6 easy winter skin care tips
Winter can make your skin feel dry, itchy, and irritated. The cold can make skin feel raw, while the heated indoors dries skin out. If you suffer from these symptoms, you’re not alone. Up to 65% of the population deals with dry skin, especially in the colder months. Not all seasons are created equal when it comes to skin health—which is why you should change up your skincare routine in the winter months. Winter skin doesn’t have to be chapped and dull—use these healthy skin care tips to keep things supple and smooth all season long.
1. The first line of defense in winter skincare? Get a humidifier.
Many heating units pump hot, dry air into your house or office, leaving skin dry, itchy, and flakey. Humidifiers add moisture back into the air, which can help people with dry skin.
According to dermatologists, high levels of moisture in the air can plump up the skin, improving the appearance of wrinkles.
There are other added benefits of using a humidifier. If you suffer from allergies or sinus infections, a humidifier can provide some relief. Studies also found that raising indoor humidity can prevent the spread of airborne viruses. Moisture actually hinders the movement of germs! So, beyond having supple skin, you can also keep everyone in your household healthy.
The humidifier will be most effective if you keep it near your bed at night. If you work in an office during the day, it’s a great idea to get a small humidifier to keep near your desk too!
2. Dry skin in the winter? Limit shower time and temperature.
There’s nothing more satisfying than taking a long, hot shower after being outside in the cold. Unfortunately, this is a prime way to dehydrate your skin. The hotter the water, the more oil and moisture is stripped from your skin. In fact, it can actually damage the surface of the skin and cause eczema. Taking shorter, lukewarm showers are way more protective for your skin.
Post-shower, avoid rubbing yourself dry with your towel—instead, pat your skin dry. This will prevent further redness and irritation. Then immediately moisturize—your skin is primed to absorb the maximum amount of moisture after bathing.
3. Every good skin care routine includes sunscreen!
You know it’s important to apply sunscreen on sunny days in the spring and summer, but did you know that it’s just as important on gray, wintery days? Even when it’s overcast, there are still UV rays reaching your skin and causing damage. No matter how dense the clouds appear, up to 80% of the sun’s rays are still penetrating them. While UVB rays are the ones present on sunny summer days that cause sunburn, UVA rays are always present and can easily penetrate clouds. They can also get through glass and make their way deeper into your skin. Exposure to UVA can cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Researchers have also found that age spots and freckling can be caused by infrared light—like those emitted from your computer screen or overhead lighting! So, even if you’ll be spending most of the winter months indoors, it is still extremely important to wear sunscreen.
4. Be gentle with your winter skin care routine.
Because your skin will be drier and more prone to irritation in the colder months, it’s essential that you treat it with extra TLC. This means exfoliating less, if at all. Avoid using any harsh acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These are specifically used to dry out skin, which can help the occasional blemish when your skin is overly oily in the summer but can have the reverse effect in the winter.
When your skin is dehydrated your body will produce more oil to compensate—this extra oil can clog pores and cause acne. So, while it might seem counterintuitive to moisturize when you are breaking out, it will actually serve you well in the long run.
Definitely avoid products that contain alcohol, another drying agent. Many face cream brands use alcohol to make the creams feel lighter, but the truth is that alcohol has damaging effects to the skin, especially when it’s already irritated from the dryness of winter.
You might swear by chemical peels—they do have some amazing benefits. But when your skin is prone to dryness, redness, and irritability, a chemical peel will just exacerbate these symptoms. Save the chemical peels for the spring and summer!
Finally, if you are experiencing severe dryness, consider washing your face just once a day. Washing your face, much like taking a long, hot shower, can strip the skin of oil and moisture. Reducing your face washing regimen to once a day can help keep the natural oils and moisture regulated.
5. The best skin care routine starts from the inside out.
Change up your diet in the winter to promote healthy skin. While the following diet suggestions are a good idea all year-round, they are especially beneficial when dealing with the skin issues associated with winter.
Foods high in natural, healthy fats are a great go-to—avocados, coconuts, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds are all rich sources of this kind of fat.
Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, are great for your skin. Omega-3s fight against cancer, strengthen skin cells, and help reduce inflammation. Chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and egg yolks are also full of Omega-3s if you aren’t a big fish eater. (1)
Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake if you can, during these months, as they are dehydrating. And go out of your way to drink a lot of water to keep yourself as hydrated as possible.
Even with making these dietary changes, your body might still need an extra boost. With the idea of working from the inside out, it’s a good idea to add one or two vitamin supplements to your regimen. For a more comprehensive supplement, look to Mybite Hers, a multivitamin for women. It contains essential nutrients to keep you on you’re A-game no matter the time of year.
6. Our final winter skin care tip—moisturize!
This might seem like a no-brainer—of course you should moisturize if your skin is dry! But there are some slight changes you can make to your normal moisturizing routine to maximize the benefits throughout the winter.
Consider changing to a heavier cream moisturizer in the winter months. Lighter creams oftentimes use alcohol, which is very drying. Heavier creams also provide a better layer of protection from the climate, and they can seal in moisture.
Don’t skimp on that nighttime moisturizer! Overnight moisturizing is another way to ensure healthy, hydrated skin. Applying a thick layer of night cream will seal in moisture and give you the extra boost you need to combat dry, flakey, irritated skin.
Face oils have been trending the past few years, but it’s important to know that they do not moisturize. Oils put a sealant on your skin by coating the top layer, but they do not pull water into the skin and cause hydration. Face oil can keep moisture in, but cannot create more moisture. Face oil can keep moisture in, but cannot create more moisture, so add a humectant-based cream to your regimen and top it all off with a layer of oil.
Lastly, consider switching up your face makeup to something more hydrating. Look for products containing ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. These humectant ingredients trap moisture into the skin. Also, try to avoid using powder makeup. The problem with powders is that they absorb your natural face oil, therefore increasing dryness. If you swear by setting powder to keep your makeup in place, try switching to a primer or setting spray, which will do the same thing, instead.
It can be a challenge to keep your skin looking and feeling great when the climate is fighting against you. By taking preventative steps and using our skin care tips, you can avoid the classic winter skin irritation, and keep yourself glowing. Remember, a good skin care regimen is one that is ever-evolving and adapting to your needs. By changing up some of your self care routines this season you’ll combat the winter skin woes in stride.