In the dead of winter, the combination of moving in and out of heated buildings and wind chills outdoors take a toll on everyone’s skin. Static electricity also spikes, which makes your hair and clothing a mess. And to make it worse, if you catch a bad cold or the flu, your nose and lips can get irritated or cracked easily from the amount of medication or tissues you go through. There are a few quick and easy ways to combat dry skin, especially to ensure you are taking proper care of your body’s largest organ.
Even if you have oilier skin, there are certain ingredients in products that will exacerbate drier conditions and throw skin out of balance. During winter, it’s wise to switch up your daily routine from gel cleansers or topical drying agents (benzoyl peroxide, for example) to creamier formulas if your skin seems flaky or irritated. Unfortunately, no amount of makeup can easily cover up cracked or irritated skin – and in most cases can irritate it further. Maintaining moisture balance within your skin is one of the key ways to not only stay healthy (your skin blocks germs and bacteria from entering your body) but also a means to keep skin looking youthful. Skin that lacks moisture balance has telltale signs; lines and wrinkles, uneven tone and texture, loss of elasticity, flaking or cracking, and redness or irritation. Skin can also experience breakouts if the moisture barrier in the epidermis is out of balance.
I recommend switching to a creamier cleanser, such as CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser, as it helps to remove impurities and makeup, but contains ceramides to help maintain skin’s natural moisture barrier. A tip for use: use a makeup remover wipe or micellar water to pre-cleanse, then apply cleanser generously. Rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry. Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap is also fantastic to use head to toe, as it moisturizes yet thoroughly cleanses. I do recommend using witch hazel as a toner after cleansing, as it helps soothe any irritation.
After cleansing and toning, apply a rich moisturizer that is suitable for any skin type: First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream. This moisturizer absorbs easily, but will not make combination or oilier skin feel greasy. It calms redness and irritation, and can be layered to build hydration for severely dry skin. Plus, you can use it head to toe! It is also safe for several skin issues, including treating eczema.
For cracked skin, one of my favorite treatments is Altchek MD’s Doctor’s Skin Remedy balm. This is amazing for lips, cuticles, hands, tips of nose, or any where skin feels severely dry. It also helps tame flyaways at your hairline, and smooth down unruly brows. I keep a tube in my handbag from September through May, since the Midwest is known for crazy weather conditions and it’s an awesome multi-purpose skincare product.
One other great treatment to incorporate into your routine is a facial mist. One of my favorites is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, which contains brightening, hydrating and anti-aging antioxidant ingredients. The brand is known for incorporating polyphenols from grapes into it’s skincare line, which fight aging. This can be misted onto skin at any time, sets makeup, and is especially great at night – layer it underneath your moisturizer and wake up to glowing skin. Head’s up to guys too – this feels great and soothing to the face after shaving.
If you are especially dry, I do recommend taking a cue right from your kitchen and applying either organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil onto clean skin. Both oils mimic skin’s own natural sebum, and are readily absorbed to heal. I recommend using them at night, since makeup will tend to slide right off skin if applied over the oils.
For acne sufferers, you may want to give benzoyl peroxides a break if skin is extremely red or irritated. Salicylic acid acne treatments are easier on the skin, and do not dry out the skin a much as benzoyl peroxide can. Clean & Clear makes a great spot treatment, with 2% Salicylic acid, which is considered a very effective strength.
Since we have more weeks of winter left, it’s crucial to make sure you take care of your skin. Not only will it help keep you healthier, it will make your transition into spring and warmer weather that much easier. Each of these products are unisex, and so I encourage everyone to take some time to care for themselves a bit more – you’ll feel more comfortable and confident even when the weather outside is frightful.
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