Cooler temperatures are here and the humidity of the summer is finally starting to wane away. By November, we’ll be enjoying those stereotypical mild California winters once again. Of course, you won’t see any snow (you’ll have to head to the mountains for that).
But just because we enjoy mild winters doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t still suffer from cooler weather skin problems. Lowered temperatures, changing humidity values, and even the occasional cold snap with high winds can leave you feeling dry, dehydrated, and even a little itchy.
So, how can you avoid this seasonal disaster before it even begins? Beat the fall and wintertime blues with these great healthy winter skin tips.
1. KEEP YOUR WINTER SKIN HYDRATED
Beauty really is more than skin-deep, as far as your skin is concerned. The overall health and appearance of your skin is directly tied to hydration. If you aren’t drinking enough water, it can and will struggle to maintain moisture. Your entire body becomes less adept at clearing toxins and creating new cells, too.
The result? Not drinking enough water leads to dry, itchy, tight, winter skin – something that’s already common in the fall as it is. So grab a fancy water bottle, fill it to the brim, and sip on it all day long.
Not thirsty? Here’s a fact that might surprise you. Thirst is complicated…if you’re already experiencing it, it means you’re already dehydrated. But the human body will actually turn these signals off after a while if you don’t replenish, leaving you completely unaware of just how in need of water you really are.
2. USE A CREAMIER MOISTURIZER
If you’re noticing a lot of dryness, flaking, and itchiness as the summer months roll in, your problem may be that you need to amp up your moisturizer a bit. Cooler temperatures can cause normal or combination skin to lose hydration; that favorite lotion you relied on over the summer might not be enough.
Try switching to a thicker, richer formula with hyaluronic acid (HA) or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) instead. Use it nightly until you start to see a difference; then, try once every two to three days to maintain your results.
Note that most of these thicker moisturizers are designed to be worn to bed or overnight. Because they take awhile to absorb and work their magic, you should avoid using them in the morning or under cosmetics.
3. TRY ENRICHING OIL TREATMENTS
This one is easy and fun, too! If your problems only seem to flare in the fall, only to subside later on, you may just need a little bit of temporary support. Try massaging in a few drops of enriching, plant-based oil every few days. This can help lubricate your pores, remove debris, add hydration, and even protect your skin from harsh winds, temperatures, and the waning autumn sun.
As for which oil you should use? Skip anything made with petroleum, including mineral oil and baby oil. Instead, try extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed organic coconut oil, or argan oil instead. You can even use what you have in the kitchen if you happen to have the first two on hand.
4. DON’T STOP USING SUNSCREEN
Often, people have a tendency to think that cooler temperatures also equal a reduction in sun damage. The truth is that UV rays are always a risk during every season of the year and virtually all types of weather.
In fact, the risk for sun damage can even be higher if you’re hitting the ski hill, something many people look forward to in late fall. Fresh, white snow is an excellent reflector of UV rays, meaning that more rays hit your skin while you’re out there dashing down the hills. Add in chapping and windburn and you have a recipe for a really difficult winter skin situation.
The fix? Wear sunscreen – period. Not only will a fall sunburn make your skin prone to dryness, redness, itching, and peeling, but it also multiplies your risk for certain cancers (especially melanomas) It’s just not worth the risk.
5. CUT BACK ON ALCOHOL & CAFFEINE
With Autumn comes Thanksgiving and eventually, the winter holiday season. If you’re like many people, you probably indulge in the occasional drink or cup of pumpkin spice latte on the way to work. Hey, no judgment!
But you should be aware that both alcohol and caffeine can wreak their own special havoc on your skin. Both dehydrate you, which can also make it harder for your skin to maintain its own hydration levels. Caffeine also interferes with sleep, while alcohol makes it harder for your body to clear toxins (including those commonly found on your skin).
So, indulge…but in moderation. And if you DO swing by the Starbucks or have a few drinks with friends, try to drink a full glass of water for every drink you have. It’ll offset some of the worst symptoms (and prevent nasty hangovers, too).
6. CONSULT WINTER SKIN EXPERTS
You’re getting enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water. Even your diet is clean and impeccable. Yet, like clockwork, November rolls around and your skin still looks and feels rough and dry or you have breakouts. What gives?
If you’ve tried everything else to absolutely no avail, it may be time to get some professional help on your side. Schedule an appointment at your local medspa for a full consultation. Sometimes, other winter skin problems (such as eczema and acne) can masquerade as seasonal symptoms when they really only occurred at the same time. Your provider can help you diagnose and correct the problem.
It doesn’t hurt to indulge in a deep cleansing facial routine during cold weather months, or even the occasional chemical peel, too. In fact, it’s a super way to start the cold season off on a good foot!
Most of us feel a little wistful as summer slips away. Suffering from winter skin problems at the same time can really bring you down, but don’t lose heart. Sometimes, all you need is a little bump in the right direction from some spa-level cosmeceuticals and treatments to get you back on track. You deserve it!