Ah, winter. Tis the season of cold, crisp air, shorter days, and muted tones. Also the days of every window in your charming New York apartment propped open to compensate for a seemingly possessed radiator.
Just about everywhere, it's a drier season and that means we should make a few small tweaks to keep our skin happy through the months ahead.
Here's our top nine tips:
Hydrate inside and out. The winter season has a notoriously drying effect on the skin and just about everyone needs significantly more hydration in their routine than they did in summer. This is true inside and out, as we also tend to reach for a warming, comforting cups of tea or coffee far more in colder weather without thinking about the dehydrating effects.
Beyond richer moisturizers, feed your skin nourishing nutrients. To a lesser extreme, winter for your skin is akin to being on a plane most of the day for months on end. Yeesh. Spending a lot more time indoors and in circulated air can really zap the life and radiance out of skin. Not only do you need extra moisture, but your skin needs extra nourishment from fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. Be sure that what you put on it each day goes beyond just being non-stripping and less drying, but also truly offers a nourishing boost.
A little massage goes a long way in winter. The skin especially needs movement, stimulation, and exercise during winter. Facial massage exists to do just this. It helps deeply warm the skin, keeps healthy circulation and cell oxygenation going, helps keep toxins on their way (think holiday celebration aftermath), and tones the muscles to keep you supple and lifted. Between your pro treatments, you can help with this by just making sure you take 30 seconds to breathe deep and massage your moisturizer into the skin rather than just spreading it on.
Keep wearing sun protection - seriously! Sunscreen is not a seasonal skincare product, it's a 365-days-a-year, rain-or-shine part of your routine if you're conscious of your skin health and at all concerned about how your skin will age. UVA (think ‘A’ for ‘aging’) rays are present any day the sun comes up, whether it's shining brightly or not. They move through cloud cover, office windows, and they also penetrate your skin deeply and do to your skin what a puppy might do to your couch while you're away. Sunscreen is hugely important all year round.
Try creamier or gentle gel cleansers in winter. No matter your skin type, the cleanser you use in summer will probably not perform optimally for your skin in winter. Moving to a creamy cleanser or a very gentle gel cleanser to not strip as much of your natural oil is the first step to saving your skin from common winter dryness woes.
Oils and balms live up to the hype. Facial oils and balms receive a lot of praise for being magical because of their game-changing effect on all skin types in cold weather. This is one bit of skincare chatter you can take to heart – these are both medicine cabinet and layering essentials.
Make time for a weekly hydrating mask. Hydrating facial masks offer a deep dose of moisture when you're feeling particularly dry, flaky, or itchy. When it’s freezing on a weekend morning, stay inside and make this a ritual. You can do just about anything around the apartment while masking.
Give your lips some exfoliating and hydrating TLC. Look for lip balms and treatments with real, nourishing plant oils and seed butters like softening mango and cocoa butter or protective shea. If you're out in the elements, a protective barrier is key. Look to skin-safe, classic waxes like carnuba or beeswax. Many lip balms are petrolatum (petroleum jelly) based. Know that petrolatum products do seal your lips, but can actually dry lips over time if the skin below them isn't hydrated to start.
Get a humidifer! Dry building heat have you parched in the morning? Your skin sympathizes with how your throat and hands probably feel. A cool mist humidifier can do wonders for keeping water loss from wrecking the moisture balance in your skin.