How can you keep your skin looking and feeling fresh as a dewy spring bloom despite winter’s onslaught? With the proper winter skin care regimen it won’t be as hard as you think. These six easy steps can help you protect your skin against the harshest skin season.
Cover up your face
As obvious as that sounds, most people don’t do this. Your face is out in the chill and the wind, which is drying to your skin and can even rupture delicate capillaries on your face, causing that dreaded ruddy look that ages you. Your cheeks are most vulnerable to damage by cold and wind as they contain the highest concentration of capillaries on your face. (Did you know that if all the capillaries in the human body were lined up in single file, the line would stretch over 100,000 miles?)
WHAT WE LIKE Invest in one of those tubular scarf/hat cowls on Etsy or Amazon that you wear around your neck and when you’re out in the cold, pull it up over your cheeks. (This set is a great deal on Amazon.)
Continue to use sunscreen
It seems crazy to be putting sunscreen on your face when it’s snowing and windy outside but facial skin damage does not just come from the sun. “Most of the sun damage we get is from cumulative incidental damage,” says Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at NYU and Vice President of the Skin Care Foundation. “Walking to work (or to a coffee shop), driving, even sitting by a window can all add up to cumulative damage over time. Get in the habit of putting on sunscreen every single day to have the best chance of staving off skin cancer and signs of aging.”
You can save time, too, if you combine it with your daily moisturizer. We’re not talking about the heavy, greasy, white tinted sunscreen you may have slathered on your arms and legs during the summer. We’re talking about the sunscreen/moisturizers that go on smoothly under your makeup. Practically all the major cosmetics companies make a day cream with SPF protection.
WHAT WE LIKE Two of our favorites are, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30 and Avène Eau Thermale Avène Hydrance Optimale Hydrating SPF 25 Cream have SPF protection, skin nurturing properties and will not interfere with your foundation or powder.
Avoid alcohol-based toners
If you use a toner after you wash your face, make sure it doesn’t contain alcohol. Most of them do. While alcohol thoroughly cleans your face of any dirt or residue left over from washing, you are paying a price for that squeaky-clean face. Over time, alcohol dries your skin and alters its PH balance. And alcohol is particularly drying after your skin has been exposed to the elements. It won’t be hard to find an alcohol-free toner–the French skin care staple, micellar water, is now everywhere in North America. French women have known for years that alcohol ages their skin.
WHAT WE LIKE Two of the micellar waters from French skin care lines that we like are La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Water Ultra and Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Micellar Cleansing Water.
Use a sleep mask
Sleep masks are hugely popular in Korea. Essentially a sleep mask is a super-duper moisturizer that is applied before bed and rinsed off in the morning. They don’t harden like some masks but stay moist to allow thirsty skin to drink in moisture all night long. Unlike a lot of night creams, sleep masks create a hydrating seal so that water will not evaporate from your skin at night.
WHAT WE LIKE London-based Pixi by Petra Nourishing Sleep Mask and Fresh Peony Brightening Night Treatment Mask. Pixi has fruit and flower oils to soothe, arginine to strengthen, and hyaluronic acid to plump the skin. The Fresh peony mask contains an exclusive brightening complex derived from peony and licorice root extracts and vitamin C glucoside (a powerful antioxidant) that helps even skin tone, while hyaluronic acid helps to attract and retain moisture for a smooth, supple, youthful-looking complexion.
Exfoliate twice a week
Although it may seem that scrubbing dry skin is counter-productive, it’s not. A gentle scrub twice a week will actually stimulate oil glands. More importantly, it will help to slough off the outer layer of skin, revealing newer skin cells underneath. Just remember to use a good moisturizer (or your sleep mask) before going to bed and, of course, your moisturizer with SPF during the day.
WHAT WE LIKE Products that are ideal for exfoliating twice a week are Equate Polished and Radiant Facial Scrub, a Wal-Mart house brand, which we love, and Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Pore Scrub Cleanser. (Our beauty editor uses the Equate scrub in the shower twice a week and swears by its efficacy. For $1.97 it’s a steal!)
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Make sure your skin has plenty of moisture to draw from by drinking plenty of water throughout the winter season. Coffee and wine are dehydrating but soups and warm beverages like hot chocolate can help you meet your daily fluid intake requirement.
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Read more Blue Hare
- Just say no to the lizard skin of winter
- Ageless beauty: Secrets of French skin care
- See more on the Blue Hare home page