Winter is filled with holiday celebrations, time spent with loved ones, and cooler weather throughout most of the country. But while the winter temps may provide a nice break from the heat, the sometimes drastic and sudden changes in humidity and temperature can be detrimental to your skin. It’s important, then, that you make a few adjustments to your skin-care routine to keep your skin healthy all winter long.
How the weather affects the skin
When the seasons change, the temperature and humidity in the atmosphere rise or fall. We can often clearly see how this increase or decrease in temperature and humidity affects the environment, but it also has an impact on the health of your skin. For example, warmer weather with higher humidity can lead to oilier skin than normal, and cooler weather with lower humidity can make your skin drier than usual. This cool, dry air in the winter months is what causes dry, irritated, and inflamed skin that can then flake and crack. So to keep your skin from feeling irritated all winter long, give these tips a try.
Use a gentle cleanser
It’s always important to regularly wash your face and any facial hair since it will remove toxins that build up and cause excess irritation and breakouts. However, in the winter, you’ll want to avoid cleansers with harsh, drying chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide, alcohol, sulfates, and fragrances. Instead, look for cleansers with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and salicylic acid (though salicylic acid can be irritating in large quantities, so use it in moderation). Cleansers with these ingredients will gently clean the skin and keep it healthy without drying it out excessively. However, everyone’s skin is different, so ask your dermatologist to help you find the best winter-friendly cleanser for you.
Exfoliate when you need to
Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, helping your face to appear smooth and clear. But, even though you might think you need more exfoliation in the colder months, you’ll actually want to scale back on it since you run the risk of overexfoliating, which can cause irritation and redness.
There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. With physical exfoliation, you use an abrasive substance to physically remove the dead skin cells from your face and body. On the other hand, chemical exfoliants contain an acid, such as glycolic or salicylic acid, that removes any dead skin cells. Because this process isn’t abrasive, it’s the safer option for exfoliating your skin in the winter. For dry skin, dermatologists recommend exfoliating a maximum of two times a week to help remove the outer layer of dried-out skin and keep dead skin cells from building up and clogging pores.
Keep your skin hydrated
It’s important to keep your skin hydrated throughout the year, but because the drier and colder weather can strip your skin of its much-needed moisture, you might have to work a little harder to keep it hydrated in the winter months. Hydration begins from the inside out, so your first step to combating dry skin is to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Beyond your internal hydration, your skin might require more moisturizing, so you’ll want to reach for cream moisturizers in the winter. Aquaphor is a holy grail for your face, lips, hands, elbows, and anywhere else you might need additional hydration in the colder months. It is dermatologist recommended for dry skin and contains healing ingredients like glycerin, which locks moisture in, and bisabolol, which helps soothe skin. As the last step to keep your skin moisturized, you’ll need to apply beard oil to any facial hair to help properly hydrate both your hair and the skin beneath it.
Lower the temperature
With the weather being colder, it makes sense that you may want to raise the inside temperature and take hotter showers. However, that’s a surefire way to dry your skin out more. When you wash your face or body with hot water, you’re stripping it of its essential oils and moisture. This can damage the surface of your skin, which in turn can lead to increased inflammation and exacerbate certain skin conditions. It’s instead recommended that you use lukewarm water in the winter to clean your skin so that you don’t cause any more harm to it.
With just a few simple adjustments to your daily skin-care routine, you can keep your skin looking healthy all winter long.