Old man winter and I don’t exactly get along. I’m currently writing this blog post in a snowy North Carolina ski lodge and I’m scared to look in the mirror to find out what the slopes have done to my skin. Thankfully, I know a few things about how to get around dry skin during the winter months.
Turn down the water temperature
One of the biggest mistakes people make in winter months is showering or washing their face with super hot water. As tempting as it is to relax in a steaming hot shower, the temperature can actually aggravate your skin and disrupt its natural oils, ultimately drying it out more than cold weather itself.
Keep the door closed
One way to control your urge for excessively hot water is to keep the room as warm as possible by trapping the steam in. This helps your whole body feel warm, rather than just where the water is hitting.
Another piece of shower and face washing advice is to limit the time your skin is in contact with water. The longer water is on your skin, the more it strips your natural oils. This would explain how sometimes when you get out of the shower or wash your face, your face feels really tight afterward if you haven’t applied moisturizer. Which brings me to my next point…
Moisturize ASAP. Applying moisturizer helps lock in all the water your skin has been soaking up. Before both feet are on the floor getting out of the shower, you better have a bottle of lotion in your hands. I find it helpful to keep my lotion right next to my shower or on the edge of the tub. This way I’ll have a visual reminder and remember to do it. My current favorites right now are Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream by Glossier and the pink De-Stress Blend by Nip + Fab.
Balance your skins pH
Once again: water is not your friend during winter. Let’s take a mental detour to your elementary school science class: water (in theory) should have a pH of 7 which makes it neutral—neither an acid or a base. Your skin however, is slightly acidic, sitting somewhere around a pH of 5.5. Prolonged exposure to water and harsh soaps actually raises your skins pH. Therefore, you should always apply a topical pH balancing product to restore your skin’s natural pH. Rosewater is a great option since it has the same pH as your skin, and pure aloe vera gel (not the bright green one in the sun block aisle) has a pH between 4.5 and 5.5
Get out the eye cream
The skin surrounding your eyes is one of the most delicate and sensitive areas. You should pay special attention to it in winter, because it can get dried out or even chapped (yikes!). Dry, tight skin around the eyes encourages wrinkles down the road. Also, no one wants flaky eyelids. Ew.
Invest in a humidifier
Humidifiers can be life changing, especially if you live in a dry climate. Put a humidifier by your bed at night to alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, brittle hair, dry eyes, and even nasal dryness from allergies and colds. I ordered this one on Amazon about a year ago, and I absolutely love it
Chapstick, chapstick, chapstick
Like your eyes, your lips are easily irritated by cold weather. Be sure to regularly use a moisturizing chapstick, a nourishing oil like coconut, or even petroleum jelly. It’s important to apply during the day, but it’s even more important to apply one of these at night so your skin can regenerate while you sleep. It’s also smart to keep a chapstick in your purse, car, backpack, etc. so you’ll have one whenever you need it.
Lock in your hand lotion while you sleep
My hands get really dry in the winter, and sometimes even crack and bleed. It’s not fun. A trick I found to prevent this is to slather on hand cream and sleep in fuzzy gloves. This keeps the lotion on your hands and off your pillows, face, sheets, etc. I love O’Keeffe’s Working Hands hand cream. I’m pretty sure it’s for farmers or mechanics, but whatever. My dad uses it too, and it’s awesome.
Apply makeup primer
I’ve stressed the importance of makeup primer a lot on my blog, but this is especially true if you use mineral powder makeup in the winter. I use BareMinerals powder foundation because it doesn’t make me break out like most liquid foundations. The only downside is that applying powder sometimes makes dry, flaky skin look even worse by making it peel or stand up. Once again, ew.
Try out a new facial oil
Moisturizers are great, but your skin can’t always absorb all the nutrients. Facial oils are even better because they sink into the skin, absorbing quickly and also helping to stop your skin from producing too much oil. If you have acne, do some research to find one that’s non-comedogenic like fragrance-free safflower or sunflower oil (don’t get the high oleic versions), and always do a spot test!
Back off on the acne treatments
It can be really difficult to cut back on your beloved salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide treatments. However, even though they fight acne-causing bacteria, these chemicals can really dry out your skin, and you know what else causes acne? Dry, dead skin. Try using your acne treatments every other night, and applying a soothing moisturizer on the nights in between.
Did you know exfoliation is hands down the best solution to acne? That’s why we live in a world of face scrubs, salicylic acid washes, lactic acid serums, Clarisonic cleansing devices, and facial peels. It’s important to exfoliate regularly throughout the year. However, in the colder months you should limit your scrubs or chemical exfoliants to once a day. I’ve had luck doing my lactic acid serum in the morning, and my heavy moisturizing at night.
I hope these little tips can give you some relief as we trudge on through the cold months and snow storms. If you have any other skin care tricks you use to keep your skin happy and healthy, I’d love to know in the comments below!