Saving Face, Yours, in Winter
By Caitlin Brown
Winter, with its cold temperatures, brisk winds, low humidity, and dry heat (thanks to our heaters), can wreak havoc on our skin, drying it out and causing flare ups of unsavory conditions like eczema, inflammation.
This winter, with the perpetual use of hand sanitizers, constant handwashing, and indoor quarantining, conditions like hand dermatitis and psoriasis have arisen.
Luckily, there are products out there to address our own unique skin maladies. Whether you are battling acne or trying to soothe ultra-dryness, we’ve got you covered.
The key word to aid winter skin is moisture. The products we need most are the ones that deliver it and protect our skin barrier (it gets thinner in the winter) from the elements.
Here are some tips and products to save face.
Get a Humidifier
One way to combat that indoor dryness is to use a humidifier in the bedroom at night, and in other rooms where you spend a lot of time during the day. By increasing the humidity of the air in your environment, your skin will lose less moisture.
(Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier)
Limit Hot Showers
Avoid spending too much time in a hot shower, as it can dry out your skin. Instead, try to take lukewarm showers once a day and use gentle soaps.
Moisturize When Skin Is Still Damp
That goes for your face and body. Immediately after you bathe or wash your face, apply lotions and creams to lock in moisture. You may need heavier ones in the winter than you do during the warmer months, and you may need to apply more often. I like to use a body oil first to amplify moisture, and the delicious scent and texture doesn’t hurt.
My favorites are Osea Undaria Algae Body Oil and Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm, both $48 and available at www.oseamalibu.com.
In terms of soap, I always opt for pharmacy brand Ceravé, a dermatologist favorite and easy on the bank aacount. Heavy in skin barrier-friendly ceramides, the body cream and cleanser are great, too.
Look for Skincare with Ceramides
Ceramide-containing products help prevent too much water from evaporating from the skin. They help keep skin hydrated by sealing in moisture, which can help the skin appear smooth and plump and even out fine lines. Most importantly though, ceramide-rich products protect our skin barrier in the winter months, which is super important.
Best of the Body Creams
When I’m super dry, and on especially chilly days, my go-to is FabAid Ultra Repair Cream. It includes colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and allantoin to relieve itching and irritation, moisturize, and soothe quickly, and it does.
(First Aid Beauty, FabAid Ultra Repair Cream, $36, www.sephora.com)
Go Easy on the Acids and Retinols
Use caution with any potentially drying or irritating ingredients such as alcohol, clay, hydroxy acids, and retinoids or retinols. Proper formulations and usage of ingredients like hydroxy acids and retinols can be helpful, depending on your skin, but you may need to decrease the strength, amount, or frequency, and combine with more moisturizers. These types of ingredients are likely found in your favorite skin care products, so maybe give those a rest and opt for more hydrating treatments that won’t dry you out. To note: I still use retinol, but I amp up my moisturizer and face oils to counter it in winter.
No Need to Exfoliate Daily
I said this before, and I’ll say it again: go easy on exfoliators (chemical: acids and physical, scrubs, or a combo of the two). Once or twice a week is enough. Your skin is more vulnerable in the winter months and you need to treat it gently. While clearing dead skin is important for absorption of moisture, if you do it every day it will cause more harm than good.
The Big Hydrator
Hyaluronic acid is an important ingredient to have around in the winter because it’s a humectant that needs to be used along with other components in your routine to retain water content.
Add a few drops of hyaluronic acid 2% + B5 ($6.80; www.sephora.com) to your moisturizer and treat your face.
Try using a face oil to seal in moisture, especially overnight. A favorite of mine is Biossance Squalene + Tee Tree Balancing Oil ($49, www.sephora.com). It’s light and super hydrating, and leaves skin dewy and fresh feeling. Another favorite, Tata Harper Retinoic Face Oil ($132, www.tataharperskincare.com), smells amazing and feels like a total indulgence.
First Aid Beauty has a great one packed with calming and soothing: aloe, allantoin, and glycerin (First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser, $22, www.sephora.com). My go-to is Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk with moisture-friendly jojoba and almond oils, which work to reduce redness and calm the skin ($39, www.drhuschka.com).
Not only does it stave off colds in winter months, but Vitamin C is also a skin saver. It hydrates and nourishes skin, especially when used along with hyaluronic acid, something that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It also happens to be a powerful antioxidant and a natural anti-inflammatory, which when applied topically, can reduce pore size, as well as help soothe acne and other dry/red skin conditions that flare up this time of year. Lastly, but no less importantly, it brightens skin and boosts collagen production. What’s not to love?
I use a serum with Vitamin C under my moisturizer. There are so many out there, but my favorite is Maelove’s The Glow Serum ($28). It’s a gem!
Don’t wait until you’re suffering from dry, cracked lips to purposefully add lip care into your routine. Grab a few lip moisturizers for your nightstand and to stash in your bag and car. My go-to has a pink tint that morphs to your own coloring (Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint in bare pink, $38, www.bobbibrown.com). Another good one with a cult following is Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15 ($24, www.sephora.com).
Protect that canvas of yours. You’ve only got one. In the meantime, stay healthy and hydrated, beauties. Until next time.