It’s no secret that winter skin care can be a real game-changer, both positively and negatively speaking. Even if you’re still in your teens or 20s, all that cool air and wind can cause irritation and strip away moisture. Skin might become dry, chapped, congested, or even oily as it attempts to compensate – and that’s no fun.
If you can relate, know that you aren’t doomed to suffer every time cooler weather comes around. It’s pretty easy to adjust your winter skin care routine accordingly, to kick problems like these to the curb. Start with these daily winter skin care rituals the correct, effective way.
DITCH THE “SQUEAKY CLEAN” SOAPS
Squeaky clean is not your friend! If the soap you’re using leaves your skin feeling “squeaky,” you should know that’s not necessarily a good thing. Here’s the problem: squeaky clean only happens when soap clears away both debris and your own natural oils, too. That leaves your skin unprotected, vulnerable, and unable to properly maintain hydration levels.
In warmer weather, stripping away that natural barrier isn’t as much of a problem as most people produce oil at a faster rate in the heat. But in the winter, this doesn’t always happen. It can be enough to push someone firmly into the “dry” zone, even if they don’t normally suffer from a lack of hydration.
So, what should you use instead? Skip the bar soaps and try a gentle foaming cleanser specially formulated for your skin. Your skin should feel soft and smooth, but you don’t need to be squeaky in order to maintain good hygiene.
AVOID ABRASIVE FACE SCRUBS AND EXFOLIANTS
Exfoliants are the holy grail for dull, lifeless skin, but they, too, can strip away oils and remove your protection from the elements. Worse yet, all that abrasiveness can actually cause microtears and irritation to the stratum corneum (that’s the top layer of your skin), especially if you use too much pressure.
This can raise your risk for winter skin care problems, such as dryness, flaking, and patchiness, not to mention infection and breakouts. Do your best to avoid these products unless you absolutely need them. If you do, remember that fine grit is better than thick.
Opt for something gentler (like a cleanser with just a dash of activated charcoal) instead of something with a larger grit (like crushed apricot seed or walnut shell). Stay away from anything with microbeads. These are not only bad for the environment, but also generally sub-par for your derma, too.
If you really feel like you’re having trouble getting rid of old debris and skin cells, consider a spa appointment instead. Dermabrasion and microblading are far safer for your skin than exfoliating at home when delivered by an experienced provider.
SWITCH TO A (SERIOUSLY HEAVY) HYDRATING MOISTURIZER
Regular moisture whip not cutting it? Maybe that nightly cream you use just isn’t helping your skin as well as it did last summer. Or, maybe your weekly mask suddenly seems to be ineffective.
No, it probably isn’t the product you’re using somehow failing – and your mask isn’t likely to be a dud, either. What is likely is that winter has stripped away your moisture levels, and whatever you’re using just isn’t enough to restore the balance.
Think of it this way: you can get away with drinking around eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. But if you go out and run a marathon, you’re going to need a heck of a lot more (and maybe some electrolytes, too) in order to properly recover. The same is true for your skin.
So, what’s the best way to proceed? The golden rule of moisturizers is that thinner, more watery products (like gel moisturizers) are lightest, while thick, buttery creams and whips containing oils (like jojoba or argan oil) are heaviest.
Some formulas also contain hyaluronic acid to help your skin maintain the moisture it receives, too. Start from wherever you are now and gradually step up a little bit at a time until you find the sweet spot.
STOP USING EXCESSIVELY HOT WATER
A hot cup of tea after some fun outside in the cooler temperatures can be amazing. A hot shower, on the other hand, isn’t as fun – at least, for your skin, anyhow. Hot water softens and melts away natural skin oils; those precious few minutes each morning or evening could actually make your face feel dry and itchy.
This is a case when warm to very warm works best – better still if you follow it up with a final splash of cold water. This will encourage your pores to contract, giving you a little bit of extra protection from the cold.
If you just cannot resist the urge to soak your body in the heat, opt for a bath or hit up a local pool and go for a jacuzzi soak instead. It’s just as pleasurable without the negative effects on your skin. You can also follow your shower up with some in-the-shower moisturizing cream if you continue to struggle.
UP THE ANTE ON YOUR WINTER SKINCARE WITH HYDRATING FACIALS
If ever there was a good time to head to the medspa for a soothing facial, winter is it. It’s often true that what people need most isn’t a total change, but just a little boost – and that’s exactly what a hydrating facial does. It wraps your skin in ingredients designed to not only help you restore moisture, but also to help you retain it after you leave.
Hydrating facials come in two main forms: medicated (cosmeceuticals) and non-medicated. Each offers a slightly different benefit. Most non-medicated facials are simply rich in deep moisturizing ingredients, like:
This is often enough for the person who struggles with a touch of dryness or flaking in winter. If you suffer from extreme dryness, cracking, or conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema, however, you may need a stronger prescription product to restore your skin.
A medspa provider can guide you through this process, from initial consultation to prescription through final results. Here’s the real secret to great winter skin care: don’t wait until your issues are severe to ask for help.
Often, finding a fix is as easy as spending a couple of hours at the medspa with a provider who can get to know you and your skin. Why not schedule an appointment right now and start the new year off right?