With temperatures dipping into the 30’s and wind chill on the rise, now is the perfect time to revamp your skincare routine to prepare for the cold winter months ahead. Dry air and heavy winds equal a catastrophic combo for your skin, making it more prone to cracks, irritation, and redness. From heavy moisturizing to choosing the right diet, here are some tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing until the sun peeks out again.
#1 Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
I can’t say it enough, the key to healthy skin during winter months is to choose a great moisturizer and use it often. While lotions may cut it during the other seasons, winter demands a thicker emollient. Think of something with the consistency of Vaseline (hint: these products tend to come in jars rather than tubes!). Though this may feel greasy, moisturizing ointments tend to retain moisture in the skin much longer than lotions. Consider investing in a humidifier for your bedroom as well, so that your skin can stay nice and hydrated even as you sleep.
#2 Change up your skincare routine.
We’ve covered moisturizer above, and the same goes for your face – invest in a thicker night cream like Clinique Repairwear for winter to add to your nighttime routine. Because the wind and dry air makes skin more chapped and red, stay away from any products containing dehydrating agents such as alcohol or witch hazel. Set aside your harsh exfoliators and toners this season and reach for your gentle face scrubs and moisturizing oils instead.
#3 Protect yourself against UVA/UVB.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that because it’s not sunny, UVA/UVB rays aren’t making their way to your skin. That is absolutely wrong! UVA rays, which cause photoaging (think wrinkles and sunspots), and UVB rays, which cause mutations in the skin that put you at risk for developing skin cancer, are present even on overcast days.
We recommend using a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or above like Shiseido’s Urban Environment Protector. It’s never too early to prevent aging and to protect yourself against skin cancer, and you should make sunscreen application part of your everyday morning routine before leaving the house.
#4 Hydrate through your diet.
About half of our body as adult women are made up of good ol’ H2O. In the dry winter months when wind chill and heaters are dehydrating your skin at every turn, you want to be extra sure that you’re drinking enough water. Other excellent sources of water to boost your skin’s hydration include vegetables such as cucumbers and celery or fruit such as watermelon or strawberries.
#5 Practice shower smarts.
I love a good hot shower on a cold day just as much as the next person, but hot water wreaks havoc on the skin. The hotter the water, the more evaporation occurs, and the drier your skin becomes. If you have particularly dry itchy skin, consider showering every other day or switching to moisturizing soaps containing shea butter or other types of emollients. When you step out of the shower, pat dry instead of rubbing with a towel, which may irritate your skin. And don’t forget to lather on your emollients within 5 minutes of stepping out of the shower! Putting on your creams shortly after showering ensures that you lock in all that moisture, preventing cracks, wrinkles, and redness.
Here’s to keeping our skin healthy this winter!
Dr. Joyce Park is a dermatology resident who blogs about science-backed health and beauty at teawithmd. She loves all things related to skin, journalism, and puppies.