Winter is coming… So says my skin. How to help keep your skin hydrated this winter.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things I love about our Canadian winters but when it gets to our -30 C and all you want to do is stay by the heaters and take warm showers/baths and hygge it up on the couch. Yeah, my skin feels it. Yours might too, even if you’re on the East or West coast.
So let’s talk about some factors first so you can try to figure out what the best step for YOUR skin are. Because no one knows your skin better than you do, even on those days you feel like you don’t understand each other.
As you may have noticed, going from cold (outside) to hot (cozy heated home) seems to suck some of that precious hydration/water from your skin. I mean think about it, if you put your soggy socks that got wet from a ski trip in a cold space vs by the heater what is going to DRY faster. Yeah, the hot, dry heater that feels super cozy. It warms and dries the crap out of your skin. This is what happens when the water in your skin is greater than the water in your space/atmosphere. Those molecules get sucked into the drier space in a sad attempt to balance the micro world called your home. So how do we slow this increase in TEWL (transepidermal-water-loss) and maintain a healthy skin-barrier from the extreme temperature fluctuation, wind that hurts your face, dry heated spaces, and irritation/inflammation that may ensue? Read on my friend, read on…
Use a hydrating cleanser without SLS/SLES, rinse with lukewarm water to wash your face (not hot and not cold goldilocks!) and pat gently with a soft clean towel or your hands.
You don’t want your cleanser to dry your skin out more so find a good hydrating cleanser without those foaming agents like SLS and SLES that can be harsh and strip your skin of those GOOD oils protecting your skin barrier. Be gentle, don’t over wash (1-2 times a day is enough), and try not to over-exfoliate with chemical or physical exfoliators. Flaky skin isn’t cool and if you have acne prone skin, winter can be a trying time with the added dryness. Cleanse well friends.
Avoiding water loss (aka TEWL). Apply your moisturizer or moisturizing serum on slightly damp skin right after washing/bath to lock in that moisture.
If you’re struggling with dry skin and use actives, try putting moisturizer on first, then apply your active on top, or you can alternate the days you use it, or skip your actives altogether until your skin as back on track.
Somethings to keep in mind when looking for a winter moisturizer: Avoid moisturizers with added fragrances (for any product you use on your face). You also might want to consider finding a slightly thicker moisturizer for after your bath/shower in the evening to put on right away on damp skin.
Why is it important to find a moisturizer/lotion/gel that works for you? During the cold winter months, blasting heaters dry out the air, your skin experience large temperature swings moving from indoors to outdoors, and did I mention cold weather decreases your skin’s natural oil production? One of the main culprits of water loss happens when your skin is wet. During long hot showers/baths, water loss can increase by opening the top protective layer of skin causing water in the deeper layers to evaporate when you go to dry yourself off after taking a shower or bath. One solution is to add a humidifier to your bedroom (like the Levoit cool mist humidifier on Amazon), or add products with the following ingredients that help calm, sooth and encourage hydration retention in skin:
- licorice root: calming and soothing
- Cica/tiger grass: calming and soothing
- Niacinamide: many benefits and one is helping to defend against dehydration
- Allantoin: soothing and moisturising
- Beta-T/Hinoki: Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and
- Shea butter: Especially good for drier skin types
- Tetrapeptides: Help encourage production of collagen, hyaluronic and elastin in your skin
The last thing I want to touch on are Face Oils. Face oils can be a great booster of essential fatty acids from plant oils.
Consider using a few drops of face oils at night after you moisturize, or even put a few drops into your moisturizer to add some extra fatty acids and antioxidants. Keep in mind there are TONS of great oils out there and if I tried to list them all this article would get a little long but some places to start are:
- Cold pressed Rosehip
- Inca Inchi Oil
- Pumpkin Seed oil
- Tamanu Oil
The list can go on and on, there are so many great oils out there for oily, normal, dry, dehydrated, acne prone, eczema etc... The most important thing to keep in mind is start using a very small amount and finding the best fit for your skin. For me? I absolutely love Tamanu oil right now, yes it has a greenish hue and smells like woodsy-funk (??) but it works for me. I use it in a variety of ways: a few drops in my moisturizer, or a few drops into a hydrating serum or just a few drops patted on after my PM routine. Sometimes I even just use it as a spot treatment when I see a pimple start to pop up.
Wild right? Oil on a blemish?
Phew, that was a lot to go through. If you made it here, I know there’s a lot to take in, but here’s a little list of some my Winter Favourites right now:
- Riversol Cream Cleanser (was alternating between glossier milky jelly cleanser and Kraves Matacha Hemp Cleanser before)
- Nu-Shroom Hydrafill Serum for my hyaluronic acid fix
- Klairs Unscented Suppler Preparation Toner (Sometimes I add a few layers in the morning for some extra hydration)
- Riversol Moisturizing Concentrate (I was surprised this works for me because I have acne prone skin, but a small amount works wonders for the winter ** Warning it is dense and creamy. I was using Dr. Jarts Ceramide Cream and Amorepacific Essential Cream Fluid.
- Tamanu Oil: Anti-inflammatory and used as a spot treatment for blemishes/hyperpigmentation.
- Natreceutique Calm in the Evening: If you’re into oils or not it’s like a great balance of essential fatty acids in a creamy form. It has zero added fragrance, but you can smell a faint hint of the natural omega-rich oils as you first apply it. So soothing!
- Cyberderms Simply Zinc: Magically doesn’t dry my skin out despite it being a physical filter. So far it is a great balanced SPF with a slight tint. I would love to know how this works for deeper skin tones!
I hope this helps you on your skin care journey! Remember to introduce anything new slowly and start with small amounts even when it’s tempting to put a thick layer on. We want to help boost our skin's natural abilities, not suffocate it.
Let me know if this was helpful, if there is a topic you’d like me to post about or if you have any questions!
Until then. Stay warm, cozy and hydrated this winter!