by Melissa Chichester
Falling snow, nights spent curled up under a blanket by the crackling fire, hot chocolate…there are many beautiful images that are imagined in the winter. Unfortunately, the blustery and cold weather outdoors can really take a toll on the health and condition of your skin.
While heading inside to get relief from frigid temperatures, heat removes moisture from the air – and from your skin! Hot water does the same thing; it removes the nourishing, natural oils your skin produces, which leads to dryness. If you have a skincare routine that works, you may need to tweak it seasonally, especially during the winter, to ensure your skin stays radiant and hydrated.
Eating healthy fats can help your skin retain moisture and maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Avocado, flaxseed, and fatty fish that contain essential fatty acids all provide skin-boosting nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements may also provide healthy skin support.*
Skin all over the body needs to be moisturized more frequently in the winter, but this is especially true of the hands. Frequent hand washing to avoid germs is necessary; however, it also dries out the skin on the hands, making them look worn out and tired. Applying hand cream after each wash helps restore moisture and avoid dryness. Read about more tips for healthy hands here.
Are you suffering from dry lips? Don’t lick them! Many individuals with cracked and flaky lips lick them, thinking that saliva will add moisture. Unfortunately, water draws out moisture and makes lips even drier. This can lead to painful cracking and peeling. Resist the urge to lick and always keep a lip balm or moisturizing oil (like coconut or Vitamin E oil) nearby to slather on when dryness hits.
For extra-dry skin, an oil-based moisturizer keeps the skin hydrated better and for a longer period of time. Water-based moisturizers are lighter and smart choices for warmer months, but when it’s cold the skin needs something with more heft to stay plump rather than parched. Natural oils like grapeseed, sweet almond oil, and coconut oil can be applied directly to the skin as a moisturizer. Add a couple drops of essential oil, like tea tree or lavender, for further soothing.
If the skin is clogged with contaminants or too many dead skin cells, moisturizer has a difficult time penetrating pores. Using a gentle exfoliant all over the body, face, and lips helps to remove dead skin cells. Sugar works to exfoliate lips, or try this sugar scrub! Exfoliating body washes are also an option, but it is easy to make your own scrub. After exfoliating, follow up your routine with a moisturizer right away.
Reading skincare product labels is revealing about why skin might be dry. Unfortunately, many products are formulated with alcohol, a very drying ingredient that sucks moisture out of pores. Look for creams, serums, and toners that contain replenishing hyaluronic acid or alpha hydroxy acids that gently add moisture back to the skin.