Winter can wreak havoc on your skin – making it dry, flakey, itchy, and irritated. Not only does the cold and dry air outside leave your skin feeling raw, but the indoor heat zaps moisture from the air and from your skin. There are a lot of products out there that claim to help with dry skin when in fact they could be aiding it. Knowing your skin type is important and what products work for and against it! This article has some other tips to keep in mind when it comes to effective winter skincare, so that you can feel your best all winter long. But these are my favorites:
1. Turn the humidifier up and the thermostat down
Using a humidifier in your home will add moisture back into dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom. You can even have a central humidifier hardwired into your home’s heating unit. Not only does this help with skin, but you should notice a difference in the air quality of your home as well.
When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing we want to do? Crank up the heat! Central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool yet comfortable setting around 68°F to 72°F to maintain healthy skin and keep it from getting too dried out.
2. Keep your daily cleanser gentle
The wrong cleanser will worsen itchy, dry skin. Avoid any regular bar soaps or cleansers that contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. The best thing to do during winter, especially if you are using any exfoliating acids in your plan (retinol, kojic acid, TCA) is keep your daily cleanser gentle. I recommend our RFA Gentle Foam Cleanse.
This product is not only a cleanser, it also doubles as a soothing face mask! It comes in both a Foamy and a Creamy wash. The preference is yours! This product will help calm the redness in your skin without stripping the natural oils away that help protect your skin from irritation and dryness. There are all sorts of great ingredients in this one bottle including, Ginger Root, Bisbolol and Chinese Evodira Rutaecarpa Plant – say that one three times fast. They help with reducing redness, promoting an even skin tone and have anti-inflammatory properties!
It is OK (and in fact.. it is good!) to mix in a scrub like our RFA Exfoliating Scrub in about 3x per week for exfoliation, but again the daily cleanser should be gentle.
3. Apply SPF 24/7 365
Yes…you can still get sun damage on a dreary, cloudy winter day. Applying sunscreen 365 days a year, rain, snow, or shine, is essential for everyone. Just because it is winter does not mean you do not wear sunscreen anymore! The skin is the largest organ of the body, so prioritize your health and wear a sunscreen everyday that will not irritate your face. Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 provides UVA/UVB protection with 9% transparent zinc oxide and 7.5% octinoxate and contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to help clear acne-prone skin and improve circulation. I LOVE the tinted version to combine your foundation and sunscreen in one simple step! It is a universal tint that looks good on both the lightest and darkest of skin colors and gives the perfect amount of coverage and glow to throw on and go!
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, HYDRATE!
As we come into the drier, colder months lots of hydration is so important! Hydrated skin is happy skin. Think of your moisturizer as giving your skin a big drink of water (our skin is almost always thirsty!). I recommend moisturizer every AM & at least some PM nights for your winter skin routine. For more oily skin types choose a hyaluronic acid serum moisturizer such as HA Peptide Serum. This lightweight moisturizer really absorbs into the skin to improve hydration, glow, and fine lines and wrinkles. For more dry skin types I love to use HydraLipid Moisturizer. For very dry skin the best trick is to layer both! Apply HA Peptide Serum first and then layer the HydraLipid Moisturizer on top!
Bottom line is, during winter you should consider adding some more hydration is never a bad thing.
Here are some of my favorite winter moisturizers:
HA Peptide Serum (Hyaluronic Acid + Peptides)
This hydrating, soothing, oil-free moisturizer is a great choice for acne prone skin, post-treatment, or anyone looking for potent hydration. Formulated with Sodium Hyaluronate, which pulls moisture into the dermis to lock in hydration, added Peptides to stimulate collagen production, soothing Green Tea and Niacinamide, plus anti-inflammatory Vitamin B5. The serum may be layered under makeup, SPF or other moisturizers for added hydration. Recommended for use with Daily Balancing pads, Lux pads and Koji-C pads, as well as with retinol use and post-treatment (microneedling, laser and peels). Apply 2-3 drops, the product will last 4-5 months. I love to use this as my moisturizer either solo or layered with HydraLipid Moisturizer.
This moisturizer is going to be hydrating as well and geared towards anti-aging. It has a 2:4:2 ratio of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids so it’s great for restoring the lipid barrier to the skin-amazing for hydration. It’s a heavier/thicker moisturizer and pairs very nicely with our HA Peptide Serum!
This is an amazing tool to keep in your skin “toolbox.” This Rescue cream is great for burns, itching, sensitivity, irritated skin, and inflammation! You can apply it to the skin 2x a day. It contains 1% hydrocortisone and aloe vera for a soothing/cooling effect! This would be great to apply on top of your pads as your skin acclimates to the new product. Also to use during the morning after exfoliating pads, or use before applying a face mask to prevent skin breakdown and maskne. It is soothing and also hydrating all in one.
Face Reality Moisture Balance Toner
A moisturizing toner that is a good choice for dry skin or skin that is dehydrated from using active products or dealing with harsh weather. Appropriate for chronically dry or mature skin. Beneficial for all types of acne prone skin, gentle to the skin, hydrating and soothing. Use this twice daily after cleansing. This is one that can benefit pretty much everyone!
Right now, especially with the weather getting colder and drier, it’s really important to focus on hydration. Making sure you have a ton of hydration in the plan in the morning and on the “off” nights from exfoliation, is key.
4. Decrease the Use of Your Exfoliating Acids
For some, especially those with more sensitive skin, decreasing the frequency of retinoids, salicylic acids, and other exfoliating pads is needed during winter time. When your skin is more dry it may not be able to tolerate these products as well as it does during other seasons.
A few tips to help you troubleshoot dry skin and exfoliating products:
-If you get a little dry and irritated take a break from the exfoliant (retinol, Koji-C, Lux, etc) for 2-3 days and focus on hydrating with your moisturizer. Then pick it back up more slowly with the pads.
-Try using retinol or Koji-C pads every 3rd night to begin, and then make sure to take a break (I call these “off” nights) the night after Lux pads and moisturize before jumping back into koji/ret or other exfoliants.
-Try wearing Lux pads for just 15-30 mins or so and then rinsing off, and then slowly and gradually work your way up to wearing overnight as tolerated
-During winter, you may want to apply a little moisturizer on top of the pads, that will slightly neutralize the acid making them a little less strong which is not a bad thing until you build more of a tolerance and can wear without moisturizer.
-Try using hydrocortisone on top of the pads to help soothe and calm irritated skin. I love our Rescue Cream (page 2 of my “Shop Skincare” section). This cream will also temporarily relieve itching caused by rashes and minor skin irritation (another alternative would be Aveeno Hydrocortisone from the drug store).
5. Eat Right and Stay Hydrated
Sometimes when skin is very dry, it can be helped by foods or supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish oil. It is important to take care of our skin from the inside out. An optimally healthy diet includes minerals, vitamins, nutrients, acids, other useful compounds that our skin and body needs on a daily basis. These are all found in the whole foods we enjoy like fruits and vegetables, meats and whole grains.
What I have learned most about fish oil is this…not all fish oils are created equal and the saying that you get what you pay for is never more true than it is with this product. EPA and DHA are what make the difference in a fish oil and if you want to see the benefits of heart health, joint health, brain health and all the other benefits you receive from taking a high quality fish oil it must have a high concentration of EPA and DHA. If you want to compare your fish oil to 1st Phorm Full Mega Fish Oil just simply compare the EPA and DHA number on the back of the label. I have yet to see one that is higher so I stick to this particular product to ensure the best results.
Drink water to hydrate your body, as well as your skin. A well-hydrated body keeps skin looking dewy, and leaves you feeling energized, too. It is generally recommended to drink a minimum of 8 cups (8 oz) of water per day for adults. This is a minimum and does not consider sweating, working out etc. So you likely need more! When I’m drinking 12+ cups a day I feel more energized, my skin is brighter and my digestion is better. Water is so powerful! Some ways to get your water in:
- Commit to 3 cups before your morning coffee
- Drink another 3 cups during your workout
- 3 cups post workout
- 1 cup with every meal
- Carry around a reusable water bottle at all times! Look for 24oz minimum (3 cups)
6. Keep Your Lips Kissable!
Let’s not forget your lips! Applying a moisturizing balm like a petroleum jelly or another ointment can help heal dry, cracked lips and keep them from getting chapped. My secret lip weapon is Vanicream Ointment. I’ve used this ointment in practice for years on post laser skin and if I’ve ever injected your lips there is a good chance i’ve slathered this on your new lucious lippies when I was finished! It is super healing, hydrating, safe for the skin, and so AFFORDABLE!
Another lip weapon is Lip Smart. LIPSMART has powerful hydration for dry, chapped and deflated lips. The proprietary, antioxidant-rich Hydrating Technology captures and retains moisture creating a Fuller Looking Lip.
Little pro tip – I always use my Lumiere Firm eye cream on my lips at night before bed. It’s a great anti-aging trick 😉
7. Save Money and Time by Getting a Professional Opinion
There’s no sense in throwing money at products and never finishing them (hello to all those half used bottles in your bathroom drawers and cupboards), or buying things that aren’t right for your skin because someone at CVS recommended it. Sorry CVS, one size does not fit all!
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