Tips to Care for Your Skin During Colder Weather
By Melissa Gulden
Story by Melissa Gulden
Baby, it’s cold outside, and hot showers and indoor heat can wreak havoc on your skin this time of year. The weather has a direct effect on your skin—moisture and humidity in the warm seasons preserve the protective barrier of the skin’s natural moisture. So when temperatures take a nosedive, so do your skin’s moisture levels. Here are some tips to keep the moisture in your skin where it belongs.
Exfoliate. It sounds counterintuitive, but gently scrubbing (and we mean very gently) will actually help your lotions and creams work better. As your skin dries out, dead skin cells stop shedding, keeping moisturizer from fully sinking in.
Upgrade your moisturizer. When shopping around, look for the ingredients like glycerin or sorbitol, which are humectants that help pull moisture from the air into your skin. Keep a thicker moisturizer, like a body butter rather than a lotion or cream, next to your bed to re-energize flaky skin while you sleep. Butters and “whipped” products are high in oils and emollients. Try layering a serum under your facial cream for optimum absorption.
Hydrate Overnight. Prepare your complexion for battle against harsh winter assaults by applying a hydrating overnight mask three or four times a week. These types of treatments are thicker than a night cream and are formulated to work while you sleep without clogging pores. Look for versions made with hyaluronic acid—a magnet for moisture—and omega oils, which are rich in nourishing fatty acids.
Moisturize while Damp. Exposure to hot water with temperatures over 98.6 degrees causes blood-vessel dilation that results in water loss throughout the epidermis. So keep those hot showers under five minutes, and stick with a soap-free body wash instead of bar soap or anything highly perfumed. Pat your skin dry and moisturize while it’s still damp to help your cream penetrate.
Embrace Oil. Oil can be your friend, especially during the winter months. Slather on essential oil all over your body after the shower, when skin is still damp, for insanely soft skin. Try layering a facial oil blend under your moisturizer for extra protection in the cold. And don’t forget your eye area—opt for a dense, yet lightweight cream to keep skin supple.
Load up on the right balm. Some lip balms contain ingredients that can actually cause dryness, such as mineral oil (petroleum jelly), certain flavorings and perfumes. Try to find natural, oil-based balm, or one that has shea or cocoa butter in it. And SPF in lip balm is a MUST. Here’s a trick: Gently brush lips with a soft toothbrush, and then apply your lip balm for ridiculously amazing lips!
Beware of your water bottle. Believe it or not, it can actually contribute to dry, chapped lips. Here’s how: When you take a swig from a water bottle, you’re often left with droplets on your mouth. When those molecules evaporate, they take moisture from your lips with them. You don’t have to go thirsty, though. Swiping on a lip balm or ointment throughout the day will help. So will buying a box of straws. Once cracked and fissured, lips can take a long time to heal because you’re constantly using them to speak and eat all day.
Invest in a Humidifier. The beauty of having a humidifier in your bedroom is that it can remedy any number of wintertime woes, including cracked lips and dry sinuses. Humidifiers produce water vapor that increases moisture in the air that’s been otherwise lost from the drying heat. Look for a model that uses upside-down plastic water bottles to maintain a healthy, safe environment. That way the bottles can be disposed of after they are empty.
Sanitize. Opinions are mixed when it comes to hand sanitizers, but I appreciate a bit of germ killer, especially during flu season. Shopping carts, ATMs, even our own cell phones carry a myriad of bacteria. Keep a moisturizing gel sanitizer nearby, just in case you feel a little “icky” after touching something. •