There’s no denying it: Old Man Winter is here for most of the country. Whether you get raw, rainy days, heavy snow, lots of fog, or just crisper air than you’re used to in your area, your skin is taking notice. It’s not only the outdoor elements that affect your skin, either. Indoor heating often dries out skin and can cause dullness and even itching. No fun! The good news is that you can tweak your skincare routine to make the most of this time of year, no matter where your daily activities take you. Keep reading to learn about how you can transition to a worthy winter skincare regimen.
1. LAYER YOUR SKIN-MOISTURIZING PRODUCTS
During the summer, you probably enjoy a healthy, dewy glow thanks to the added humidity in the air and the heat of the sun’s strong rays. Once the air gets colder and drier, however, many of us experience some dullness and dryness. Adding moisturizers can help.
First, switch to a moisturizing cleanser. You might have already been using one if you have dry skin, but now, even those with normal or combination skin can benefit from the extra moisture. If you have very oily skin, you might want to continue sticking with what’s been working for you, cleanser-wise, as long as your skin feels comfortable and isn’t tight or itchy.
You will also want to use a heavier moisturizer than you have been. If you have acne-prone skin, continue to look for products that say “non-comedogenic” on the label so you know they won’t clog your pores. While light moisturizers are perfect for the heat of summer, they might not be up for the challenges that come with the dry air of winter.
Hydrating serums and face oils are other options to look into. Proceed with caution if you have very oily or sensitive skin, but for those with normal to dry skin, adding these extra products can go a long way toward helping your skin feel comfortable and look amazing all winter long.
2. DON’T SKIP THE SUNSCREEN
Don’t get into the mistaken thought cycle that winter sun can’t burn you; you are apt to end up with an unpleasant surprise after spending some time outdoors on an overcast January day! The sun’s rays absolutely do penetrate cloud cover, and they are strong enough to cause damage even during the peak of winter. They will also bounce off of snow and ice, potentially giving you a bad burn on exposed skin even while sledding on a cloudy day. Don’t let this happen!
Apply sunscreen every day that you plan to leave your home. It’s easiest if you choose a moisturizer with sunscreen included (just make sure it’s at least SPF 30). You should still have a standalone product to use when you want to reapply halfway through the day, however. And remember that sunscreen expires after a couple of years (check the date on the bottle). If you purchased yours over the summer, it’s likely still fine, but if you were using leftover sunscreen from the previous summer, then it’s time to invest in a new bottle.
3. MASK UP
Yes, you should still be using your protective face masks to prevent spreading illness, but we are actually talking about the type of mask you apply to improve your complexion. Once or twice per week, use a hydrating mask to help seal in moisture and prevent dryness. You can purchase these at your local spa, drugstore, or department store, or you can make them yourself with ingredients you might already have at home.
You can also use an exfoliating mask once per week. Since your skin is not shedding as frequently as it might during the hot summer months, the extra dead skin cells (yuck, we know!) can lead to dullness. Using a gentle exfoliating mask will help remove the extra cells and keep your skin looking great. Just be aware that since skin is drier and more sensitive during the winter, you might need something gentler than you use during the warmer months. Again, you can purchase these products or make them yourself.
4. HAVE PROCEDURES DONE NOW
Have you been considering a chemical peel or dermabrasion? Maybe you were hoping to have laser hair removal done on your upper lip. These procedures make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so they’re not ideal in the summer when you will be spending a lot of time outdoors, on the beach, and in the sun. Consider scheduling them now so you won’t have to disrupt plans as much due to skin sensitivity after seeing your dermatologist or clinician.
Another benefit to doing these things now is that your skin will be positively glowing by the time spring and summer roll around! Imagine the glow you’ll have once the temperatures start rising; you might be better off putting in the work now that will pay off later.
5. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR LIPS
One area of your face that is likely to get quite dry and even peel is your lips. Because lips don’t make their own oil or sebum, they tend to get dried out. In the winter, they can crack and peel, which is as painful as it is unsightly. Try to avoid this by applying lip balm liberally and by avoiding medicated lip balms, which can end up making problems worse due to overdrying. You can also use a hydrating lip mask; these can be applied weekly and are best used overnight when you won’t be wearing lipstick. Speaking of lipstick, consider switching to glosses for everyday use rather than matte coloring, which tends to contribute to drying.
HOW’S YOUR WINTER SKINCARE?
Keeping your skin in great shape all winter takes a little extra effort, but it will pay off when you have glowing, comfortable skin throughout the cold, dry season. In addition to the tips above, be sure to drink plenty of water and get enough sleep, as these will help with your skin health as well as with your overall health.