Welcome to post #2 in our Beating Winter Skin Series. Now we know what is making our skin so scaly. Next up, simple things we can do to overcome it:
Instead of over-moisturizing, increase your exfoliation.
When the heat is on in the house and the air is cold outside, your skin will be depleted of its natural moisture, leaving your skin feeling tight and dry. People tend to load on the extra moisturizer to compensate for the dryness. This will not always solve the problem of dry skin. If your skin is dry, tight and flakey, it means that you have dry skin cell build-up on the surface of the skin. So rather than putting on extra cream to re-hydrate dead, dry skin cells (it doesn’t make sense!) try increasing your exfoliation with a gentle facial scrub to remove the dry skin cells so that when your cream goes on, it hydrates the new cells rather than the dry cells.
Avoid greasy hand creams if you’re prone to breakouts.
You may suffer from a condition we call ‘hand cream acne’ if you sleep with your hands on your face at night! We are more likely to use hand cream during the dry winter months than during the summer which leads us to using heavy hand cream to alleviate the dryness. Most often, this cream is applied right before you go to bed. If you sleep on your side with your hands on your face, the cream may be getting into the skin and clogging the pores. If you find that this may be happening to you, sleep with cotton gloves or change over your hand lotion.
Change up your routine.
Your skin acts differently from summer to winter and the best strategy for healthy, beautiful, problem-free skin is to adjust your home care routine to suit your skin’s needs each season. In winter, the skin produces less oil, so for many skin types, oil must be added back into the skin to maintain its balance. Look for moisturizers containing Safflower Oil, Avocado Oil and Shea Butter. Switch from a gel cleanser to a cream-based cleanser and eye creams are a must in the winter. Spring and summer products will likely expire or reduce their effectiveness for the following year, so it’s a good time to purge your products.
Don’t neglect your neck.
The friction caused from turtle necks and wool fibers can rub on the neck causing it to be dry and irritated. Use a hydrating cream mask on your neck once a week to replenish essential moisture. Make sure to exfoliate in upward motions with a mild facial scrub.
Properly care for your skin at the gym.
After working out at the gym, make sure to wash your face, use an alcohol-free toner and a nourishing moisturizer. At the end of the work out, the salts created from perspiration can have a drying effect on the skin, combined with the cold, dry air outside and the heat in your car. So removing the salts and locking moisture back in the skin will greatly reduce dry skin.
Replenish the moisture that you remove from your skin by washing. Drinking plenty of water isn’t enough by itself. “If you are well hydrated, the skin will be healthier, but it does not make a difference to the outer layers of the skin,” says dermatologist Doris J. Day. “You still need to use a moisturizer on the surface.” During the colder months, moisturize your body at least twice a day — immediately after showering and before bedtime. “The drier your skin, the thicker the lotion should be,” Reed says. “If you are very dry, you should be dipping into a jar, not squirting lotion out of a bottle.”
Put on thin white cotton gloves over moisturized hands. It’s been said before, but this really works to heal very dry skin. Dampen your hands, apply a rich ointment, and then wear the gloves for a few hours. For rough patches, such as on elbows, lock in moisture with petroleum jelly.
Try a humidifier in your bedroom if you don’t have one in your central heating system. But be vigilant about keeping it clean: “Different molds, fungi, and bacteria can grow in a humidifier,” says Kelly M. Cordoro, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. To prevent yours from becoming a germ haven, change the water daily and clean it every three days.
Cover up before heading outside. Leather gloves keep hands from chapping (the leather provides a better barrier to moisture evaporation than cotton), and wax-based products like lipstick and lip balm provide moisture and wind protection. Just as you shouldn’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water, don’t wait until your skin and lips are dry before moisturizing.