Winter is a challenge for the skin. The wind, snow, cold air, indoor heating and even clothing are hard on skin and can dry it out. How can you care for your skin? Why is your skin drier in winter? How can you protect and hydrate it? Find out how to adapt your beauty routine to winter!
Beautiful wintertime skin 101
To have beautiful skin all winter long, you first have to understand how the skin works. So here we go!
Better understand how the skin works
The skin is a natural shield protecting the body from outside irritants. It is our biggest organ and the only one that’s exposed to the elements.
Although many people only see its aesthetic side, the skin plays many roles. It protects us from the outside world and keeps us balanced by hydrating our body and by absorbing sunshine to produce vitamin D. It also is a major source of elimination since a large quantity of toxins are released every day via the skin (by sweating). Some even say that the skin is our third kidney. But, actually, the skin plays a big role in absorption. So, all this means it’s really very important to pay special attention to the quality of the products and substances we put on our skin since they quickly find their way into the blood.
Why does my skin dry out faster in winter?
The skins works much harder in winter to keep our body at the right temperature. Wide variations between indoor and outdoor temperatures tend to accelerate the evaporation of the natural moisture contained in the body’s hydrolipidic film. In winter, this film is unable to produce enough sebum to be an effective barrier from the outside world. And this can have unpleasant effects, like sensitive skin, rashes, dehydration, etc.
Winter skin problems to watch for
Here are a few of the most common wintertime skin problems:
- Chapped lips: The lips are the most sensitive part of the face and often the first indication of dry skin. As soon as the weather gets cold and dry, care for your lips with a natural product (preservatives in commercial lip balms can be irritants and actually have the opposite effect from the one you want).
- Rashes and stretched, dry and itchy skin: The skin suddenly loses its moisture and sebum, becoming even drier. Everyone’s skin doesn’t react the same in winter, but most of us notice our skin getting sensitive and very dry, which can cause irritation and itching.
- Dry hands: Is the skin on your hands dry (even very, very dry)? The primary culprits are over-washing and chemical soaps that dry out the skin.
- Dandruff: Extreme winter temperatures also irritate and dehydrate your scalp. Do you have more dandruff than usual or maybe your scalp itches? Don’t worry! It’s normal. Try hydrating shampoos and conditioners that match the pH of your hair.
Hydrating your skin in winter: Six good habits to adopt!
HABIT NO. 1: Hydrate your skin only when needed. A stretched skin feeling, a little “crocodile effect” or itchiness? Take out your cream and get hydrated! But, unlike rumour would have it, you don’t need to slather yourself with cream if you don’t feel the need. As they say: too much is like not enough!
HABIT NO. 2: Change your soap. Dry wintertime skin can be caused by irritating soaps and shower gels. They tend to remove the skin’s sebum and natural protectors. Instead, opt for soothing, nourishing gels for sensitive skin. Unsure about an ingredient? Look it up in the Skin Deep database on the Environmental Working Group website.
HABIT NO. 3: Humidify your home. Are you wondering how to hydrate and protect your skin in winter? Make sure the humidity levels in your home are spot on. Heating really dries out the ambient air, causing dry and stretched skin. To set things straight, use a humidifier or leave your laundry out to dry on a rack.
HABIT NO. 4: Drink more water. To hydrate the skin, we can also work from inside out by drinking at least 1.5 litres of water every day.
HABIT NO. 5: Adapt your diet. You give your skin an extra boost when you eat a diet rich in antioxidants (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.) and omega-3 (avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.).
HABIT NO. 6: Apply a rich cream as soon as symptoms appear. If your skin feels stretched or itchy, don’t wait another minute. Apply your favourite nourishing or soothing cream right away. What effect will it have? The lipids in the cream will form a protective barrier on your skin that retains water and reduces evaporation.
All these little daily habits remind us to always adapt our beauty routine to the seasons and get to know our skin and its needs. We should also double our vigilance when it comes to the ingredients in the products we use every day, since they have a direct impact on our health and comfort. We hope these tricks will help you make healthier better choices and, especially, keep your skin moist and healthy this winter!