Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Winter months bring lots of wonderful things we look forward to throughout the year: mulled wine, Christmas markets, fireplaces blazing, and family time. But there is one winter thing that sends us hiding behind our cashmere scarves as we take shelter in a local cafe: the weather.
The combination of stronger winds, lower humidity, and brisk air is the perfect recipe for dry, damaged skin. To boot, our face is the most susceptible to winter damage. That skin is about the thinnest we have on our bodies and is often left most exposed to the bitter air. So what can you do to keep your skin supple and soothed during this time? Here we give you 8 ways to care for winter skin.
#1 Switch to Gentler Skin Care Products
As you update your wardrobe and change your home decor, consider switching to a wintertime skincare regimen. First off, try to leave behind any products that contain a high amount of alcohol. “Alcohol-based cleansers and moisturizers are too harsh on the skin this time of year,” says Emilie Celine, facialist of Maison Ito. “If you’re still experiencing flaky skin, try a creamy, hydrating cleanser as they are much gentler on the skin,” she says, adding to look for organic skincare with a milky texture when you apply it.
#2 Try a Humidifier
It’s no secret that cold air equals dry air, no matter where you live. Installing a humidifier in your living space, particularly your bedroom, can put moisture back into the air and keep your skin hydrated and smooth. You can also place a ceramic bowl regularly filled with water on top of your heaters, as Grandma did.
#3 Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
It’s vital to moisturize in the wintertime—and moisturize often. The ideal moment? Right when you step out of the shower and have toweled off; however, start reapplying moisturizer throughout the day for best results. If you don’t want to undo a full face of makeup in the afternoon, opt for a face mist. This summer favorite actually comes in handy year-round.
#4 Cut Your Hot Showers Short
Although a piping hot shower is just what you need to warm the soul on a cold winter’s day, it’s not the best idea for caring for your skin. Hot showers and steamy baths quickly drain moisture from the skin, leading to excessive dryness.
If you suffer from dry, itchy skin in the wintertime, there are a few things you can do to still get cozy while you freshen up. Try purchasing a small portable heater to warm the room before stepping in the shower. If you insist on the hot water in the winter months, try slathering on a body oil such as coconut or a medicinal oil - request it at your pharmacy - before you get in, as oil works as an instant skin protectant to help you retain that much-needed moisture.
#5 Keep Exfoliating
It’s understandable if you have skipped exfoliation in the fear that it will dry out your skin even further. However, exfoliating gets rid of those dead skin cells that are causing your flaky complexion. A gentle scrub stimulates skin cell regrowth, bringing back an effortless glow reminiscent of a Christmas morning. In short, keep that same exfoliation routine of yours even in the colder seasons.
#6 Don’t Put Away the Sunscreen
Just because the sun now hides behind gray clouds doesn’t mean its harmful UV/UB rays are no longer making their way through and damaging your skin, even if you remain indoors. Skipping the SPF in the winter can create lasting sun damage in your skin which leads to loss of elasticity and more pronounced wrinkles. Fan of skiing in the Swiss alps? You’ll need extra winter sun protection as the sun reflects more damaging UV light off the snow.
#7 Drink Up
No, not just the mulled wine and holiday spritzers, you’ll need to moisturize from the inside out by upping your water intake. You may not feel as thirsty as on a summer day, but sticking to eight glasses of water a day will help keep your skin hydrated and plump. We recommend a Turmeric infusion or hot spiced apple juice for a flavorful, cozy boost.
#8 Get a Facial every 10/15 Days
Your skin needs more love when the temperature starts to drop, so why not leave it in the hands of a professional? Heading to get a facial, or simply increasing the number of times you visit your local facialist, is an easy solution to an often frustrating problem. With all the stress of holiday gift-giving and cold weather keeping you wound up, let the relaxation of a face massage melt away your stress and bring forth the glowing complexion you’re after.
BY KALEENA STROUD & EMILIE CELINE