Save Your Skin in Winter

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There are many reasons to love wintertime–holidays, crisp and cool weather, spending time wrapped in a cozy blanket with a hot mug of cocoa. Your skin, however, is likely not a fan of winter conditions.

Low humidity levels and cold air are two culprits responsible for leaving your skin zapped of moisture and needing a little extra TLC. While adding a moisturizer to the face and body is one way to fight back against winter effects on the skin, there are many more actions you can take to keep your skin soft and supple during the winter months. Incorporate these helpful tips into your winter skin care routine and enjoy a noticeable difference in how your skin looks and feels.

Avoid hot showers or baths
When it’s chilly outside, the first thing you want to do is hop into a tub and soak in that warm, inviting water. While it feels good, hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, leaving it parched when you dry off. A hot bath is okay to indulge in once in a while, but take your showers with warm (not hot!) water and always choose lukewarm water to wash your face.

Lock in moisture
When water evaporates from the skin, it takes away precious moisture with it. Any time your skin comes into contact with water, whether that means showering or washing the dishes, apply lotion to the skin afterward and seal in that hydration while the skin is still damp.

Plug in a humidifier
Aside from the naturally dry air in winter, many homes and offices are kept warm by heating systems. These systems remove the moisture in the air, causing your skin to dry out even if you stay indoors. Counteract the effect the heater has on air by incorporating a humidifier in the bedroom and anywhere else you spend a good amount of time. Humidifiers add the right amount of moisture back into the air to help your skin stay hydrated, not to mention it helps a variety of other conditions, such as dry sinuses.

Wear sunscreen
Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t something you should focus on only during the summer months. Sunscreen must be worn year-round to reduce the risk of sun damage. Skin protection also comes in the form of wearing gloves or scarves to protect against the elements such as snow or harsh winds, both of which have a drastic effect on the skin.

Remember to exfoliate
Exfoliating the skin is important to do all year, but even more so during the winter months. Exfoliation helps remove the top layer of dry skin cells, which cause the face and body to look dull and dehydrated. Sloughing away dry skin has another important aspect; it allows skin care products to soak into the skin and better provide hydration and nourishment deep into the various layers of the body.

While these tips are essential for keeping your skin hydrated and healthy during the winter months, choosing your skin care products is equally as important. Don’t stick to the same products throughout the year. The attention your skin needs in summer is much different from what it needs during winter, so your products should reflect the conditions properly. Here are some tips to finding appropriate skin care products during winter. Your dermatologist or aesthetician can also suggest products for your skin type.

Shop for mild cleansers
Cleansing the skin daily is crucial for wiping away makeup, excess oil and environmental toxins from the skin. Since delicate facial skin is more sensitive during the winter months, it’s important to look for mild cleansers that are fragrance free or have formulas designed for sensitive skin. These cleansers are effective and don’t leave the skin irritated or dry.

Choose hydrating lotions
Not all moisturizers are created equal! When you’re shopping for a body or face cream, take a look at the ingredient list before purchasing to ensure you are finding the best product. Glycerin, also known as a humectant, works to retain moisture and lock it into the skin. Body oils are another good option and soak into the skin quickly for effective hydration. Hydrating products often contain antioxidants, which fight back against free radicals that leave your skin parched and irritated. Other ingredients to look for include coconut or avocado oil, vitamins and fatty acids.

Winter skin needs a little extra care to keep it looking fresh and hydrated. Choosing the right skin care products could mean the difference between healthy and supple skin and a dry, dull complexion. One more tip? Don’t forget to drink water! Hydrating on the inside is just as important as taking care of your skin. ■

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