Harsh, freezing weather outside - and dry conditions inside - it's time to implement an evening skin care routine to protect skin from the ravages of winter.
Cold winds, freezing temperatures, and dry indoor heating can cause skin to become dehydrated and irritated. After enduring harsh winter weather, your skin needs more than a good night’s sleep. Rejuvenate your skin by changing up your evening skin care routine.
Cleanse your face every evening to remove makeup, pollution, sweat, and excess oil. Even if you don’t wear makeup, bacteria and dirt collect on your face during the day and gather on your pillow at night.
During the winter months, swap your regular cleanser for a milk-based or foaming cleanser—one that is more hydrating and doesn’t contain harsh detergents, which can strip the skin of moisture.
“We need to be gentler with our skin in the winter,” says dermatologist Frances Jang, MD. Look for products with natural ingredients, avoiding chemical additives and preservatives.
“Fragrance is the number one skin irritant found in cosmetic products, so make sure that anything that touches your skin is fragrance free,” says naturopath Aileen Lim-Trotter, who specializes in dermatology.
Follow up with a heavier evening moisturizer to rehydrate the skin. “We need to be cautious that skin isn’t getting overly dry,” says Jang, who recommends shopping for a moisturizer containing peptides, which encourage collagen growth, as well as an antioxidant to neutralize any sun damage your skin has endured during the day.
Care for the eyes
The sensitive skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin on our bodies, which is why it’s the first to show signs of aging. “Use a heavier eye creme in the winter months, preferably one containing peptides and antioxidants,” says Jang. While retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is said to boost collagen, “it should be used with caution as it can be very drying on the skin,” she says.
Cut back on aggressive treatments such as exfoliation and microdermabrasion during the winter months when skin is most sensitive. Jang recommends reducing exfoliation to no more than once or twice a week.
Use hydrating masks instead of clay-based masks, which tend to draw moisture out of the face. If your skin is very dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, as these can strip oil from your skin.
Don’t forget arms and legs
Your face isn’t the only area that needs tender love and care during the winter months. Cold winds, lack of humidity, dry indoor heating, and hot showers can quickly strip moisture from your skin.
Lotions rich in almond oil, olive oil, and calendula help soothe the skin, while natural butters derived from cocoa and mango encourage hydration. “If you like your existing moisturizer but just need an extra boost, try layering a few drops of olive oil on top of your moisturizer,” says Lim-Trotter.
Jang recommends a body moisturizer containing 10 percent urea, a super-hydrating compound that aids in the synthesis of protein and has antibacterial and antiviral qualities.
Ceramide is another ingredient to look for, especially for individuals suffering from eczema, a condition that can worsen in the winter months. “Ceramide can be very helpful in re-establishing the normal barrier to the skin,” says Jang.
Pamper your hands and feet
Although feet are protected by socks during the winter months, this doesn’t mean we can ignore them. Once or twice a week, rub your toes and heels with lotion containing 12 percent lactic acid to help get rid of dry skin.
Moisturize hands with a heavy-duty hand creme such as shea butter. While using these cremes during the day can leave a greasy residue on your keyboard, using them before sleep allows plenty of time for them to absorb into your skin, leaving your hands soft and moist when you wake. a
Feed your skin
Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin C and antioxidants during the winter months not only helps protect you from catching the cold and flu, but also gives your skin the vitamins it needs. “Antioxidants such as vitamins C and B complex help to boost collagen production and keep your skin looking radiant,” says Lim-Trotter.
Moisturize skin from the inside out with healthy oils such as flaxseed, extra-virgin olive, fish, and coconut. Incorporate herbal teas, soups, and broths into your diet to stay hydrated.
5 tips to protect skin
Harsh winter conditions create special challenges for our skin. Follow these tips to protect your skin from the elements.
1. Moisturize after showering
Hot showers can strip away the skin’s hydration. “Not moisturizing immediately after showering will encourage your skin’s moisture to quickly evaporate into the dry air,” says Lim-Trotter.
2. Don’t forget the SPF
“UVA levels are almost the same throughout the course of the year,” says Jang. Use a moisturizer containing SPF every day, even in the winter, especially if you’re going skiing or you spend a lot of time outdoors.
3. Don’t overindulge
Think twice about eating that extra Nanaimo bar or drinking an extra glass of wine. “The winter is a festive time, which means there’s a chance you’ll be staying up late and often indulging in alcohol and high sugar foods, both of which can decrease the health of your skin,” says Lim-Trotter.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep is your body’s chance to repair and rejuvenate itself after a hard day. Make sure you get seven to eight hours of beauty sleep every night.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. Staying fit all year round not only boosts your immunity, decreasing your chance of getting sick, but also improves circulation to your skin, keeping wrinkles at bay.