Winter is coming. Even though around the country the climates vary, the problems our skin experiences are similar. In the winter your skin deals with a lot of harsh environments, strong winds, cold air, indoor heaters, rain, snow, sleet and an overall lack of a good healthy dose of sunlight. We are left with dry skin that can become chapped and cracked. But have no fear the cures to your skin’s winter ailments are simple. Your skin’s goals this winter should be to moisturize, exfoliate and moisturize again. Keep moisture in mind with all the choices you make in your skin care regime. Your skin functions differently in the winters so you need to change your routines.
Winter is the time of year when you need to put away your foaming and soap cleansers and stock up on crème cleansers. Cleansing crèmes, lotions and milks are very effective cleansers and they do not contain the typical surfactant or detergent ingredients that most cleansing gels contain which can be too harsh on your skin in the winter months.
Put away your astringents and switch to a toner for winter. Your skin needs to be soothed and balanced and not dried out further by an astringent.
Choose heavier crèmes in the winter than you would in the summer months. Feel free to use your heavy eye crème around your lips and entire face. If your skin is itching it is because the dry air of winter is causing the moisture in the top layer of your skin to evaporate quickly. You will need to slather those areas with extra moisture until you feel relief. Never be afraid of using pure oils on your skin in the winter months. A bottle of jojoba oil or olive oil is a great thing to have on hand all winter. During the cold and flu season you should wash your hands liberally but be certain to apply a heavy hand crème every time you wash your hands.
Exfoliate twice per week to remove dead skin cells and allow your skin to absorb the extra moisture you are lathering on. The central heating plays havoc on the sebum our skin normally produces, which makes our skin lose water which should be retained in the lower dermis of the skin. Have you ever wondered about the areas of your skin that looks like your skin is flaking off your body? What happens is that during the winter months there are thousands of dry skin cells ready to be sloughed off the surface and they become clumped together with oil which forms what appear to be flakes. Don’t be flaky, exfoliate! Exfoliate your skin with crème based exfoliates with jojoba beads and your body will soak up the rich oils of a butter or oil based body scrub.
For a simple in home hydrotherapy, start out your day with a hot steamy shower and just as you are finishing switch the water to cold for about fifteen seconds. Repeat the process for two minutes. This hydrotherapy technique will revitalize your skin by stimulating the flow of blood through the skin.
In the Shower and Bath:
One of the greatest times to apply body oil or creme is right after a hot bath or shower, but did you know you can apply any oil, lotion or creme while you are in the shower or bath. You can even use your hair conditioner all over your body for soft and supple skin. The heat and steam from the shower allows your skin to thoroughly absorb moisture. Once you bring your body oil, lotion and creme into the shower try shaving with them. The rich oils protect your skin and give your razor a perfect glide. After you try it you might never go back to shaving with soap or shaving cream.
Your skin will benefit from following some of the tips of summer, eat healthy whole food, use SPF products and drink plenty of water. But for winter you simply need to remember to moisturize, exfoliate and moisturize again!
This article first appeared in the November/December issue of HK Magazine Online.