Moisture within the skin maintains the skin’s elasticity and firmness. As the temperatures drop in winter, the cold air cannot hold as much water and consequently has low humidity levels. This forces the skin to give up its moisture to the atmosphere causing dry skin. This process continues indoors as well because of central heating where the already dry outside air is warmed, removing any remaining humidity and further stealing valuable moisture from our skin. As your skin loses moisture, cell turnover slows down, it feels tighter, appears dull and wrinkles become more obvious.
Here are a few tips to get you through this winter.
- Don't wash more than once a day. The hot water and soap strips the protective oils causing dry skin. You need these oils to protect your skin against the cold, windy air outside and heated, dried out air inside.
- A morning serum with antioxidant should be part of your routine year round to protect your skin from the free radicals created by pollution as well as the sun. There are hundreds of antioxidants to pick from but those with the most evidence to support their skin benefits are vitamins C, E, and B3 (niacinamide). These three antioxidants have small molecular weights, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface, making topical application effective. Apply to naked skin first thing in the AM.
- Protect dry skin with a barrier moisturizer, like RESTORE Face Cream. The thicker, the better. Look for products made with oils like jojoba or castor seed for their protective and emollient qualities and humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid that can pull water back to your skin.
- Wear your sunscreen even when it is freezing, UVA and UVB are still getting to earth and to your skin. Zinc oxide provides broad spectrum protection from the sun and physical protection from the elements, coat it on!
- Cover chapped lips with RESTORE Healing Balm all day long to protect them and prevent further water loss.
- Wear a scarf for added protection for your neck and face from the elements.
- Cut back on the active ingredients in your skin care regimen. When your skin is dried out, the skin barrier does not work as well so the active ingredients will penetrate better. The good news is you don't need as much, the bad news is the risk of irritation increases. So if you typically can use your retinol nightly, you may find that you need to decrease that to every other night to prevent peeling or irritation. The same thing applies with exfoliation, AHA, BHA, glycolic acid etc.
- Layer up the moisturizer at night. I use pure RESTORE Healing Balm on my lips and eyelid skin and mix it 50/50 with my RESTORE Face Cream to protect, heal and hydrate my skin as I sleep.
- Dry and irritated skin? Give it a moisture surge treatment by coating with RESTORE Healing Balm then covering it with a sheet mask for 30 minutes before bed. This same trick works for other dried-out or cracked skin, cuticles, nails or hair. Use the Healing Balm on your hands and cuticles before bed and sleep in the Sephora or Bliss silicon lined gloves. Use the Healing Balm on your heels before bed and sleep in socks. Use the Healing Balm on your split ends before bed, wash out in the AM.
- If you suffer from redness, a quick and easy trick for taking the redness out for 2-4 hours is a few drops of Visine to each cheek. This will vasoconstrict superficial blood vessel hiding the red. Follow with a thick moisturizer then make up per usual.
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Meet the author: Board-certified and practicing dermatologist, Dr. Heather D. Rogers, MD, is the founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care and Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. She studied at Stanford, University of Washington School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. She lectures nationally, is well published, and an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Highly respected among the skin care community, Dr. Rogers has been annually named “Top 1% of Most Honored Doctors in the US” by Castle Connolly.