Many of us enjoy the winter-- but let's admit--most of us don't want The-Dreaded-Winter-Dry-Skin! Whether we're on the ski slopes, walking the dog after freshly fallen snow, or curled up with friends by the fireplace enjoying good wine, your skin may be craving your attention. Skin is our largest organ, and protecting it with simple preventative measures helps keep the rest of you healthy, as well as looking your best.
Stepping up our skincare is essential during the winter months as central heating and cold, dry air-- literally-- suck the water out of our skin! Your Summer Skincare Rituals most likely are not enough to combat winter's dry, parched skin. Your arsenal needs to lean towards richer creams--applied more often. More attention is critical for skin exposed to central heating systems and cold, dry air outdoors. Tweaking some habits and following simple tips can help immensely. An ounce of protection is easier than treating and repairing the damage!
Whether you're a winter sports enthusiast or the cozy, indoor type, you'll benefit from taking a few extra measures to protect your skin from dry, flaky, dehydrated, itchy (can we add more adjectives?) winter skin. With extra care, you may help prevent more severe conditions such as eczema from developing. Even our Southerners can benefit from some of these easy pointers!
OK. The next two pointers you hear often -- because they're important!
Stay Hydrate. No rolling of eyes, please! We always hear this, yet, it's true--and easy to do! We're not talking about guzzling a gallon of water per day--but drinking an extra glass of hydrating liquids would benefit most of us (Sorry, but coffee, soda, and wine don't count)! That was easy! We should do this all year long anyway!
Avoid long, hot showers. We often hear this too, but it's not an old wives' tale. I must admit, this is the most challenging recommendation (for me) to follow. I love hot showers and baths in the winter! I try to make the water more "luke-hot," forcing me to add more cool water. Prolonged exposure to very hot water strips the skin of its healthy oils. So, cooling water down a bit is very helpful!
OK, those are the two suggestions we often hear. Now, for some tips you may not be familiar with...
Stop over-exfoliating your skin with chemical exfoliants. This may seem unusual coming from a skincare product company but most of our exfoliating products have lower percentages of acids and gentler exfoliants. Please note, that I emphasize OVER-exfoliation should be avoided. We're referring to high percentage Glycolic Acid peels and toners (over 8%) that are too often used.
While we do have products with Glycolic Acid--we kept it at low percentages (2-5%). We also like the use of gentler Lactic Acids, Fruit Enzymes, and PHAs. When we over-exfoliate with a high percentage of acids and too often, we can harm our skin barrier, especially if we don't properly care for the skin afterward (with serums full of humectants and moisturizers).
Compromised skin barriers are difficult to reverse and can lead to a cascade of problems--dry, broken, itchy, red, and inflamed skin, to name a few. We think most people can use lower percentages (not more than 5%) of chemical exfoliants consistently 2-3 times per week. Balance is the key.
Avoid Physical Exfoliants such sugar, large-grain salts, walnut, or apricot seed scrubs altogether. These Physical exfoliants are too large causing harm to your skin with micro-tears and inflammation--and they don't accomplish much. Some powders, such as pumpkin and bamboo powders, can act as gentle physical exfoliants because of their much finer texture. Also, using a non-abrasive netted scrubby, thick cotton, or microfiber washcloth with a quality cleanser is the best physical daily exfoliation.
You don't need to lather all of your body skin with soap every single day! "What?", you ask! Of course, washing our private bits, feet, armpits, and upper back every day is essential for good hygiene. Unless you exercise and perspire every day, the rest is occasionally ok with a good rinse with warm water. Use a pH cleansing bar instead of soap.
And speaking of soap--please stop using it! Another "What?" you ask! By its very composition, all soap is alkaline--having high pH levels over 7pH and sometimes as high as 11! This also applies to many liquid shower washes. Our skin has lower pH levels of around 4.7 to 5. High-alkaline pH products are simply not beneficial for your skin as they harshly strip the skin of its "acid mantle" and healthy oils. I preach this often!
So what the heck do we use to cleanse in the shower or our faces? Traditional soap is so--yesterday.
Choosing a cleansing bar (formulated much differently than soap) with a healthy skin-friendly pH of around 5.5 is far preferable (we happen to make one!). Cleansing bars may not look as pretty as traditional soaps but the gentle, velvety, luxurious lather will quickly convince you to make the switch! Our liquid facial cleansers are also pH-balanced for healthy skin. You may also like to discover our Shower Cleansing Oil With Soft Lather
Pat your skin dry; avoid wiping it too dry after your shower. Your skin is craving water (hydration)! Then proceed to the next tip as quickly as possible.
Immediately after patting your skin after showering--apply a great emollient cream to your skin. Arms, legs, torso, feet, everywhere! The sooner it's applied while your skin is still warm and slightly damp, the better. (You may wish to try our After Shower Body Oil, Bakuchiol Body Milk, or Natural Dry Skin Cream for Serious Relief).
Central heating without a humidifier? This is an invisible guilty culprit that dehydrates the skin. A good quality room humidifier is a small investment to improve your skin's health dramatically, and you'll breathe better too!
Sunscreen! Yes, summer's over--but UVA and UVB rays don't stop their damage because it's winter. I'm not in the camp that preaches sunscreen when indoors in the winter--unless you live in a greenhouse (ok, I'm exaggerating). It doesn't hurt to get a little natural Vitamin D from some sunshine. However, please religiously apply sunscreen to skin exposed to the sun, cold air, and winds when you're enjoying outdoor winter activities--be it walking your pet or skiing!
Find some fabulous warm scarves you love! Great gloves and hats too. Not only will you be styling, but you'll be protecting your face, neck, and hands from winter's cold, dry air. If you're a skier or live near the slopes, the ski shops have some of the best neck, head, and hand gear (and they're more fashionably appealing than they used to be).
Consider switching your summer facial skincare to richer, denser creams for your face, neck, and décolletage. And remember to hydrate your skin too! Winter skin simply needs both-- more hydration and emollience. We recommend a "one-two punch" against dry skin. After cleansing, apply your water-based hyaluronic, snow mushroom, PGA, or glycerin serums (for crucial hydration) then follow up with your more emollient creams as quickly as possible.
We just developed a cream with Ectoin + Ceramides to combat not only dry skin but also help fight itchiness, redness, and irritation that comes with a compromised skin barrier.
Even oily facial skin requires extra hydrating and moisturizing. If oily skin becomes dehydrated (yes, oily skin can become dehydrated) and forms dry patches--you're smothering your pores with a layer of dry, dead skin-- making breakouts worse. There are plenty of non-comedogenic creams available that don't cause breakouts (look for Squalane in particular in the ingredient list). We have a wide selection of facial Serums, Creams, and Lotions to please any of your specific skin needs!
Your lips need extra protection in the winter to fight chapping. If you don't have anything but Petrolatum Jelly --use that! It's unfairly maligned, having an undeserved bad rap. It's one of the most occlusive ingredients available to prevent water loss (98% efficient against water loss). Of course, there are natural alternatives that will provide occlusive emollience to our dry, chapped lips! Look for butters in the ingredient list-- Cupuacu is our favorite. Shea and Cocoa Butters are better known. We developed a nourishing, occlusive balm for the areas of our skin needing the most attention--in particular lips (great for cuticles and elbows too).
Wearing a wool sweater is so wonderfully warm. However, it can aggravate or further irritate dry skin. I have a favorite cashmere sweater that drove me crazy, and I found myself scratching my skin every time I wore it. So, even the softest cashmere can be guilty of aggravating skin! Simple solution: avoid wool's direct contact with your skin by adding a cotton/modal T-shirt under the sweater to provide a one-layer separation. Now, you can enjoy your beautiful and warm wool sweater!
It's much easier to Protect your skin from winter's challenges than to Correct already damaged skin!
Prevention today--is better than trying to Repair tomorrow's damaged skin. It's also simpler than a trip to the dermatologist.
Of course, many skin conditions may need a dermatologist's professional attention, no matter how attentive you are! If you are doing everything possible and your skin is still itchy, dry, cracked, or appears to have rashes, don't delay a trip to the dermatologist to help reverse the problem and prevent more damage. You may have a skin condition that requires more professional help than self-care can provide.
You may already know many of these tips and tricks to keep skin hydrated and healthy during the winter. That's wonderful! Then we're just reminding you of how important these are. And maybe there's a tip or two that might be new to you too, and it was well worth the read!
To healthy, happy skin!