Let's be honest: I have the best intentions for skincare, but most days I am lucky if I wash my face, let alone apply makeup. However, a month ago I decided it was time to grow up and wash my face like an adult. I implemented a regular skin routine and became a moisturizing fanatic (hello, 30s). But then winter hit, and suddenly a wrench was thrown into my daily regimen. How would I safeguard my skin against harsh, cold weather temps and what are cures for dry winter skin? I felt like I was back to square one.
But experts say I'm not alone in my quest to keep my skin glowing year-round. Chapped lips, cracked skin, and scaly legs are a common result of the changing temperatures, especially those that have us trading bronzer and shorts for Eucerin and 19 sweaters. But guess what? 'Tis not the end of your gorgeous skin simply because winter weather is abound. Brushes that slough off dead skin, soothing moisturizers, nourishing oils, and even green juice can all help keep kick dry skin to the curb. You'll never guess, but anchovies and a solid dose of sleep are a part of the equation, too.
So, do you have your pen and paper? It's time to take some notes.
"Sleep is a time for restoring the mind and body, however, your skin can actually lose more water during sleep, exacerbating dry winter skin," Chris Brantner, founder of SleepZoo.com, tells Romper in an email interview. "Not only that, but during the winter we often sleep with the heater on, which can have an even more negative effect on our skin's moisture." Nix skin dryness by applying a moisturizer and drinking a solid glass of water before bed. "Although I'd recommend spreading out your water consumption through the day rather than gulping a ton down right before bed — unless you enjoy waking frequently to go to the bathroom," Brantner says.
Susie Wang, founder of 100% Pure, noted that it's important that you take a chill pill when your apply morning moisturizer. "It’s best to let your product sink in for a few minutes before you move on to primers or cosmetics," she said. "This will allow the ingredients to penetrate your skin before you apply additional products."
Baby oil, shmaby oil. Sure, I love Calm It, Baby ($20, 10&Co) for my little one, but I also love that ingredients like chamomile and coconut oil to help keep this mama's dry skin at bay. I like to lather up with it when I step out of the shower — and experts say I'm on the right track. That's because applying moisturizer straight out of the shower helps lock in moisture, keeping skin silky smooth.
My grandma is always yelling at me to "stop pulling at you face" when I rub my eyes. Turns out she's onto something. Wang suggested that instead of rubbing on moisturizer, you should "stick with patting motions around your eyes. That said, gently massaging for longer than you usually do is a great way to kickstart circulation and blood flow."
Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Curology noted that while it's important to exfoliate to slough off dead skin, it's also key that you don't "assault your skin" by over-exfoliating. "[It] can cause redness as well as a feeling of 'tightness,' sensitivity, and soreness," he suggested.
Experts say it's important to not only keep skin quenched topically, but also by keeping up with your water intake. "Honestly, dry skin maybe caused by a lack of hydration, so even if you think that the 'eight glasses a day' rule is just fine, you’re still probably not getting enough water," Hillary Kline, a Minneapolis-based beauty blogger, noted on her website. "If you’re active, drink closer to 12 glasses a day."
While you're at it, don't be afraid to change up your hydration game by adding healthy sips like coconut water and green juice to your rotation. Hillary Lewis Murray, founder and CEO of Lumi, recommends a blend like the company's popular green juice, Farmhouse Greens. Murray suggested vitamin- and H2O-dense ingredients like cucumber "lend themselves perfectly to soothe dry, inflamed skin and keep your skin healthy and hydrated." Cucumber’s high water content acts as a coolant for red, angry skin, contracting blood vessels to reduce puffiness, according to Murray.
Winter skin can be revived by keeping a few essential oils on hand. Nadine Artemis author of Holistic Dental Care and Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance, noted that frankincense, rosemary and sandalwood are key for keeping skin glowing during the winter. Apply topically using a carrier oil or diffuse for skin boosting benefits.
"I don’t focus on telling my patients to avoid hot or long showers," Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School noted in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. "I stress 'bathing smart.' That means don’t use abrasive products like a loofah, which can irritate the skin and trap and spread bacteria." Crutchfield noted that instead you should use a fresh cotton washcloth each time you bathe.
Foods that are high in hyaluronic acid such as bone broth, soy, root vegetables, and dark leafy greens are excellent to eat during the winter for healthy winter skin," Amanda Frick, lead naturopathic doctor for Harvey Health tells Romper in an email interview, lending truth to the old adage "you are what you eat." Frick says eating cold water fish such as anchovy, salmon, mackerel, and tuna are also beneficial to skin, as a result of skin-boosting Omega-3 fatty acids. "If you don’t like fish, grass-fed beef is another option," she says.
In addition to body oils, you may want to consider a face oil, like Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil ($72, Neiman Marcus). Rich in essential fatty acids and phytochemicals that boost antioxidants, the plums in Le Prunier’s oil serves as a superfood that feeds skin, giving it that wintertime glow you thought only possible after a few rounds of egg nog. Bonus? You can use it on your hair and nails, too.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, noted winter is the time to trade your light lotions for heavier creams. "Creams are ideal for winter because of their richer texture," he said, according to a video interview on Real Self. Key ingredients to watch for include glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, all of which have skin-boosting properties, Schlessinger added. His favorite? Epionce Extreme Barrier Cream ($39, LovelySkin), a rich body moisturizer that works to strengthen and fortify your skin's natural moisture barrier.
Dr. Shirley Madhere, founcer of SoHo Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, noted that it's also important to add supplements that help hydrate internally, like omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and zinc, which support the healthy production of collagen and elastin. "[You should also] take probiotics to support gut health and microbiome, and vitamins B12, C, D, and E to support immune system," she said, according to an interview with Fox 5 News.
Rachel Duke and Caitlin Roop of Dermlounge in Richmond, Virginia agree that a face mask can work wonders for dry winter skin. "It feels amazing and blasts the winter roughness away," the skin experts tell Romper in an email interview. "It’s like a winter blanket of rejuvenation. We place a hydrating mask on the skin and it helps to lock in the moisture, giving the skin a plumper look and feel."
Keep a solid lip balm on hand to protect lips from harsh winter winds and plummeting temperatures. Try something like All Good’s winter lip balms. With varieties like Chai ($4, All Good) and Spearmint ($4, All Good) you'll get a dose of SPF protection paired with a pop of flavor.
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