The chilly season is not your skin’s best friend, as most of us suffer winter dry skin. One look at dull, flakey skin proves this point, but what would you say if we told you that winter no longer has to be your skin’s enemy?
Would you embrace all the season has to offer and possibly get outdoors more to take in all the fun winter activities? Or would you curl up in front of the fire and no longer worry that the dry air is going to leave your skin less than gorgeous?
Yes, that’s right! By no longer fighting against the season and instead embracing it, skin care woes and all, your skin will be much happier and so will you when you look in the mirror and dewy, glowing skin reflects back!
What Is Winter Dry Skin?
The level of moisture in your outermost layer of your skin (your epidermis) reflects the level of humidity in your environment. Healthy, moisturized skin serves as a shield, keeping unwanted things from getting into your pores and body. It’s made up of skin cells that create a flat, smooth service when moisture is in balance
However, when winter dry skin occurs, the epidermis can become negatively impacted. When your skin barrier lacks moisture, especially during the winter months, this can lead to overly dry winter skin — this can include more obvious crow’s feet and less skin elasticity.
Tips for Dry Skin in Winter
Here are six of the best secrets and expert tips so you no longer have to dread the icy season.
1. Use the right oils
If you aren’t yet protecting your skin with a nourishing facial and/or body oil, then what are you waiting for? Oils are more concentrated and better for overall hydration when your skin is dry and dehydrated.
A good-quality facial oil, like argan oil, will not only feed your skin with deep down moisture — it will also infuse it with nutrients that will fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, repair dry, damaged skin and improve your skin’s lipid barrier, which in turn will prevent moisture loss through the pores.
Who knew a facial oil could do all that? Be sure to always apply your oil to slightly damp skin for better absorption, and pat — don’t rub — the oil into your skin.
2. Exfoliate weekly
The cool, dry air accelerates water loss from the skin, which can leave it looking rough, dry and dull. Dehydrated winter skin can show signs of dryness, including flaking, scaling and cracking.
Additionally, the accumulation of dead skin cells can hinder the absorption of moisturizers and other facial products. To combat this, use a gentle exfoliator once or twice a week to rejuvenate the surface of the skin.
When choosing an exfoliator, stay away from harsh peels, astringents and abrasive scrubs that can remove natural oils from the skin and potentially cause irritation. Instead, try a gentle scrub made from oatmeal, almond flour or honey.
3. Don’t strip your skin
Many people make the mistake of over-cleansing their skin or rinsing with hot water during the cold winter months. These are two of the major causes of dry, dehydrated skin.
No matter how much oil you then apply, these unhealthy skin habits actually impair the lipid barrier, and your skin may need time to recover. A damaged lipid barrier can result in dry, inflamed skin that may even break out as your skin over produces sebum to make up for the lack of oil.
Always rinse with lukewarm water, and use a gentle, oil-based cleanser, preferably just at night in winter. In the morning, spritz a hydrating toner onto a cotton pad, and give your face a wipe before applying your oils and lotions.
As for your body, use an all-natural body wash or soap that does not contain harsh foaming agents and detergents, like sodium lauryl sulfate, which can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause irritation.
4. Add some humidity to your air
The reason winter is such a harsh season for our skin is due to the lack of humidity in the air. A humidifier in your home can help to add humidity and moisture into the air to help your skin retain moisture.
We also love humidifiers because you can add essential oils for aromatherapy benefits, and they will help transform your mood. Lavender oil will soothe and calm, peppermint oil will energize, and citrus will boost your spirits.
5. Sunscreen is your best friend all year long
Why put the sunscreen away when the sun disappears and cloudy days become the norm?
Did you know that even on cloudy days your skin is at risk of UV damage? Make it a habit to always apply a generous layer of SPF to all areas of exposed skin after applying your oil or moisturizer and before heading outdoors.
6. Manage stress effectively
Stress is the enemy when it comes to good skin. It can do everything from throw off our skin’s natural balance to break down collagen, which then puts our skin at risk for accelerated aging.
This time of year can be a little stressful. After the rush of the holidays, we are then thrown straight back into work, and this can definitely increase stress and affect our skin.
Finding ways to effectively manage stress can go a long way in helping keep your skin looking its radiant best this season. Aim to try and work out at least three times a week — a good sweat fest releases endorphins and lowers the stress hormone, cortisol.
You may also try getting into a daily meditation or yoga practice, taking a walk in nature, painting, singing, crafting, anything that keeps your mind busy in a positive, creative way, but most importantly, something that you just love to do!
There you have it! Not only will these tips help to transform your skin, but they will help you to live a happier more positive life, too.
Diane Elizabeth is a beauty expert and founder of Skin Care Ox: a skin care blog focusing on publishing accurate, beautiful and informative skin care research and content, such as the top organic skin care oils. Diane’s skin care advice has been featured in many top publications such as HuffPost, Glamour, Reader’s Digest and Yahoo.