Freezing temperatures. High winds. Dry indoor air. It goes without saying that these harsh winter variables do not exactly provide us with an ideal recipe for dewy, glowy skin. Keeping our skin looking and feeling good this time of year requires a little (or a lot...) of extra TLC. If you're someone who tends to battle dry, irritated skin all winter long we've got a few tips that will certainly help.
1. Hydrate and up those EFA's
Every skin care routine should start from the inside out. After all – our skin is our body's largest organ. It's the body's first line of defense against the outside world, it helps regulate our body temperature, contains nerves that are in constant communication with our brain, and even produces important hormones and Vitamin D. Yet it's easy to forget all that it does for us. In order for the skin to be well hydrated, our body has to be well hydrated too. This means drinking plenty of water, and also ingesting enough essential fatty acids. Aim for several liters of water per day, and be sure to eat plenty of healthy plant-based fat sources like cold-pressed oils, avocados, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and raw nut butter. Not only will water and EFAs help keep our skin happy and hydrated all winter long, but those two things are also vital for our detoxification processes, healthy nerve function, and also help keep inflammation at bay. Be conscious of caffeine consumption. It's easy to lean on things like coffee to give us an energy boost during the winter, but caffeine is also a well-known diuretic. If you do drink coffee, be sure to drink extra water to help compensate for what your body is flushing out.
2. Cover up
The best way to keep the skin from being stripped of all moisture when outdoors is to cover up. Most of us have experienced dry, red, chapped skin from being outdoors without the proper protection, especially on areas that tend to be the most exposed like the hands and face. Make sure to put on a hat, gloves, and/or a scarf when you go outside. Your skin will thank you every time.
3. Pick up a serum (or two!)
Serums are concentrated skin elixirs that are used to target very specific concerns and issues within the skin. They're an excellent way to give the skin TLC when it needs the extra support. During the winter, when the air is typically cold and dry, it is important to be using products that help do two important things: bind water to the skin yet also seal in the moisture with lipids (oils). Harsh winter weather can easily zap vital moisture from the skin, and damage the skin's barrier function. By using a water-based serum with humectants (water-binding agents), followed by an oil-based serum, or an oil-rich moisturizer or balm, this really helps create an important seal which inhibits dehydration and minimizes irritation. Try an oil-rich serum infused with hemp CBD extract for added anti-inflammatory benefits. You'll be plumped up, glowing, and hydrated in no time.
4. Give up the suds
While many of us correlate soap suds with cleanliness, those soapy bubbles may actually be doing more harm than good. If your skin tends to be dry and more sensitive during the winter, try swapping out your normal gel or foaming cleanser for a cleansing cream, oil, or balm. These products work to cleanse the skin by breaking down the excess oils, makeup, and the day's dirt and grime through emulsification instead of soap. They are generally less stripping, more pH balanced, and more gentle. A great option for winter.
5. Take advantage of the night
During the winter, the nighttime can become a very important time to restore balance and hydration within the skin while you're not out braving the elements. We have more control over our climate indoors. We can use a humidifier to add more moisture to the air, and can also use products while we sleep to help calm the skin and prepare it for battle, i.e the next (cold and dry) day ahead. The skin goes through deeper healing processes while we sleep, making it an ideal time to layer on the serums, thicker moisturizers, and sleep masks so that we wake up glowing and rejuvenated.
6. Cool it down
This tip may not be well received if you tend to live for long, hot showers, but hear us out. One of the worst enemies of dry skin is hot water. Not only does it damage the lipid barrier, which may already be in a delicate state during the winter, it also has a tendency of increasing redness and inflammation, two symptoms that are typically already exasperated by cold, dry winter air. You don't have to give up taking your favorite soul-nurturing, restorative baths. That would be cruel. Just be mindful to use only warm water to cleanse the face, never hot. And if you do take a hot bath try adding some coconut oil or argan oil to the water, and always apply a moisturizer, oil, or balm afterward.