Wondering what to do and what not to do in your winter skincare?
It is true that during Winter, the combination of high indoor temperatures with very cold temperatures outside is what makes this season a serious risk for the skin since it can affect its protective barrier and reduce skin moisture, resulting in dryness. But let’s see what actually happens.
Our skin’s surface, which is what we see and touch, contains around 10-20% water under normal conditions.
Nevertheless, the bad weather conditions in Winter like the frozen air and the low levels of humidity lead to a bigger than normal loss of water of your skin and eventually dryness.
Things get even worse when trying to get warm, we often expose ourselves to high indoor temperatures which reduce our skin moisture levels even more without our body being able to replenish this loss of hydration in time.
Parts of the body that suffer more are obviously the ones that are exposed more such as face, lips and hands.
So, let’s see now what we can do to prevent loss of moisture in our skin in the Winter and therefore dryness as well as other skin problems.
- Avoid high indoor temperatures- The hot and dry air, which especially air conditioners release, reduce moisture levels in the air drastically and that results in the thickening of the outermost layer of our skin called stratum corneum since dead skin cells stay longer on the surface of the skin (according to wiki, the stratum corneum consists of dead skin cells inserted in a matrix of ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol.) This thickening of the stratum corneum is responsible for our skin becoming intensely dry with an uneven texture and dull looks. So, the solution to all that is to avoid high indoor temperatures as much as possible.
- Keep away from frozen air- The dry and frozen air our skin gets exposed to during the Winter months hurts the hydrolipid film of our skin, which works as a protective barrier, and therefore less lipids are produced and the epidermal skin cells have difficulty in holding water, leading to dry skin.
- Stop using the wrong skincare products- During the Winter, our skin needs nourishment and more moisture, and therefore those products that can make your skin dry during warmer months are not suitable at all for Winter period. So, start using deeply nourishing products and effective moisturizers to cover your skin’s everyday needs of lipids and water. Vitamin E Oil, hyaluronic acid serums and avocado oil is one of those natural products that can effectively hold moisture in your skin and prevent it from getting dry.
- Avoid hot showers- Similarly to the hot air, the hot water is also bad for the skin since it strips the outermost skin layer of its natural lipids. The skin can’t hold the necessary levels of hydration and that’s how dryness appears.
- Gently exfoliate the skin- Getting rid of dead skin cells accelerates skin cell renewal and helps the active ingredients of your moisturizers to penetrate deeper into your skin. Effective and gentle exfoliating products are the ones that contain AHA acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid as well as BHA acids such as salicylic acid. Our article on salicylic acid face washes can help you find out more. One more advantage of AHA acid products is that they work gently without irritating skin. Especially lactic acid is perfect for sensitive skin.
- Choose intensive hydrating products- Look for products that have proven moisturizing properties and nourishing natural oils that are good for skin dryness in order to prevent the loss of natural moisture in your skin. Ingredients that have both moisturizing and emollient properties are hyaluronic acid, glycerine and others. Also, beeswax creates a protective barrier for the skin while hyaluronic acid and glycerine prevent loss of moisture and boost skin hydration.
- Use Skincare Products that replenish lipids in your skin- Since Winter conditions affect the hydrolipid film of the skin reducing lipids production, you need skincare products that replenish the loss of lipids. For example, squalane is an ingredients that comes either from animal sources or is plant based deriving mainly from olives. Squalane oil protects the skin from the loss of moisture and lipids, combating dry skin. Other ingredients that protect skin lipids and therefore the epidermal barrier are linoleic acid, phospholipids, ceramides, sterols and fatty acids.
- Do a shower with lukewarm and not hot water- This way you help your skin keep its natural oils and protect it from dryness.
- Use Gentle Face and Body Cleansers- Creamy cleansers such as Pai Camelia & Rose Cleanser which I love using are perfect for Winter conditions. A very good natural alternative to expensive branded face cleansers for removing makeup and cleansing your face is natural oils such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. Also, Micellar cleansing water is a good way to remove dirt and makeup without drying out the skin. For the body, look for cleansers that have a neutral pH and nourishing natural oils.
- Avoid Soaps- Avoid deodorant soaps or soaps with fragrance because their alkaline composition unbalances the skin’s surface and this leads to intensive dryness and itchiness.
- Follow a diet that is rich in fatty acids- It is proven that a diet that is rich in fatty acids considerably improves the appearance and health of your skin. Omega 3 fatty acids help the skin preserve its moisture and elasticity while they also offer an anti inflammatory and skin soothing function. Since our body can’t produce omega 3 fatty acids on its own, we have to get them through diet. Foods with omega 3 fatty acids are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, anchovies, mackerel, sardines and tuna as well as flax seed, sesame, almonds, nuts and walnuts.
In conclusion, getting to know some dos and donts and following our winter skin care tips will help your skin stay protected, preserving its natural moisture and preventing dryness as well as other skin problems that are linked to harsh winter conditions.