Winter can be just plain ol’ rude to our skin. Even if you had the freshest and most luminous skin through summer and fall, winter has a way of giving our faces the zombie effect: parched, craggy and sullen. When your skin is extra dry, it’s easier to see lines and wrinkles. It’s harder to pull off a healthy glow. And that raw, tight sensation just doesn’t feel too good.
If you’re seeing signs of winter wear and tear and haven’t made any tweaks to your skincare agenda, it’s not too late to do something about it. Here are seven surefire ways to ward off the effects of the dry season on your skin and maintain a healthy-looking radiance.
Slough Off Dead Cells
First things first, the lack of moisture in the air may certainly cause your skin to look dry, dull and flaky. But did you know that dead skin cells could also be causing all that complexion chaos? Your first step is to slough off the old cells, which are preventing your skin from radiating light. Use a gentle botanical based exfoliating mask, not a physical scrub, that won't strip your skin barrier. Light exfoliation also enables your moisturizer to penetrate the skin and replenish cells with hydration. Apply the exfoliant at least once or twice a week. In between your exfoliating schedule, wash your face with a creamy or charcoal cleanser (see next tip).
Change Up Your Cleanser
When it comes to winter-proofing your skin, it all comes down to babying the skin barrier. Using a soap-based, chemical-based or foam cleanser on the daily can compromise that barrier and cause more dryness. You’ll want to swap out any harsh cleanser with a gentle, cream-based formula or (your best bet) a coconut charcoal cleanser.
Upgrade Your Moisturizer
Simply piling on an extra layer of your go-to moisturizer may not be enough to quench your skin during winter. That’s why, it’s always a good idea to swap out your moisturizer for a richer formula. Look for solutions containing MSM and plant-based stem cells. Doing so can deliver extra nourishment and glow when your skin needs it most.
Hot or Not
A hot shower at the end of a chilly winter day may seem like a good idea. But a too-hot shower can intensify your already dry, itchy state, so it’s best to turn down the heat and not linger in the shower for too long. Post-wash, apply a moisturizer to damp skin to replenish moisture more quickly. The key word is damp because the water droplets will actually aid the lotion’s absorption into the skin.
Love Your Neck
Your neck — you know, that often neglected area below your face — is home to skin that’s quite susceptible to visible signs of aging. The same love that you’re showing your face should be shown to your neck, décolletage and even your hands. On a nightly basis, remember to massage your oils and creams into these delicate areas so you can keep dry, crepey skin at bay.
Don’t Neglect the SPF
Even if you don’t see the sun’s rays for days, that’s not an excuse to let your sunscreen hibernate until spring. During winter, your skin can experience just as much sun damage as any other time of year — if your skin isn’t protected. For a dose of hydration and sun protection, choose a day lotion that enriches the skin barrier with glycerin or ceramides, while guarding it with at least SPF 30.
If dry outdoor air doesn’t zap your skin of its luster, than dry indoor air certainly will. Turning up the radiator or furnace to stay warm poses yet another threat to skin. To counteract inside dryness, try a humidifier. Turn it on at night to protect against indoor heat and wake up to a complexion that looks less parched and more refreshed.
Calm, Hydrate and Glow
These seven tips are the calming, hydrating and glow-producing strategies you need to combat the assault of dry, cold air. Winter is not the season to ‘do what you’ve always done and expect what you’ve always gotten’. Instead, take the time right now to winter-proof your skin and you’ll avoid the damage control that many women face come springtime.