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Low temperatures and humidity, cold winds, dry indoor air, and steaming hot baths are just some of the reasons our skin becomes dry, tight, and irritated during winter. Red and cracked skin around the mouth and dry hands are often the first signs winter is taking its toll on your skin. So, instead of waiting for it to happen, it would be best to act preventively with proper winter skincare.
To keep your skin hydrated, smooth, and soft through the biting-cold days, follow our top 11 skincare tips for winter.
#1: Hydrate Your Skin Inside and Out
Don't let your skin get thirsty. Dehydrated skin is more prone to irritation and cracking, and the harsh winter elements can only make the problem worse. So, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day – sip warm herbal teas whenever the opportunity allows and carry a bottle of water always with you.
In addition, stock up your skincare arsenal with hydrating serums and creams. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera gel, urea, panthenol, and the like. Likewise, it's also essential to steer clear of drying and irritating ingredients in skincare, such as alcohols and fragrances.
#2: Keep Your Moisturizing Routine Spot-On
During the winter, the face is the most unprotected part of the body that is exposed to snow, frost, and strong winds. As a result, dryness, redness, and flakiness often occur, leading to compromised moisture barrier, irritation, and cracking. Therefore, it's pivotal to protect your skin and shield it from the elements with a nice and nourishing moisturizing cream. Look for ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, cholesterol, squalane, and fatty acids.
Be mindful of your nighttime skincare routine as well, as the skin is prone to transepidermal water loss while we sleep. So use a rich moisturizer in the evenings, and you can even top it off with an oil, like argan oil or jojoba oil, to seal all that moisture in and allow your skin to regenerate overnight. If your skin is already oily, you might want to skip the oil part or use it only a few days a week.
#3: Switch to Products With Creamy Formulas
This applies to all your skincare products, from cleansers to leave-on products like moisturizers and face masks. While during summer, it's all about unburdening your skin with gel and fluid formulas, winter should be the opposite, especially if you already have dry skin.
Remember that the focus should be on protecting your natural skin barrier and preventing your skin from drying. So, use gentle creamy cleansers instead of foams. Likewise, don't be afraid to use a bit heavier oil-based moisturizers and creams, especially if you're spending time outside in the cold and the wind.
#4: Keep Using Your SPF
It might not feel like it, but UV radiation is just as high in winter as it is in the summer. First off, snow reflects up to 80% of UV rays, increasing your exposure to the sun and the risk of skin damage. In addition, the damaging UV rays, UVA to be more precise, can also penetrate the clouds – so, don't be fooled by the gloomy and dark winter days.
Therefore, whether you're running errands during the sunny or cloudy days in winter, make sure to apply your broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. And don't forget to apply it to both your face and your hands and other areas of your body that aren't covered with clothing.
#5: Use a Humidifier
Heating systems can dry out the air in your house and, therefore, dehydrate your skin as well. To counteract that, you can install a humidifier in those rooms where you spend the most time in, such as your office, bedroom, and living room.
#6: Take Good Care of Your Lips
Chapped lips are one of the most common winter-related skin issues, particularly if you have a habit of licking them. Licking your lips can exacerbate dryness and lead to the so-called lick eczema. So, try to resist licking your lips and always carry a lip balm with you and reapply it often. In addition, if you're spending time outside, make sure to apply a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher.
#7: Protect Your Hands
Always keep your hands dry, warm, and well-moisturized with hand cream. The skin on the hands is thinner compared to other parts of the body. This means that they will get dry and irritated quicker, especially during cold weather. Itching, cracking, pain, and even the appearance of eczema are the most common problems. So, put on your mittens when you go outside and apply a rich hand cream every time after washing your hands. To make sure you never forget it, place your hand cream right next to the soap so that everything is at your fingertips!
#8: Don't Overdo It With Exfoliating
It's no secret that exfoliation will help your skin get rid of dead skin cells and make your complexion smooth and glowing. Exfoliation is especially important during cold weather and winter months as dry air and low temperatures lead to flakiness and more dead cells that need to be regularly removed. Plus, exfoliating will help your skin better absorb your hydrating serums and creams.
However, it's also important not to go overboard with your exfoliating routine as it can damage your skin's natural barrier and lead to additional dryness and irritation. Exfoliating once a week is totally enough.
#9: Limit the Time Under Hot Showers
Besides over-exfoliation and harsh soaps, hot water is another culprit that can lead to dryness and compromised natural skin barrier. So, keep your hot showers short or use lukewarm water instead if you can handle it. If your skin turns red under the shower (or in a bath), it means that the water temperature is too high. To minimize the negative effects of hot water on your skin, apply your body lotion and moisturizer right after you've finished showering while your skin is still damp.
#10: Boost Your Body Care Routine
During this time of year, it's not just your face, lips, and hands that need special care but your whole body. Due to the drop in humidity levels outside, the water from our skin evaporates faster, leading to increased dryness, irritation, and inflammation. Some people may even experience the so-called chicken skin or keratosis pilaris, most commonly on thighs, the upper arms, and buttocks.
Therefore, don't forget to apply a nourishing body lotion after each shower and mildly exfoliate with a body wash that contains lactic acid or a gentle scrub.
#11: Eat Healthy
During colder seasons, it's essential to protect the skin both inside and out. Besides drinking enough water daily, you can achieve this with a proper and well-balanced diet too. In winter, it is necessary to increase the intake of healthy fats, which you can find in nuts, seeds, olive and flaxseed oil, fish, and avocado. Healthy fats help the skin stay supple and prevent it from drying during cold weather.
Antioxidants, especially vitamin C, are also crucial in keeping your skin happy and healthy during cold winter months. Some of the foods rich in vitamin C are peppers, citrus fruits, and parsley.
With these skincare tips and tricks, you'll make sure your skin is safe, healthy, and ready for any winter adventure. There's no reason not to enjoy all the charms winter has to offer – so slather on that moisturizer and sunscreen, put on your lip balm and warm mittens and have fun in the snow.