Cold weather can wreak havoc on your skin, both on the face and body. It can often get dry and flaky and can even crack. Your skin is the barrier that keeps water inside of your body, so when the weather is dry and cold, water evaporates off of the surface faster and a lot easier than in warmer weather. When your skin loses its moisture barrier, its ability to protect itself is weakened. Winter air is drier and humidity is lower. This weather change, coupled with dry indoor temperatures from heaters, can zap a lot of moisture from the skin.
There are adjustments you can make to your daily and nightly skincare regimen to protect your face from the winter weather. Here are 10 tips to help keep your skin healthy and hydrated this winter:
1. Use a gentle cleanser
Even if your skin is oily or acne-prone, cleansers should never be drying. A harsh cleanser can damage the skin’s natural protective barrier, which can be drying and may also make you susceptible to breakouts.
2. Choose a heavier moisturizer
Though they are commonly used, lotions are often not as moisturizing as creams, serums, and oils. Consider using a heavier moisturizer to keep skin properly moisturized during the winter. However, see #3.
3. Beware of using ointments
While you might want to use something heavier than a lotion in winter, you don't want to use an oinment or another product that's extremely thick. These types of products are better suited for the skin on your body. When used on the face, they can often clog pores, which can lead to breakouts.
4. Avoid fragrances
When choosing cleansers and moisturizers, look for ones that don't have added fragrances. They can often irritate and dry the skin.
5. Look for products containing ceramides
Ceramides are fatty substances that can repair and protect your skin’s moisture barrier. Several studies show that ceramides can enhance moisture retention, as well as significantly reduce dryness and flaking.
6. Look for niacinamide
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, which can help build proteins in the skin and lock in moisture to prevent environmental damage. This skin-restoring ingredient also offers other benefits for skin such as the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and dullness. Niacinamide may be listed as “niacin” and “nicotinamide” on product labels.
7. Overnight pampering
When your skin is extra dry, you can add oil to your nightly skin care regimen. Mix a couple drops of oil with your moisturizer for an extra boost of moisture before bedtime. Rose oil and rose hip oil are nice options for the face because they are a little lighter than other oils and better for someone who is more prone to acne.
8. Exfoliate, but less than usual
Dry, dead skin builds up much faster in the winter months. Removing dead skin keeps your skin underneath looking refreshed and vibrant. Exfoliating will help speed up the skin’s regeneration and allow better penetration of your skin care products. However, exfoliate less than you would normally, because your skin barrier is a little bit compromised due to the dryness and the cold weather.
9. Use a humidifier
The heating indoors dries the air, which can dry out your skin. Using a humidifier can help to add moisture back into the air and keep your skin from drying out.
10. Take fish oil
Essential fatty acids from fish and other sources help prevent dry skin and premature skin aging. They help to create a barrier to protect the skin against the elements, helping your skin retain its moisture in the winter.
How do you care for your winter skin? Share your tips in the comments section, below.