Protect the Skin You’re In
In the summer months we are obsessed with our skin. Special attention is paid to using sunscreen, moisturizing, and doubling up on our water intake. Come winter we seem to forget about skin care. Maybe it’s because a good percentage of our skin is under wraps with all those layers? Ironically, winter is precisely the time our skin needs protection from low-temperatures, gusty winds, and dry heat. Luckily by following a few suggestions, your skin can not only survive, but thrive, until it’s well anticipated unveiling come spring!
Brighten up. Winter skin can lose its luster because of dry, flaky skin brought on by the cold. Reveal brighter, younger skin by using a glycolic cleanser. More gentle to your skin than grainy exfoliants; a glycolic cleanser will minimize fine lines and prevent break outs, while improving texture and tone. Another bonus is that your moisturizer will be absorbed more easily into the skin. One cleanser to try: Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser.
Dial down. Although it can be tempting (especially on a very cold day) to raise the water temperature in the shower or tub, resist the urge. Hot water is dehydrating to the skin, so opt for warm water instead. On those days when you are lucky enough to luxuriate in a bath, consider adding colloidal oatmeal (oatmeal ground to a fine powder) to moisturize your skin and reduce any itching caused by dry skin. (You can buy packaged colloidal oatmeal or, for those who are so inclined, make your own by grinding oatmeal in blender or coffee grinder.)
Don’t skip sunscreen. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, the sun can be just as damaging in the winter months, especially when reflected off snow. Ultraviolet rays can cause discoloration, dryness, and eventually wrinkles. And, who knew you can be exposed to UVA rays under florescent lighting? Foundations with SPF are not enough, especially since most of us apply such a thin layer. Make sure to use 15-30 SPF sunscreen every day on your face and hands.
Opt for oil. So many of us spend most of our waking existence trying to be ‘shine-free,’ but the reality is that our skin needs oil in the cold weather. During winter months, switch to a cream or oil based moisturizer and foundation. For the rest of your body, try adding a small amount of baby oil to your body moisturizer for a more emollient look and feel. In addition, oils added to your diet or taken in tablet form can help nourish the skin from the inside out and balance or augment the skin’s natural oil production. Look for flaxseed or grape seed oils, which are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pucker up. To avoid cracking, keep a soothing lip balm handy in your purse; try a sugar scrub to remove dry cells; and do not lick your lips. Our favorite lip fix? Sugar Lip Treatment by Fresh.
Handle it. Whether you’re holding hands with your sweetie or shaking hands with a colleague, pay special attention to this often-neglected body part. Re-apply moisturizer several times a day – and don’t forget to rub it into your cuticles.
Remember to drink plenty of water and choose to “eat clean and green.” (Broccoli is particularly packed with skin-boosting ingredients like vitamins A, C, and natural estrogens.) Try get as close to the recommended eight hours of sleep as best you can. If your Monday-Friday schedule does not permit, catch a few extra zzzz’s come the weekend. Your skin will thank you for it!