Dry wind, a dip in the temperature and bright sunlight – winter has all the ingredients to make your skin look and feel dry. Other common symptoms that people experience during the dry months of winter include itchiness, flakiness and in some cases inflammation of the skin, also known as eczema.
I personally suffer from extreme itchiness on my hands and feet every winter, and this led me to research why skin behaves so differently during winters, and what I can do to help myself. Want to know how to keep your skin beautiful in winter with four simple steps? Just follow my regimen.
Our skin is simply a water-carrying barrier between our body and the outside world. It is also porous in nature, meaning water can easily pass through the pores present on skin. The most common example of this is sweating, but water vapour is also lost constantly under non-sweating conditions and this phenomena is called trans epidermal water loss.
During winters, this loss is accelerated due to low humidity and a relatively windier environment which leaves the skin dry. Using heaters inside the home causes your skin to dry even more quickly.
Now that we know why our skin suffers during winter months, let’s learn how to beat the winter and keep your skin looking glowing and healthy with these handy tips.
What You Should Know and Have Before Getting Started
In this winter skincare guide, I will share a step-by-step regimen that is easy to follow. I have been using the same regimen for years to wonderful effect, and have already shared it with several friends who found it just as useful.
Before going into details, it is important to know that the skincare techniques you use during other months will most probably fail to serve you during winter months. The reason behind this is that your skin itself will behave differently in winter.
Oily skin usually becomes normal, normal skin becomes dry, and already dry skin can become severely irritated and sensitive. Therefore, it is necessary for you to first adapt to your skin to be able to take good care of it.
The list of things you will need to follow this winter skincare regime are as listed below. Make sure to make a note of all these things before you step out to buy them. Or simply create and save the list on your computer if you plan to buy these things online.
1. A Gentle Cleanser
Extreme winter weather is likely to weaken the skin’s protective barrier. So give your usual intensive cleansing products a break, and go with a lighter cleansing milk or a foaming cleanser that is mild on the skin. And avoid any kind of alcohol-based product because it will only rob your skin of all essential oils and leave it drier.
2. A Heavy Moisturizer
The simplest way to fight constantly dry skin is to constantly moisturize it. Pick heavier moisturizers than your skin is used to during summer months.
If you don't want to use ambi fade cream, so remember to use sunscreen every day. Many people use it religiously during summers but stop as soon as it is winter. Don’t make this mistake, especially if it snows where you live. Sunlight that bounces off of snow still can cause considerable crepey skin.
Remember to buy a sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.
The Winter Skincare Regimen that Works
This regimen is very simple and to follow and easy to remember. Repeat the steps mentioned below on a daily basis to avoid the many symptoms of dry skin including itching, flakes and inflammation.
Step 1. Stick to warm baths and ban superhot baths
Yes, I know how wonderful it feels to begin a cold morning with a superhot shower but trust me, it’s just not worth it. The intense heat produced during a hot water bath helps break down lipid barriers in the skin in an accelerated manner.
This leads to quick loss of skin moisture.Instead, stick to warm water baths but only for short periods. I have also found that lukewarm baths with baking soda or oatmeal can help fight itchiness of the skin to a good extent.
Step 2. Moisturizer all over your skin
As soon as you step out of the shower, pat your skin dry using a soft and clean cloth. Be sure not to use a rough cloth as it can worsen the symptoms caused due to dry skin. After drying up, apply a heavy (oil-based lotions are a good option) moisturizer all over your skin.
The most vulnerable parts of the skin include the arms, hands, legs, feet and the face. The first time you do this, try to track down how long before the effect of the moisturizer starts to disappear.
Once you know this time, repeat this miniaturization step in a periodic manner to make sure your skin is never stripped of moisture.
Step 3. Apply sunscreen
If you are planning to head out of your home during the day time, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin. Make sure you apply the sunscreen at least thirty minutes prior to leaving your home.
If you are planning to spend a lot of time exposed to sunlight, carry the sunscreen lotion with you and reapply every few hours. The bright winter sunlight coupled with snow glare is quite capable of causing serious damage to your skin, so don’t forget this step before stepping outside.
Step 4. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
Before sleeping, make sure to use a gentle cleanser or you can try coconut oil to wash your face. This will help clear out all the dead skin that has been accumulated through the day. Spread the cleanser over your face in gentle repetitive circular motions for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then wash your face with cold water and use a dry, clean cloth to pat your face dry later.
Don’t make the mistake of using heavy deep cleansers during winter as they can leave your skin extra dry and exposed. You may cleanse your face multiple times a day if you find it helpful.
Before buying any skincare products, it is highly recommended that you first consult with your skincare expert to avoid any possible allergic reactions or side effects. Continue this routine through the entire season to keep your skin looking healthy and glowing.
More Pro Tips
Apart from the special skincare regimen shared above, I will also fill you in on some top tips to help you fight the winter. All of these are inexpensive and can be followed within the comfort of your home.
- The skin on your hands is especially sensitive during winter months because it is relatively thinner compared to skin on other parts of your body. To avoid itching and cracking of the skin on your hands, wear thick gloves especially when stepping out of your home. If you are planning to wear woollen gloves, it may be a good idea to first slip on thin cotton gloves to avoid any irritation wool may cause.
- As mentioned before, the hot dry air expelled from heaters can cause your skin to dry further and faster. A good way to tackle this problem is to install humidifiers across your home. Humidifiers help increase the humidity level in the room and hence reduce the negative effects of the dryer on your skin.
- An effective way to boost your skin health during the harsh winter season is to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants and Omega 3. Examples of foods that contain these nutrients include nuts, berries, oranges, prunes, fish, soybeans, etc. You can continue to eat these foods during other seasons as well for healthy skin all year long.
- Don’t forget your lips! Lips also become highly prone to dryness and cracking during winter. Use a lip balm as often as you can to make sure that your lips remain healthy and soft.
- You may also be interested in a new range of products called ‘overnight facials’. These are gentle facial creams that are supposed be left applied overnight. They help hydrate the skin through the night, giving your skin a fresh, glowing look in the morning.
- If, despite following all tips and procedures mentioned in this guide, your skin remains dry, meet a dermatologist to find any other possible causes or conditions.
No matter how harsh the winter may be on your skin, with just a little effort you can reverse the dryness and its symptoms. To enjoy beautiful, supple and glowing skin through the winter months, follow the regimen shared above on a daily basis.
Also remember to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated from inside. If you are unsure about a particular product, it is advised that you consult a skincare expert instead of experimenting.
I hope this guide has been able to answer all your questions regarding skin care in the winter months.
However, if you have any more questions to ask or suggestions to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I would be happy to hear from you!