It’s that time of the season that brings to all redness, irritation, inflammation and sheer discomfort. Making people miserable and leaving them running to the medicine cabinet for relief, this seasonal scrooge is real post-holiday downer. So I bet you’re thinking that I’m talking about our new national epidemic, the flu. Sadly in addition to the horrific flu we are also combating parched, sensitized winter skin. Affecting all skin types (dry and oily, all ages (young and old), in all regions (Cali to New York), this condition is brought on by the drier, colder temps that rob skin of moisture only to be further exacerbated by indoor heating which deplete skin of whatever remaining sense of hydration there may be. Of course we cannot be helpless to this circumstances out of our control…
Five Ways to Nurture and Rehabilitate Winter Skin:
1. STOP what you are doing! You may not realize this but your daily cleanser, moisturizer or treatment product is probably formulated with exfoliating acids, cellular turnover boosting actives like retinols or even contain exfoliating beads all of which are irritating culprits that further strip sensitized skin and disrupt your skin’s natural protective barrier. Your skin needs a serious hiatus from these aggravating agents so you need to stop cold turkey. When it comes to the products you use think creamy, oily and gentle. Swap out your cleanser for Cetaphil’s gentle cleanser for starters and put down the cleansing devices! Your skin’s best friend is your hands not a brush!
2. QUENCH skin! Your new best friend is hyaluronic acid. With the capability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water, this miracle molecule works quickly to replenish dehydrated skin in a continuous, all-day manner. Look for serums or moisturizers rich in hyaluronic acid like Peter Thomas Roth VIZ-1000 75% Hyaluronic Acid Complex. If you end up with a serum texture layer it under your moisturizer, foundation or even the facial oil leading me to my next point…
3. OIL it up! There’s nothing more replenishing or soothing than a true facial oil. Since your skin is primarily composed of lipids, or oils, these gentle formulations mimic skin’s building blocks and help to fill in any foundational gaps. Apply 4-5 drops on a clean face morning and night and/or you can mix a few drops in your foundation or moisturizer for added hydration. Just make sure to look at the ingredient list of the product to ensure that it is a true facial oil (all the ingredients should say oil), avoid anything with silicones (it’s not a real oil then!) and fragrances (too irritating!). My favorite facial is RODIN olio lusso – Luxury Face Oil.
4. OIL IT UP MORE! I know… this is like forgetting everything you believed in as a pimply teenager, but oils are your best friend. Especially if you have dry, scaly, irritated skin. Besides topically applying oils it is important to replenish from the inside out by ingesting foods and supplements rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods like avocado, salmon and even almonds are packed with moisturizing omegas or sprinkle your oatmeal, yogurt and fresh berries with flaxseed which is a known source of fatty acids.
5. GENTLY exfoliate! Yes I told you to stop exfoliating your skin off but after two or three days of following point one through four your skin will be ready to slough off the outer dead cells that are giving you the flaky appearance. Using a washcloth wet with lukewarm water apply the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and gently exfoliate skin in small circular motions. Directly after apply your facial oil to lock in the moisture.
Usage tip: Hot water is not your best friend if you have dry skin so skip long hot showers and baths and try to wash your face with lukewarm or cool water. Drinking water (hot or not!) is your best friend so make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
The result: Winterproof skin! Bye bye redness, irritation and dryness!