Baby, it’s cold outside! Old Man Winter is creeping in like the morning frost on your windshield, and now’s the perfect time to get proactive about your cold-weather skincare regimen. Leave the flakes to the snow this season — before skin becomes dehydrated, make these simple changes to your daily routine to keep skin merry and bright.
1. Protect from the inside
Maintain a healthy complexion this winter by approaching skin care from the inside out. Did you know that what you put in your body can affect the look and feel of your skin? You can actually protect and nourish skin from the inside with beauty-boosting foods and antioxidant-rich drinks.
Loading up on smoothies and recipes rich in essential fatty acids — from ingredients such as flaxseed, hemp and olive oil — will help lubricate your skin. Drinking green tea, which is loaded with antioxidants, provides anti-inflammatory properties. Whole foods such as blueberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli and avocados are packed with vitamins and deliver anti-aging benefits.
A well-rounded diet, coupled with drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, will help skin glow from the inside out. If you find that drinking a sufficient amount of water is a challenge, try adding sliced citrus fruits for flavor and a bonus boost of vitamin C.
2. Use gentle cleansers
Foaming cleansers, alcohol-based toners and astringents are all designed to strip oil from the skin. The problem with using these products in the winter, though, is that there’s simply less oil available to strip. Your skin naturally produces less oil in the winter months, which is why skin has the tendency to become dry and flaky.
Opt for natural face cleansers, body washes and shampoos that are free of sulfates and surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate. While these kinds of ingredients are typically responsible for lathering action, they also tend to be harsher than natural alternatives and can strip away oils that are essential for proper skin function.
3. Remember to exfoliate
Exfoliation should be a year-round priority, but it’s especially important in winter when dead skin cells tend to build up, resulting in a dry, dull complexion that’s prone to breakouts. Exfoliation is necessary to prevent and restore dry skin. Removing the dead surface cells helps hydrating ingredients from your other products absorb so they can work their magic.
There are exfoliating treatments that work in both a physical and chemical fashion, utilizing ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and enzymes to encourage cell turnover while physical particles slough off dead skin cells, revealing smoother, softer skin and a vibrant complexion.
4. Trust serums for rehydration
Before winter conditions settle in, the addition of a supercharged serum — or two — can infuse life back into dull, dry skin. Serums are highly concentrated formulas designed to address specific concerns, and they can even be layered to address multiple concerns at once. Don’t apply all at once, though; apply one and wait 60 to 90 seconds before applying the next.
When choosing a product, look for a serum that contains hyaluronic acid (HA), specifically in the form of sodium hyaluronate. HA is a naturally occurring molecule found in the human body that attracts and helps to bind water to the skin, making it the ultimate re-hydrator. These potent HA elixirs replenish skin’s natural moisture barrier and help prevent transepidermal water loss (moisture depletion).
5. Condition with multitasking oils
Skin becomes dry all over in the winter months. Ever notice that once the temps start to drop, your moisturizer feels less…moisturizing? Keep every day skin hydrators and conditioners, such as organic coconut oil and argan oil, on hand to use on your whole body.
Coconut oil can be applied everywhere — from split ends to dry cuticles — to help enhance lipid-barrier function and to help return moisture to the skin. Argan oil is a true multitasker, offering everything from hydrating to anti-aging benefits. The super-rich oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (including linoleic acid, an omega-6) and natural tocopherols, offering nourishing, regenerating and protective properties.
Simply massage into face, neck, hands, elbows and really anywhere you need an extra dose of moisture. You can also add a drop or two to cleansers, treatments and creams to boost performance, and a drop in your favorite moisturizer, mask or hair conditioner can aid in hydration. You can even add it to foundation to enhance its glow factor.
Follow this cold-weather strategy, and when Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose, your skin will be prepared!