In a large majority of the country, winter is in full swing. The bitter cold days of this season bring extreme dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, it means more than just tight, dry skin. Their skin can become so dry it results in flaking and cracking. Some may even experience eczema, which can leave the skin inflamed.
Even for those areas of the country that are not experiencing subzero temperatures and weekly snowfall, cold weather is still something that you deal with. That being said, changing up your skincare to match the weather is important for everyone.
Here are some tips to help you winterize your skin care routine, and keep your skin glowing and hydrated all winter long.
Cover-up your skin
It is never a good idea in the colder months to leave any part of your skin exposed to the outside elements. Gloves, hats and scarves are very important tools that you can use to protect your skin from harsh outside temperatures.
Another bonus to wearing gloves is that they are able to trap moisture. When you have them on they are able to keep the moisture that is trying to leave your skin close to your hands, leaving them hydrated even after being outside in the cold air.
Hydration is key
The moisturizers and treatments you use in the summer months are no match for the winter chill. As the weather changes, your skin becomes drier and flakier and can even become red. Colder, drier weather makes your skin more susceptible to moisture loss. To combat this, you need to swap out your moisturizer. Gel and lotion moisturizers are commonly used in the summer since they are lightweight and contain a high water content. However, creams and serums are better for cold, dry weather because they provide a stronger oil barrier to lock in moisture.
Keep moisture in the air
Dry skin is more common in the winter months and there is a reason for this. The humidity levels in the air, both indoors and out, drop drastically, meaning that the air has less water in it. The dry air evaporates water out of your skin more quickly. This leaves your skin dry and flaky, giving you that winter skin feeling.
Luckily, there is a partial solution to this. Considering many of us spend ample time at home it is easy to add moisture back into the air. Purchasing a humidifier will do just that. This device will put moisture back into the air in your home, making it more humid. With the air in your house being more humid, your skin will get a well deserved break from the dry air it comes into contact with throughout the day. This will also help to lock in moisturizers that you put on your face.
Take shorter showers and baths
While it may sound warm and relaxing to take a long, hot shower or bath after being in the cold all day, think twice before doing this. The combination of hot water and soaking in it can strip your skin of its protective oils. This will leave your skin feeling tight and dry. Attempt to keep your shower and bath water warm, but not hot. Also try limiting your time in the shower or bath to only about ten minutes in the colder months.
Sunscreen is still important
It is important to apply a broad spectrum SPF on all areas of exposed skin every day. Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate clouds, so just because it’s a cold, cloudy day doesn’t mean you won’t be exposed to the strong UVA rays that cause aging and potential skin cancer. Not only can sunscreen decrease your risk of skin cancer, it can also reduce signs of aging. Wearing sunscreen can dramatically slow the aging process. A 2013 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that test subjects who used sunscreen daily decreased the speed of the skin’s aging process by 24% compared to the group that did not. For more information on why you still need sunscreen in the winter, check out our other post on this topic here.
Include more antioxidants
Incorporating products with antioxidants into your skincare routine is a good idea for any time of the year. If you spent time in the sun over the summer, you may have noticed signs of damage on your skin like freckles, dark spots, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles. These signs of damage are caused by free radicals resulting from exposure to UV radiation. Antioxidants are the body’s defense mechanism against free radical damage and work by neutralizing the free radical molecules. While there are hundreds of antioxidants, those with the most evidence to support their skin benefits include vitamins C, E, and B3 (niacinamide). These three antioxidants have small molecular weights, which allow them to easily penetrate the skin’s surface, making topical application effective.