Changing your skin care habits for winter is just as important. Winter strips skin of moisture continuously! Parched skin can feel dry and itchy, looking dull and sallow and put a damper on your winter festivities.
Here are 5 reasons why you need to change your skin care routine for the winter
Low humidity leads to dry, cracked skin
Humidity levels take a huge plunge in winter. The cold air outside and indoor heat suck moisture from the outer layers of your skin. This leaves your skin dry and rough, even causing the occasional breakout. Your skin needs adequate hydration to stay supple and comfortable and this cannot be more important than in winter.
What to do: Keep a humidifier around and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Use winter creams and hydration creams that have moisture locking ingredients. Protect skin well when walking outside with hats, gloves and scarves. Keep a little thermal mist handy and spray away during those long days at work.
Hot showers dehydrate skin
A long, hot shower can feel wonderful on a cold day. But hot water affects the outer layer of skin (known as Stratum Corneum), pulling moisture and depleting natural oils from your skin’s surface. When compromised, this outer layer of skin will feel dry and tight. It might even crack and cause redness or irritation for those with sensitive skin.
What to do: Take lukewarm showers instead. Moisturize skin while still damp to lock the moisture in and you’ll notice an immediate difference in all-day comfort.
Ignoring winter sun causes premature aging
A common misconception about sun and skin is that UV protection is most essential in the summer. This could not be further from the truth. UV rays are made up of UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA rays are responsible for extrinsic skin aging (or Photoaging) that show up as sun spots/ brown spots and wrinkles. It can even trigger some forms of cancer. UVA rays are just as strong in winter as they are in the summer regardless of where you live on the planet. And if that’s not enough, snow reflects about 80% of UV.
What to do: Protect yourself. Use sunblock in winter just as you would in the summer. If you’re planning on winter sports – make sure you take your sun block with you and reapply frequently.
Soap and hand sanitizers can leave you dry and itchy
Your skin is slightly acidic (~pH of 5.5). There’s a good reason for this: Most harmful bacteria thrive in an alkaline (pH > 7) environment. By staying acidic, our skin keeps us safe from bacterial invasion. This acidic pH also helps keep moisture in. Soaps and sanitizers are highly alkaline and harsh on skin. They affect skin’s pH resulting in moisture loss, dryness and irritation. This is even worse in winter when low humidity exacerbates skin’s sensitivity to harsh, irritating cleansing agents. Many people with eczema or psoriasis find their condition worsen in winter after a shower for this reason.
What to do: Avoid sanitizers if you can or at least take it down a notch and moisturize very soon after with gentle, highly emollient hand or body creams. Use gentle cleansing milks or oil based cleansers on your face.
Skipping exfoliation in winter makes skin dull and flaky
Exfoliation helps slough away older, dead skin cells to reveal young skin beneath. In winter, low humidity dries out the surface of your skin faster, leading to more dead skin cells that need to be removed. Dead skin cells limit the benefits of your moisturizer because they form a layer that keeps your moisturizer from being absorbed completely and delivering nutrients and moisture to the active surface cells. Skipping the exfoliation process in winter can result in dull or sallow complexion.
What to do: Exfoliate regularly in winter. Use a scrub, exfoliating mask or even an exfoliating brush. If you have sensitive skin, opt for gentle exfoliators like apricot shells or gentle peels. Moisturize immediately afterward with a great moisture locking cream like Subtle Green’s Intense Hydration.