The biggest threat to your natural beauty during the winter months is exposure to freezing temperatures and dry air, courtesy of the heaters we have running constantly for months on end. To help you maintain healthy-looking, radiant skin this winter, you’ll want to follow these skin care tips, so keep reading!
What Cold Weather Does to Your Skin
Whether you’re outside shoveling snow or taking a brisk walk through the neighborhood before your morning workout, if your skin is exposed to freezing temperatures, you’re actually causing potential damage. In fact, the cold tends to strip away the skin’s natural protective barrier, allowing water to leave the body (leading to dehydration) and allowing irritants to get in, which may trigger inflammation and flare ups of chronic conditions such as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
Extreme temperatures can also cause skin to look dull, flaky, and sallow. That’s why it’s so important to cover up properly if you plan on spending time outdoors. Thermal layers (such as specially designed cold weather running gear), a hat, scarf, and gloves, as well as thick, warm socks and sometimes even thermal leggings are a must. Wear breathable materials that wick away moisture. It’s better to be a bit warm than cold when working out outside or doing yard work in the winter months. This is even more important if you live in the northern hemisphere.
However, if you’re lucky enough to live in a region where winter means moderate temperatures, you should still be sure to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays by wearing 30+ SPF sunscreen. For a gentle option that you can still wear under makeup, try Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 from MyChelle Dermaceuticals, a non-tinted, 100% mineral broad spectrum sunscreen. Or, opt for mineral makeup with built-in SPF.
And as long as the sun is shining, be sure to shield your eyes from the sun with proper sunglasses – even if it’s cold out.
What Dry, Hot Air Does to Your Skin
Another issue with winter weather is that we find ourselves stuck indoors most of the time with heaters blasting, exposing our delicate skin to dry, hot air. When there’s little to no natural moisture in the air – whether you’re spending time at home or at the office – your skin can quickly dry out and crack, or even bleed. You’ll most likely experience this on your hands and lips.
It’s crucial to keep your skin properly hydrated by applying moisturizers or soothing, natural herbal-based oils. First, you’ll need to shed damaged skin to reveal brighter, healthier skin. Try Exfoliating Serum from Mad Hippie, a revitalizing plant-based nighttime serum packed with antioxidants. Follow it up by moisturizing with Mad Hippie Face Cream to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
If you have extremely dry skin or an itchy rash, you can put some over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream (such as Cortizone-10) on the spot until the redness and itchiness subsides. Then, heal your skin with vitamin E, unscented lotion, or jojoba oil. (We love 100% Pure Jojoba Oil from Desert Essence, and 100% Pure Moisturizing Oil from NOW Foods.)
How You Can Still Maintain Healthy-Looking Winter Skin
There are several ways to help maintain healthy-looking, well-hydrated skin, even during the harshest of winters.
- Avoid licking lips. According to Dermalogica, digestive enzymes and bacteria in saliva can damage the lips. It’s important to moisturize and protect them with shea butter. (Try Lip Rescue Lip Balm with shea butter from Desert Essence.) Avoid flavored lip balms.
- Avoid hot showers. Of course you still need to bathe and shower during the winter, but we’re talking about avoiding scalding hot water, which may strip nutrients and natural oils from the skin. Instead, opt for lukewarm showers or baths.
- Avoid lotions with fragrances or additives. Natural is always best. Fragrances and additives can further dry out and irritate your skin. Instead, try gentler options. (We like non-greasy, hypoallergenic Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Hand Cream.) Be sure to apply lotion after washing hands.
- Avoid overexposure. Cold temperatures and wind can whip your skin out of shape, so stay inside or cover up appropriately.
- Try a steam facial. Boil water in a pot, and then carefully place it on a hot pad on your kitchen table. Hold your face over the pot (with a towel draped over your head) and inhale the vapors. For an added bonus, add 1-2 drops of calming, soothing essential oils of your choice (such as eucalyptus, chamomile, or other essential oils for beauty) into the water, and lightly breathe in the healing mist. Enjoy this steam facial for 5-10 minutes.
- Sleep beside a humidifier. When you’re getting ready for bed, be sure to clean and fill the humidifier in your bedroom to make sure your skin is getting the moisture it needs to stay hydrated all night long. Just set it and forget it (until tomorrow night)!
How do you maintain healthy-looking winter skin? Tell us your beauty secrets in the comments below!
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