Saving Your Skin from Winter

12 Dec

Protect your skin!

Protect your skin!

As fall fades into winter, you may notice some painful skin changes taking place.  The skin is the largest organ in the body and it deserves just as much TLC as you give your (fill in favorite body part here).  As the weather gets colder, the water in the outermost layers of the skin begins to evaporate into the drier air of winter, this causes the skin dry up and get very itchy, scaly, and flaky.  It can even become painful and crack and bleed.  So just how do you keep your skin silky smooth instead of having a fish ask you for its scales back?

Eliminate the superhot (and long) baths/showers

It may feel wonderfully luxurious to thaw out in a nice hot bath after a cold day on the slopes, but resist the temptation.  Superhot water zaps moisture out of your skin leaving it drier than before.  Keep the temperature lukewarm and keep the baths and showers sub-20 (preferably 10 or less on most days).  If your skin has gotten to the point where it’s itchy and painful; a short, lukewarm bath with oatmeal can help to soothe irritated skin.

Check your body wash

If you haven’t already, now would be the time to switch a moisturizing body wash/bar and chuck that ultra-drying bar soap!  I love Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash with Nutriummoisture and Dove Winter Care Body Wash with Nutriummoisture.

clarisonic_mia_sephora_holiday_setExfoliate

While it may sound counter-intuitive, it’s more important now than ever to exfoliate.  Winter slows down the turnover of your skin cells and exfoliation helps to slough off that dead skin to make way for the new skin.  Everyone’s skin types vary, but do a whole body exfoliation at least once a week in the shower (I don’t have a particular favorite).  For my face, I use my Clarisonic Mia every night with my face wash and use an exfoliating scrub once or twice a week.  I love my Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

Eucerin makes great products, that don't leave you greasy

Eucerin makes great products, that don’t leave you greasy

You should already be in the habit of slathering on some moisturizer every time you get out of the shower, but in the winter, a lightweight lotion just might not do it.  During the winter, I switch to a heavier lotion or a cream if I get really dry. Right after I get out of my shower, I quick towel off and then use moisturizer on my whole body.  After a shower, especially after an exfoliation, your skin is the most receptive to moisturizers.

I always keep lotion in my desk at work, but during the winter, I switch out my light and fragrant lotions for a heavy-duty workhorse.  I try to use it as often as I can remember.  My favorite lotions?  Hands down, I get the best results with Eucerin and most of their products don’t leave a greasy feeling on my skin.

TLC for your Face

I'm a huge fan of Kate Somerville products, I only wish they weren't so pricey

I’m a huge fan of Kate Somerville products, I only wish they weren’t so pricey

Since most people’s faces do not mesh well with general body lotions, I thought it’d be important to address the face separately.  Everyone has their own routines, so I suggest that you stick with what you know. But sometimes your skin, especially mine, needs a different routine in the winter months.  Below is my winter skin care routine, which varies little from my summer routine, except for the fact that I use heavier creams and gels in place of light-weight, oil-free lotions.

AM:

Wash with a gentle cleanser (I use Kate Somerville’s Gentle Daily Wash)

I then use a facial serum to retain more moisture (love Kate Somerville’s Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Face Serum)

I follow-up the serum with an oil-free moisturizer, I find that if I don’t use oil-free in the morning, by 2pm I look like an oil slick.  I prefer Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Moisture SPF 15

PM:

Remove make-up, if applicable (an oft-overlooked step, but vital).  I use Neutrogena’s oil-free make up remover.

Cleanse with Kate Somerville’s Gentle Daily Wash in conjunction with Clarisonic Mia.

Once or twice a week, I cleanse sans Mia, but follow up with an exfoliating treatment. I prefer Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle.

philosophy is another favorite

philosophy is another favorite

Two or three times a week, as long as my skin’s not too dry, I will use an alcohol-free, gentle toner, such as Neutrogena’s alcohol-free toner.

I will then use whatever treatments I feel I need (anti-aging, anti-oxidant serums, acne, eye cream, etc.)

I finish by using an ultra-hydrating moisturizer (creams or gels are more effective in winter than lotions because they’re thicker). I tend to mix this one up and rotate between philosophy and Kate Somerville lines: philosophy’s take a deep breath, keep the peace, or hope in a jar and Kate Somerville’s Oil Free Moisturizer or Goat Milk Cream.

Block the Rays

Sunscreen is not just for the summer.  Winter rays can be just as intense if not more so with reflection off the snow, and since people generally forget about sunscreen if it’s below 60, winter’s sun can cause a lot of damage to your skin. Continue to use at least SPF 15 on your entire body and SPF 30 for your face.  You should be able to find lotion that has SPF built in, so it’s one less step to think about.

Mitten the Mitts

Treat your hands right!

Treat your hands right!

It’s so important to treat your hands well during the winter.  You ask a lot of them and they can dry out very quickly.  I keep a hand cream with me at all times (Eucerin’s Intensive Repair Extra-Enriched Hand Creme is a favorite) and I use it multiple times a day.

Wear gloves! Every time you head out into the cold, make sure you’re wearing gloves, this helps your hands from losing precious moisture.

Splurge on a paraffin wax treatment during a manicure session a few times this winter.  Your hands will thank you!

A friend recently suggested that before going to sleep, you should slather yours hands in a super-rich Shea Butter cream, then slip on gloves and hit the hay.  I haven’t tried it yet, but she swears by it.  She says you feel funny (and a bit “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”) at first, but then you get used to it and it does wonders for your hands.

Invest in a humidifier

A humidifier will replace some of the humidity that is no longer in the air.  I have one and love it.  I highly recommend the Air-O-Swiss AOS 7147 Ultrasonic Humidifier – Warm and Cool Mist.

Hydrate, but not for your skin

The age old myths is that drinking lots of water keeps your skin glowing, but that has long since been debunked.  However, drinking water does wonders for your general health, so continue to drink your 8 glasses (or more) a day!

Stay Active

Stay active, even when it gets cold

Stay active, even when it gets cold

By getting regular moderate to vigorous exercise, you improve your blood circulation and keep fresh, oxygenated blood pumping through your entire body and this includes your skin.

Hopefully, by using these tips you’ll be able to save your skin this winter and prevent that awful scratching and flaky.  What are you favorite skin saving techniques for winter? Share below or tweet me @LindseyKate228.

Keep on sweating!

***I received no incentives for endorsements of the products featured in this blog post. I paid full price for them and support them on my blog because they work for me, but you may find your skin reacts differently to them!***

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