Winter can be a fun time of year,
but it also has its challenges ...
especially where skin care is
Beyond drastic temperature
changes from outdoors to indoors, there
can also be extreme fluctuations
in humidity levels. Although it's not
so much dry-cold air that can be the
main culprit as much as the dry-warm
air emitted from some indoor heating
systems. In other words, our skin
requires protection whether we are
indoors or outdoors in the winter!
Here are some tips to help your skin flourish even
through the winter months.
There are some key things we can do to protect
our skin in the winter. First, and foremost,
protection from the elements is most important.
But, it doesn't stop there ... let's take a
look at what our skin is up against in cold
weather and what we can do to help it.
Dry conditions abound during winter months,
which can be extremely stressful to your skin.
If humidity outside is low, your skin can become
dry and flaky, but this problem compounds when
indoor environments are made even drier from many
types of indoor heating. All of this can dehydrate
your skin ... your eyes and forehead may feel tight,
your lips chapped, or back, shoulders, and arms itchy.
When this happens, your skin doesn't feel well and
your overall health can be affected. So, it's very
important to take special care of your skin during
cold weather, as your immune system needs to be
in "tip-top" shape in order to keep
you well so you can do the things you enjoy.
Indoors, the use of a humidifier,
which emits moisture into the surrounding
air, can help counteract the drying
effects of some indoor heating systems,
especially forced-air heating,
which decreases the humidity greatly.
When this type of situation "zaps"
the moisture from your skin, wrinkles will
appear to be more prominent, which is where
hydration comes in ... to "plump up"
the skin, making it feel and look healthy again.
Keeping your body hydrated is also important,
which means drinking fluids throughout the day ...
juice, tea, cider, and water are best. The use
of hydrating mists, including hydrosols
and botanicals, such as aloe vera,
can keep skin nourished and moistened.
A lotion or cream applied afterward
is very beneficial, as it helps to
seal in the layer of moisture.
Of note ... many toners may contain
rubbing alcohol, isopropyl, which is
very drying to the skin, so best to avoid.
However, although it's important to
prevent moisture loss, the ingredients
in your lotion should be non-comedogenic,
meaning that it won't clog pores.
Skin needs to "breathe" and
smothered skin can become irritated skin,
or even worse, infected skin.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize
that comodogenic ingredients may be part
of their skin problem, which is a very
"simple fix" and not the big
problem they believe it to be.
So it's important to read ingredient
Some ingredients in face creams that are
known to be comedogenic, are ones that are
often referred to as "occlusive emollients" ...
they make the skin feel silky, although
this feeling is created by a "film"
upon the skin. Some of these emollients
are fatty acid alcohols ... they are not
all detrimental to use, but some of them
can be, depending upon your skin.
A handful of them are: cetyl alcohol,
cetearyl alcohol, isopropyl myristate,
isocetyl stearate, and isopropyl isostearate.
The list goes on, but these are some
common ones. Also, ingredients such
as cocoa butter, red seaweed known as
astaxanthin, lanolin, and wheat germ oil
can also clog pores. Others to avoid
are mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and
vegetable shortening, which create such
a thick barrier that the skin is unable
to "breathe," which smothers
the skin. The ability of skin to eliminate
toxins through the pores is vital to
its health, and comedogenic substances
can inhibit this natural process.
This alone is a good reason to
stay away from using products that
can clog your skin. It's also a good idea
to go easy on any foundation make-up
that can clog pores, as it too has a way
of trapping toxins rather than protecting.
Also, to keep skin in healthy condition,
it's important to use mild soaps,
as these will help your skin retain
its natural oil content. Soaps that
contain olive oil, for instance, cleanse
your skin without stripping it of its
protective natural oils. As for
moisturizers, if they contain natural
oils, you're likely to find that they
are not comedogenic, allowing moisture
to penetrate the skin and toxins to
Encouraging new skin cells to
emerge can be accomplished through
gentle exfoliation. Fine sugars
and jojoba beads, for instance,
exfoliate, but are not radically
abrasive. So, they make the skin
soft, assisting the skin to renew
itself, without causing irritation.
Some scrubs can be too coarse,
especially for delicate skin, such as
"cleansing grains," or
salt scrubs, which can also dry
the skin. These are often best
left for foot or body scrubs.
Also, scrubs that include beneficial
oils and butters are especially
useful during the wintertime.
Always remember to use a facial
toner afterward and apply a bit
of lotion or cream. If you
have oily skin, the use of an
oil-rich mild scrub may suffice.
Sun protection is important all year round,
so remember to take precautions, such as
wearing a hat or other sun protection,
especially under snow covered conditions.
A hat and scarf also helps to defend your face
and neck from the elements, which is very important.
If the sun is shining on the snow, these really need to
be considered, as the ultraviolet rays bouncing off of
the snow can penetrate your skin, so similar precautions
for summer sun protection are good to keep in mind
even if it's cold out.
To protect from the wind, ointments or heavier
creams which have a high oil
content work well against the elements.
For instance, lip balms that include, castor oil,
nut butters, and beeswax, create a heavy barrier
of natural protection. These types of heavy oils
can also be used on the face, such as around the
eyes overnight, and many of them do not clog pores.
To prevent lips from chapping, always protect
with a layer of lip balm. If you wear lipstick,
you may wish to first apply a lip balm,
followed by your lipstick or gloss.
This will offer your lips full protection ...
if you do not wear lipstick, either a ointment-type
lip balm topped with a gloss (if desired) is a
good idea, as a heavier "waxy type" of
balm will stay in place longer than a gloss
used alone normally does.
Protecting hands from the cold air and low humidity
plays an important role in preventing flare-ups.
Make sure the gloves are made from material that does
not irritate your skin. If hands are very weary
of the cold, try wearing layers of protection.
And, be careful around
fireplaces ... although it may feel good for a few
minutes to warm your hands next to the fire,
remember that this can really bake the moisture
right out of your skin, and has the potential
of drying it out in a very serious way.
When skin is so dry as to begin crack,
the use of heavy ointments or creams made
with natural oils and butters can be of great
benefit. The only thing is that
ointments and heavy creams can tend
to feel a bit waxy on the skin ...
in this case, if used on the hands,
for example, simply dust some face
powder or mineral face powder
(which includes arrowroot powder
and cornstarch) onto the area after
applying the ointment ... this will
lessen the waxy feel, as well as any
shine from the oil and create a
smooth feeling. This method can
also be upon your face, if needed.
Where clothing is concerned, some people have
problems when wearing heavy clothing in regard
to perspiration, which can cause an itching cycle
as the skin overheats and then dries out, so
wearing layers of clothing which do not rest closely to
the skin can aid in this area, as well as allowing
you to remove layers of clothing, if needed,
during warmer parts of your day. Also, wearing
cotton undergarments can help, as the fibers
draw the moisture away from your skin, and
the acts as a barrier between you and
Some other things you can do to help your skin
through the cold weather is to take fewer
showers than you normally do, as water, especially
very warm water, can dry out your skin.
Seal in moisture with the use of a bath oil,
oil-infused bath salts, or an after-bath body
milk or lotion. For showers, a large plastic
tumbler can serve as a way to dissolve bath
salts or oil for a final splash before exit ...
just remember to rinse that shower very well,
as it can become slippery very easily.
And, when doing housework, always wear a
pair of rubber gloves to keep your hands out
of water and away from any detergents as
much as possible.
And, let's not forget our feet! The use of
a pumice stone can greatly help, and if your
feet are very dry, you may wish to apply a
heavy cream before bed, under a pair of socks.
Just purchase some pretty socks to wear for
this and it won't feel so goofy!
We hope some of these ideas will help you
through the winter with flying colors ... one
more thing that can help greatly is a bit of
steam on the face, whether you place your
face safely over a bowl of hot water, purchase
a facial steamer, or simply allow your mug of
herbal tea to float some steam up onto your face ...
every little bit of moisture helps!
Sun Protection Tips