rays penetrate clouds. And 100% of UVA rays penetrate glass.” Further more The Skin Cancer Foundation points out: “No matter how many layers we wear, one part of the body — our head and neck area — tends to remain exposed to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation year-round. Not coincidentally, the face, head and neck are where the majority of skin cancers occur.” I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to use sunscreen daily (I recommend spf 30 or higher and be sure your sunscreen is labeled “broad spectrum” so that it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays) and to reapply that sunscreen before you go outside again after having been indoors.
And don’t forget to use lip balm with sunscreen (Blistex, which you can find almost anywhere and is cheap, makes a few types of lip balm with sunscreen. There are also lots of lipsticks and lip glosses with sunscreen). Lastly, don’t neglect your hands. Yes, you will probably be wearing gloves when you go outside because it is cold, but do you take your gloves off while driving? Your car is a confined space, and you are being assualted by UVA and UVB rays while in the car. There are lots of really nice hand creams for sale that already include spf in them. Try Neutrogena Age Shield Hand Cream, Peter Thomas Roth, or Studio Gear hand creams. (And for my Israeli friends I highly recommend this Crema hand cream – Daily Sun Defender)
Since dry air is extremely dehydrating to skin think about getting a humidifier to use at home.
Sources and further reading:
- Allure – 13 Winter Beauty Mistakes
- Skin Inc. – Skin Cancer Foundation Urges Winter Sun Care
- Skin Cancer Foundation – Your Winter Face
- Paula Begoun – Winterize Your Skin