The winter chill can wreak havoc on your skin’s moisture levels. But there are things you can do to keep your skin looking and feeling its best throughout the colder months.
1. Keep carrying that water bottle
Your thirst response isn’t as active in winter, so despite the fact that you lose a significant amount of fluid when you breathe cold air, and dry indoor heating will leach moisture from your skin, you’re less inclined to sip water throughout the day. Try to drink as much water as you do on a hot day to keep your cells, and skin, well hydrated.
2. Cool it with the hot showers
While it might feel delightful on a chilly morning, a long, hot, soapy shower will strip away your skin’s natural oils like dish liquid on a greasy plate. Try to keep the temperature mild, and don’t stand under the stream for longer than you need to get yourself fresh.
“Apart from drinking plenty of water, wearing sunscreen is probably the single most important thing you can do for your skin in winter.”
3. Understand your moisturiser
Despite what you may think, lotion works to lock in moisture, not provide it. Most are a blend of water and emollients, which work by slowing the rate at which water evaporates from your skin. Moisturiser works best on slightly damp skin, so it has something to lock in. Which brings us to the next point…
4. Moisturise straight out of the shower
You have about three minutes after you wash your face or take a shower before the moisture boost from the water evaporates. So keep lotion somewhere handy to remind you to lather it on while your skin is still slightly damp. For your face, applying a light facial oil or serum before your moisturiser will give your skin an extra boost.
5. Prevent skin build up
Cell turnover is slower in winter, which means dead skin can build up on your face and body. Not only can this make you flake and itch, but it may also make your skin look dull. Plus it acts as a barrier between any oils or moisturisers you apply, making them less effective. So aim to exfoliate your body with a loofah or simple sugar scrub (white or raw sugar and water) 2 to 3 times a week. For your face, use a gentle facial scrub, handheld face brush, or liquid exfoliant (such as an AHA lotion).
6. Add some mist to your life
Indoor heating and lower air humidity make it very hard for your skin to stay hydrated. Humidifiers inject moisture back into the air, and are very simple to use. And according to recent studies, increasing the humidity of a room can reduce the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections. You can buy a tabletop humidifier, or place a few bowls of distilled water around your bedroom as you sleep.
7. Wear sunscreen
Apart from drinking plenty of water, this is probably the single most important thing you can do for your skin in winter. Even though the sun may not feel as strong, damaging UV rays are still hitting your exposed skin, reducing ceramide levels and preventing skin from holding onto moisture. Apply a lotion with an SPF of at least 30+ every day.
Written by Kasia Kaczmarek