The snowflakes and the snowball fight, the holidays and Hallmark cards on a white Christmas. There are many things we love about winter. Some of us even love the natural glow on our faces this time of the year that makes you feel a tad bit more attractive. However, an extreme winter can cause more than just a rosy glow on the cheeks and leave you with a dry and flaky skin. People with sensitive skins may also experience breakage and sore spots. Typically, it is the change in temperature from the bitter cold outside to the heat inside the house or a building is what causes the dryness of the skin.
This is the time of the year when our skin needs that extra bit of pampering. Here we have a few tips and your easy guide to get you through the next winter with a healthy skin and a sparkly glow on your face.
- Oil up or Moisturize with an oil-based skin care product: People tend to suffer from dry skin in the wintertime. Applying oil or an oil-based moisturizer supports skin and doesn’t block natural sebum production. Water-based moisturizers are good during summer, but once again when the temperatures are plummeting, your skin craves for something more. You may try Coconut oil, jojoba oil ,sesame oil, and shea and cocoa butters depending on how much moisture you need. Some other natural oils that are becoming popular today are avocado, almond, primrose, olive, sesame, sunflower, or mineral oils. Contrary to what some of us believe, it will NOT make your skin more oily. Applying right after a warm shower and let it absorb, this will lock in the moisture and forms a protective barrier that helps keep the skin soft and healthy looking.
- Exfoliate: It might seem like exfoliating during the cold season is going to be too harsh on your skin but trust us, it is critical to continue regular exfoliating because your skin cells will not stop their cycle of getting rid of dead cells. Your face will continue to accumulate grime after a long day that will render your moisturizer useless if you don’t get rid of it first.
You don’t always need harsh detergents to clean and cleanse your skin. While you want to clean your face and body when you wash, you also don’t want to strip the naturally protective oils (sebum) from your skin. Sulfates (a component of soap that makes them foam up) are also known to remove sebum from your skin. You can use a gentle foam cleanser instead of the microbeads variety if you feel your skin needs a delicate touch. Use milk-based and other mild, deep-hydrating products and try to avoid alcohol-based cleansers, peels, or masks as much as possible.
- Cover up and use sunscreen: Just because it is winter does not mean that the sun has stopped shining. This is the time when you may actually need your sunscreen even more. Snow and ice form solid surfaces that reflect sunlight, also called snow glare. This unique phenomenon can cause sunburn if you are exposed to it for a long time. Experts recommend using a high-SPF sunscreen on any exposed area (particularly the face) about 30 minutes before going outdoors. Cover-ups are easy to do. The temperatures will already remind you to layer up before you step out but be aware that these clothes are not just to protect your overall health, but also your skin. There are very few sebaceous glands on your hands. This makes it more vulnerable and susceptible to cold and dryness. Moisturize your hands prior and keep them covered to maintain the soft touch. Thus your gloves, scarf, hat or muffler can be your best friend. A scarf will protect your neck and face from the biting cold. A hat, such as one with ear flaps, will keep your head warm and protect your forehead, temples, and ears.
- Avoid long and hot baths: As tempting as it is, don’t indulge yourself in a super warm bath too often. While it may comfort you and feel good on your bones and body for the rest of the night, but it can also do a number on your skin. Very hot water can break the lipids in the skin, stripping them of its natural moisture. The longer you soak in that hot bath, the more likely you are to find yourself in this situation. It is better to take lukewarm baths instead, and maintaining your bath sessions to be short.
- Drink more water: Goes against your instincts for the cold and winter days when your body may forget to remind you to replenish your fluids, but staying hydrated is equally important if not more when colder temperatures set in. Needless to say, the key to hydrated skin comes from the inside. Ideally, water should be consumed at room temperature or warmer. If at all you are feeling dehydrated or realized you haven’t had your aqua for hours at a stretch, you can even consider adding a pinch of salt, which will help, your body absorb it more effectively. Having said that, it is equally important to go easy on salt as part of your diet. If you normally eat salty foods you can knock your salt balance off, which can cause also dehydration (and soon after, stressed skin). So remember there is always a balance and moderation to watch out and be ready to cut back if needed.
- Go easy on your caffeinated intake: Yes we all love our morning coffee, more so when it’s biting cold. However, coffee and non-herbal teas contain high amounts of caffeine, a natural diuretic, which can dry out your skin. As much as you can, choose herbal teas, decaf coffee or plain water to keep as hydrated as possible and your skin is bound to improve.
- Bring out those humidifiers: Central heating systems that are our lifelines during winter times, typically pump hot, dry air leaving your skin can dry. An easy solution to that is supplementing your homes or main living spaces with a humidifier. These do a great job in increasing moisture content in the air, which directly reflects on the health of your skin.