Here we are, knee deep in the grasp of winter’s cold hands, and while the gray skies and dropping temperatures might be taking a toll on your otherwise sunny disposition, I’m willing to bet that your skin is suffering the consequences as well. This is the time of year when you can step outside to get a shockingly refreshing blast of cold air. It gives you a nice rosy glow, doesn’t it? The problem is that the pink flush on your cheeks has nothing to do with a vibrant glow, but more likely the result of dry, chapped skin.
As we round out the last (hopefully) weeks of winter, you might discover that the health of your skin is suddenly taking a nosedive. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. You start out the winter with healthy, glowing skin and as cooler temperatures approach you make special efforts to protect your skin as much as possible. However, after months of cold, dry air, not to mention the overindulgence, stress, and lack of sleep that accompanies the extended holiday season, your skin is probably ready for some serious TLC.
When you think of dry, winter skin there might just be one or two problem areas that come to mind. However, the drying effects of the season can take a toll on your skin health from head to toe. You want to look and feel your best once spring gets here, so start with a complete evaluation of some of your skin’s most vulnerable areas. Here are some of the most common wintery woes.
- Dry scalp and dandruff
- Dry, flakey eyebrows
- Flakey eye lids
- Red, irritated eyes
- Dry facial skin
- Red nose
- Chapped cheeks
- Chapped lips
- Dry hands
- Damage cuticles
- Brittle nails
- Thick, calloused feet
You can probably add more of your own winter skin issues to list. Now is the time to treat your winter skin before we head into yet another seasonal change. If you feel like you are fighting a losing battle, don’t despair. There is plenty that you can do to naturally bring your skin back to a state of vibrant health.
Get Glowing Skin From the Inside Out
If you want healthy, wintertime skin the first thing you need to do is nurture it with nutrition. The time between November and February is filled with reasons to overindulge and let common sense about nutrition slide. Now is the time to get back on track.
- Stay hydrated. It really doesn’t matter if you love being outdoors during the winter months or if you hate the cold so much that you can practically consider yourself a shut-in. Cold air dehydrates your skin, but so does turning up your thermostat. You can help combat this effect by drinking more water. If the taste of plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding fresh fruit or herbs to your water. There are also practically unlimited flavors of water flavoring products available. Some even contain extra B vitamins, which can provide a boost of energy for when the shortened winter days leave you feeling a little lethargic.
- Vitamin C. Foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruit and dark leafy greens, are especially important this time of year. Vitamin C helps to stimulate collagen production, which is vital for healthy, supple skin.
- Healthy Fats. Fat isn’t always your enemy, especially when it is the kind found in nutritious foods such as avocados, salmon, walnuts or olive oil. These fats help to support the elastin in your skin and promote proper skin hydration.
- Avoid the bad guys. Sugar, salt, saturated fats, caffeine, and alcohol can all deplete your natural defenses and one of the first places it is going to show is your skin. You don’t need to eliminate them altogether, although it might be a good idea to do a little bit of a detox after the holidays, but practice moderation. Caffeine and certain alcoholic drinks, such as wine, can actually have positive health benefits as long as they are enjoyed occasionally.
It All About Face
One of the first places you are likely to notice the harsh effects of winter weather is on your face. This is because the delicate skin of this area is commonly exposed to more wintery elements than the rest of your body. Here are a few tips to keep your face vibrant and naturally healthy all winter long.
- Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean that you can shun the sunscreen. This is the time of year that many of us neglect this important aspect of skin care. Ultraviolet rays still make their way through even on the grayest of winter days. Sunscreens such as OZNaturals Age Defying Moisturizing and Tinted Sunscreen itself can serve as a double agent, both protecting and moisturizing at the same time.
- Cleanse Gently. Now is the time when you need to be treating your skin as gentle as possible, and that includes choosing a cleanser that has no harsh ingredients. Avoid cleansers that contain sulfates, alcohol and added fragrances, all of which can further irritate fragile winter skin. Choose cleansers that are rich in healing ingredients such as vitamin C and antioxidants such as our Vitamin C Cleanser.
- Rub it Off. The best way to remove old dry skin is by using a gentle exfoliant. Keep in mind the word “gentle”. You don’t want anything too harsh or abrasive, which can make dry skin worse. Enzyme exfoliants are also good choices for this time of year. Although it might be tempting to exfoliate daily, that will only cause more havoc for your skin. You only need to exfoliate once or twice a week at the most. Try our Ancient Orient Dermafoliant in the shower and see the difference it can make.
- Put on a Mask. Even if your skin isn’t normally dry, now is a great time to experiment with a hydrating facial mask like our Vitamin C + Sea Hydration Mask to give your skin an extra moisture boost. Equally important, cover up as much of your face as possible when you go outside, especially in windy or extremely cold conditions. Wear a hat that covers your forehead and wrap a scarf around as much of your lower face as possible when you head out.
- A high-quality moisturizer is absolutely essential during the winter months. Choose one based on your skin type and look for natural ingredients that will help protect and support your skin. Moisturizers and serums that contain hyaluronic acid are excellent choices for winter skin care. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to one thousand times its weight in water, meaning it will hold in moisture and plump up dry, dehydrated skin almost instantly.
Daily Habits for Healthy Winter Skin
While your face deserves center attention this time of year, it is also important to remember that your skin is an organ that covers your entire body and you should focus on keeping it healthy from head to toe. Here are some great tips for glowing wintertime skin.
- Turn down the heat. I love coming into a nice, warm cozy house after being outside. However, turning the heat up too high is a sure way to rob your skin of essential moisture. Grab a sweater and a nice cozy blanket and turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Also, as luxurious as they might seem, hot showers are actually catastrophic for winter skin. Just a few minutes in a steaming hot shower will strip important oils from your skin. Keep your water temperature at a comfortable warm and don’t spend more than ten to fifteen minutes in your shower or bath. Treat yourself with a luxurious, natural vegetable based body oil right after you get out.
- Moisturize your scalp. Try rubbing a little bit of vitamin E or olive oil into your scalp about fifteen minutes before you shower. Just a little bit is all you need to treat and prevent dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.
- Brush your lips. Take a dry toothbrush and gently brush it over your lips once every day or two. This will help to slough off dry, damaged skin. Follow up with a light coat of olive or coconut oil to moisturize. When you step out, don’t forget to apply a moisturizing lip care product that contains sunscreen to protect you from the cold, wind and sun all at the same time.
- Go natural or fragrance-free. This is the time of year when your skin is naturally more vulnerable to irritation. You might find that the products that you use and love for most of the year just further irritate your skin care issue right now. Put them away for a few months in favor of gentler, natural and fragrance-free If you absolutely need scent, try using a little diluted essential oil. Switch to fragrance free laundry detergent for clean clothes without the irritation.
- Use a humidifier. Every home should have one of these. A humidifier adds moisture back into the air, which helpa prevent dry skin and irritation. A humidifier will also help moisturize your nasal cavities and calm wintertime allergies.
- Wear rubber gloves. Slap on a pair of gloves every time that you do housework, especially for tasks that involve harsh cleansers. Rubber gloves are also great if you find yourself needing to do dishes by hand. Even the most moisturizing of dish detergents can further irritate dry, winter hands.
- Bring extras. Always have an extra pair of socks and gloves on you. Walking around wearing cold, wet layers of clothing is a sure way to irritate your skin. Wet hands and feet can become itchy and cracked. Fight off these issues before they even begin by keeping nice, dry spares with you at all times.
- Pamper your hands and feet. Dry hands and feet, along with ragged cuticles are telltale signs of a long winter. Slather a rich moisturizer or natural coconut oil onto your hands and feet every night at bedtime. Take extra care to rub the moisturizer into your cuticles and nails. Then cover your hands and feet with cotton socks and gloves. Peel them off in the morning to reveal velvety soft skin. For tough, calloused skin on your feet, use a pumice at least once a week or gently rub a skin cleansing pad containing salicylic acid over the calloused areas before moisturizing to help soften the dead skin tissue.
- End the day with a good night’s sleep. There is nothing as restorative as a good night’s sleep for your entire body. When you are entrenched in luxurious slumber is when your body is hard at work repairing damage and renewing itself. Make sleep a priority for health that is more than skin deep.
Winter skin can be beautiful skin when you take just a few precautions and pamper yourself as much as you deserve to be. Don’t let the bleakness of the gray days of winter dampen your natural beauty. Spring really is right around the corner and you want to look and feel your best to embrace the beauty and renewal that comes with it.