Autumn is well underway, and those glorious days of showing your skin and soaking in the abundance of vitamin D have long since passed. Looming on the horizon is that time of year that’s least forgiving to dermatologists and people with delicate, sensitive skin: winter.
The main challenge that winter poses is dry air. For starters, cold air holds less moisture than warm air, so the humidity outside drops. Furthermore, continuously having heaters on dries out the air inside as well, so you are dealing with dry air inside and outside. On top of that, water-logged clothing and irritation from the cold itself are problematic for skin as well.
Fortunately, there is an arsenal of skin care techniques that can help you fight off the effects of the cold weather. Here, we’ll go over best practices to keep your skin smooth and soft even when mother nature would like to insist otherwise. By putting your winter skincare products and routines in place before the onset of the frost, you will be well prepared for the cold season.
5 Way to Prepare Your Skin for Winter Included:
1. Keep Your Skin, Body, and Environment Hydrated
As mentioned above, dryness is the number one issue to contend with when the cold weather hits. No matter what type of heat you use – oil, gas, wood, or even a heat pump – circulating warm air throughout a building dries out the air inside. You will need to make sure you are replenishing your skin’s water one way or another so you can maintain that healthy, bouncy glow all year long.
Set up a humidifier. Replacing lost moisture in the air is a good way to keep your skin from drying out too quickly. Try running a humidifier in your home or workplace, anywhere that you spend a lot of time during the day. There are many kinds of humidifiers available in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are small enough to fit in a crowded desk space, and therefore, are great for any house, apartment, or office.
Drink plenty of water. You’ve probably heard the recommendation of eight glasses of water per day. This is a good start for an average adult, though your individual water needs will vary depending on your size, environment, and activity level. Your body needs ample water in order to properly nourish your skin cells. One easy way to avoid dehydration is to drink a full glass of water whenever you feel thirsty.1
Moisturize with a hydrating lotion. Not all skin creams and lotions are created equal. Some contain extra perfumes or synthetic compounds that can actually be irritating. When buying a lotion or cream, look for one that specifically says it is “hydrating,” so you know it will help add moisture to your skin and lock it into place.
Keep chapstick or lip balm on hand. Your lips are particularly prone to drying out since their moisture is getting rubbed off as you eat and drink throughout the day. A hydrating lip balm or chapstick will keep precious moisture locked in the skin on your lips. In addition to preventing your lips from cracking and chapping, this moisture will also maintain your lips’ ability to heal themselves.
2. Establish a Skin-Friendly Hygiene Routine
You already know that good hygiene is important for your skin’s health. However, during your daily routine there are a few tricks to keep your skin extra protected from winter’s harsher elements.
Take shorter, cooler showers. The temptation to take long, scalding-hot showers rises after you’ve spent a day out in the cold. But you should try to resist this urge, since hot water can actually irritate your skin if you use too much. Moderately warm showers are fine, just don’t crank the heat up to your maximum tolerable level. Also, shorter showers of around 10 minutes keep your skin from becoming too bothered.2
Use shampoo for dry skin. Shampoos that say they are intended for oily hair actually tend to strip off your skin’s oil too harshly. You need a certain amount of oil to form a protective layer over your skin’s moisture, preventing it from drying out. If a dry scalp and dandruff have been an issue for you, look for a shampoo designed for dry hair. Otherwise, stick to sulfate-free shampoos that don’t remove too much oil.
Try an oatmeal bath. A nice way to warm up while refreshing your skin is with a soothing oatmeal bath. On top of its moisturizing effects, oatmeal also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can sooth irritated skin.
Moisturize after bathing. Right after you’ve had a nice soak is an excellent time to seal a layer of moisture in your skin. After you’ve stepped out of the bath or shower, gently pat off any standing water drops. While your skin is still soft and damp, apply a moisturizing cream or lotion to retain this water for hours to come.
3. What to Do When the Sun is Low
During the winter months, the sun is lower on the horizon than the rest of the year. Even though you are probably keeping covered far more than you would in the summertime, there are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding skin exposure to the sun during the winter.
Keep using sunscreen. Sunscreen is something you wear during the summer when you’re heading to the beach, right? That may be the case, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect sun protection during the winter. Even if the sun is low on the horizon or covered by clouds, the skin on your face is still exposed to potentially harmful UV radiation. Make sure you apply SPF 30 or higher to any exposed areas of skin when you are spending more than a few short minutes outdoors. Use sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as synthetic chemicals can cause further harm to your cells.3
Take extra vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for many aspects of your health. When your skin is exposed to the sun while it is high in the sky, energy from its rays convert cholesterol precursors into vitamin D in your skin. While the sun is low and most of your skin is covered, like it is during the winter, vitamin D production drops. You can make up for this by taking vitamin D supplements or eating foods that contain decent quantities of it. Mushrooms and truffles, for example, are excellent dietary sources of vitamin D.
4. Antioxidants Are Your Friends
A large amount of the effects of aging can be attributed to damage from oxidation. Reactive oxygen species, either from your surroundings or produced as a byproduct of cellular reactions, can damage protein, lipids, and DNA in your skin cells and cause them to lose integrity. Antioxidants remove these damaging molecules and protect your skin from degradation.
Eat plenty of dietary antioxidants. Several types of foods contain natural antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables, particularly berries, citrus fruits, and greens contain high amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C. Make sure you get plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet, or else take antioxidant supplements to protect your skin from oxidative damage.4
Use creams or lotions containing antioxidants. Many topical skincare products contain antioxidants. One of the most common you will find in cosmetic products is vitamin E. Using topical products can get these nutrients to your skin cells faster than if you ingest them. This is especially true if you combine it with microneedling.
5. Microneedling For Optimal Skin Health
Microneedling is a revolutionary new skincare technology that has recently come to light. Capable of rejuvenating your skin and building its strength and flexibility, this technique is ideal for preparing your skin for wintertime, summertime, and all the seasons in between.
Boost your skin’s health with microneedling. Using a high-quality derma roller, you can increase the tautness and elasticity of your skin ahead of a long and taxing winter season. These derma rollers contain rows of tiny needles on a rolling head, which when lightly rolled along your skin will stimulate your body’s natural healing processes. As a result, production of durable, stretchy fibers, like collagen, is enhanced.5 Increasing the structural support of your skin will not only make it smoother, but will boost cellular activity for maximum resistance against the cold, keeping your skin ready for the colder elements.
So, your skin doesn’t have to suffer just because it is cold out. Make use of the suggestions above and have beautiful skin all year round.