If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times: "but I drink a ton of water." Yes, water is good for your overall health and "the skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from fluids. But the average person's skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk," Kenneth Bielinski, MD, a dermatologist in Oak Lawn, Ill., "It's a very common misconception."
Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. There's not a lot left for the surface of your skin. And so we must compensate with topicals.
Winter air is drier and humidity is lower. As winter temperatures fall and the air gets drier, your skin pays the price. This can lead to cracks in the outer layer of skin, loss of hydration, and ultimately, inflammation.When your skin loses its moisture barrier, it weakens its ability to protect itself.
So the simple answer is, yes, there are things you can do to help your skin survive winter.
1. Bring on the humidifier. (are you tired of hearing this one?) :) Our central heating systems blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get more moisture into the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly.
2. Swap out a gel cleanser for a cream or oil based cleanser. These cleansing choices are typically gentler on the skin & have moisture built right into them. My absolute favorites are the Roccoco Pore Cleansing Oil & the Hibiscus Milk Cleanser. Both of these are acne safe!
3. Exfoliate, but don't over-do it! If you're using a cleansing brush, yes, you are exfoliating your skin! Exfoliating 1-3 times a week is sufficient. Opt for a gentle, chemical exfoliant, such as lactic or mandelic acid, or an enzyme mask to dissolve the dead skin cells.
4. I think toners are possibly the most underrated of skin care products. A well-formulated toner will help balance the skins' ph, remove excess makeup/pollution from the day, and add nutrients & hydration to the skin. My two favorites are the Skin Script Cucumber Toner (acne safe) & Michele Corely Plump Me Up Hydrating Mist.
5. By all means, use a serum! There is a serum for every skin type and every skin condition. Serums are like the vegetables on your dinner plate. Serums are thinner in consistency and should contain a higher concentration of active ingredients to target skin concerns, such as hydration and 'healthy aging.' Look for serums that contain active hydrating ingredients that reduce moisture loss and restore skin barrier.
6. Embrace a richer moisturizer! Opt for a moisturizer that will protect your skin and give it lasting moisture. Look for one that contains fatty acids and ceramides, which will help skin lock in moisture and maintain its protective barrier. Apply your moisturizer while your skin is still slightly tacky from the previous product - especially when using a hydrating serum. This will also help lock in moisture. PS - all of the Roccoco moisturizers are acne safe.
7. Don't neglect your lips. With mistletoe season just around the corner, you'll want to keep your lips hydrated and supple. :) Our lips don't contain many oil glands, so we want to replace lost moisture with a hydrating lip treatment. My favorite lip treatment is specially formulated with peptides, natural avocado oil and a powerful vitamin blend to penetrate deep and deliver immediate moisturization and protection. It's the very same lip treatment I apply in every facial. :)
8. Your body needs love, too. Apply body lotion straight out of the shower while skin is still damp to lock in moisture. Plus, it will restore any moisture lost from standing under the hot water. Speaking of... skip the super hot showers! This will not do your winter skin any favors. Look for a formula containing fatty lipids (like shea butter) to create a strong skin barrier. The stronger the skin barrier, the less moisture lost.
9. Double up with a tinted moisturizer. Not only does a tinted moisturizer double as a light foundation, it adds extra hydration and sun protection (do not rely solely on makeup for SPF protection. You need 1/4 tsp of SPF for proper coverage). A tinted SPF with silicones is a nice option, as it will help lock in moisture and offer barrier protection.
10. Protect your hands. Between the dry air and constant hand washing to avoid cold and flu season, our hands can feel the pains of winter, too. Because the skin on our hands has very few oil glands, it’s important to restore moisture to maintain your skin’s protective barrier. And don't forget the SPF! Our hands will almost always be the first to give away our age. :)
11. Bonus tip: Hydrating masks are beneficial this time of year. It's a great way to replenish the skin & to maintain the results of your last facial. If you opt for a clay mask, remove it before it completely dries. Once dry, it will begin to pull moisture from the skin.