6 Ways to Winterize Your Skin
Maybe if our skin was our car, we’d pay more attention to the change of the seasons. To help ensure our vehicles make it through the winter safely and with minimal damage, we maintain them. We ensure that they are protected with the correct fluids, rust proofed, and have tires for all the conditions. We take note of what’s happening weather-wise and adjust our driving to fit the situation.
When it comes to our skin, we often just slide from one season into another without any change of routine and wonder why our skin is breaking out, itchy or raw.
If we want our skin to look and feel its best year-round, we need to note seasonal differences and adjust accordingly.
Here are 6 ways you can winterize your skin:
1. Moisturize Inside and Out!
Choose moisturizers that are designed for drier, winter skin. Look for products that contain a combination of humectant and occlusive ingredients.
Humectants attract and hold the moisture found in our body and in the air around us. Lactic acid, urea and glycerin are examples of well-known topical humectants. Skincare products that feature these ingredients are lighter in texture. They are excellent light moisturizers for ‘summer skin’ that survives in a more humid environment. However, when your skin is already dry, or you spend extended time periods with indoor heating, humectants can make skin even drier by drawing too much moisture from the body. Humectants should move way down on the ingredient list as winter approaches. Dry skin and dry indoor heat are too often part and partial to the winter season.
Occlusive ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum and triglycerides are heavier, they trap water in the skin. Occlusive products act as a barrier on the surface of the skin and trap the moisture in. In the summer they can feel heavy on the skin. In the winter they soothe skin that has become dry and rough. Choosing winter moisturizers that include occlusive ingredients helps to ensure that winter skin maintains its moisture.
2. Cool It in The Bath
It can be tempting to do after a cold day on the slopes, but immersing ourselves in a hot bath or shower can strip our skin of its protective oils. Turn down the temp a bit. Remembering to moisturize immediately after cleansing, while skin is still damp, will help protect your skin from ‘winter itch’. Use a heavy cream or lotion containing occlusive ingredients.
3. Eat Well
Eating well in the winter can be a challenge. Comfort foods like mac and cheese and hearty, stews can be hard to resist. Unfortunately, they aren’t always complimented by all the fruits and vegetables that we need to keep our skin looking its best.
An article in Prevention Magazine points to a British study that found that “…people who ate the most green and yellow vegetables (up to 250 grams; one large pepper is about 190 grams) had fewer wrinkles, especially in the crow’s feet area, compared to those who at the least amount (69 grams a day).”
Winter is often a time when we hunker down indoors getting little sun and eating foods devoid of many of the necessary vitamins and minerals. Consider supplementing with quality made products to maintain or boost your health.
Nothing can beat the anti-oxidant power of a Vitamin C Serum to supply badly needed antioxidants to the skin, but there are two other supplements that you may want to consider adding to your winter skin arsenal.
Those living in northern climes, should pay particular attention to their vitamin D levels in the winter. With sun exposure limited it the winter, Vitamin D is almost a no-brainer if you are ‘living’ inside this winter. Deficiencies have consequences beyond healthy skin. Data for a Canadian Health Measures Survey showed that the majority (85%) of Canadians who took a supplement containing vitamin D were above the level considered sufficient for healthy bones. Those that did not take a supplement were below sufficient levels (59%). Unfortunately, only 34% of the overall Canadian population reported supplementing with vitamin D.
Omega-3 is well documented as supporting healthy hair and skin but there are an increasing number of studies that are showing positive results relating to Omega 3 intake and depression. Supplementing with Omega 3, particularly during the winter months, could help your skin radiate from the inside out. When you are happy inside, your skin is happier too.
Don’t let the water bottle that was your constant companion in the summer get lost in the back of the cupboard. Hydrating is more important than ever in the winter. Skin loves water, our cells are made of the stuff! Dry winter winds outside, and dry heat inside, take their toll on our skin. Remember to monitor your water intake. To counter indoor dryness, consider purchasing a humidifier to help control water loss from skin.
6. Apply Sunblock Year Round
Nothing feels better than the sun on our face in the winter. Fifteen to twenty minutes a day of sunshine on our skin is generally recommended for lighter skin types. Beyond that it’s back in the sun damage zone and time to apply the sunblock.
When it comes to sun protection in the winter, it’s particularly important for outdoor enthusiasts to consider their surroundings. Ski hills, for example, are higher and closer to the sun. UV radiation increases by about 10-12 % for every 1000-meter increase in altitude. Sunburns, often partnered with windburn, can occur quickly and with a vengeance. Snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. That means that areas not normally exposed, like underneath the chin and the tip of the nostrils, can be burned.
Change of season, change of skin routine. Simple steps equal big results.