Have you noticed during the winter months that your skin seems dryer? Maybe you are noticing more wrinkles as you put makeup on, or maybe you look in the mirror lately and your face seems more sunken in? It’s winter time, and our skin needs change. Let me explain…
Cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and the use of central heat in our homes tend to dry out our skin during the winter months. When the air is cold and dry, the water in your skin evaporates more quickly. This makes your skin feel dry and tight, and makes it look flaky or more shriveled. This dry air is especially harsh on our faces, especially our mucous membranes, leading to dry, chapped lips and noses. And since we don’t typically cover our faces as we go through the winter months, the weather can be harsher on our faces than we’d like.
The top layer of the skin is called the epidermis, and this is where the drying occurs. The epidermis consists of stacked layers of cells that are constantly being sloughed off at the top. The younger, living cells start moving up from the bottom of the epidermis and eventually die off after reaching the surface. This epidermal cycle renews our skin about once a month. As we get older, our skin becomes thinner, and we are more prone to it’s drying effects, so the winter months really take their toll on our skin!
Here are some tips to protect the skin during this time.
My first and most important tip is to moisturize. THIS IS KEY! Moisturizers will rehydrate the epidermis and seal in moisture. There are THREE different classes of moisturizers you should understand. 1. Humectants – Humectant moisturizers attract and retain moisture. Ingredients in humectant moisturizers include ceramides, glycerin, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid and lecithin. 2. Emollients – Emollient moisturizers work to smooth skin by filling in spaces between the cells. These moisturizers make our skin feel softer and you should ideally apply these moisturizers throughout the day. Ingredients include linoleic, linolenic, and lauric acids. 3. Sealants – Sealant moisturizers cover the surface with a sticky barrier to prevent moisture from evaporating. These products include petroleum jelly, shea butter, silicone, lanolin and mineral oil.
In general, the thicker and greasier a moisturizer, the more effective it will be in protecting our skin from the winter weather. However, many of us don’t want to walk around with sticky, greasy faces, so finding products with but more emollient or humectant based ingredients may be more appealing than just slapping on a thick sealant layer of Vaseline.
Beauty Riche tip of the week – Find a good sealant based moisturizer to use during the harshest winter days. I personally love Obagi’s nu-derm Hydrate moisturizer. It is thick and not sticky and kept my skin from drying out even in the mountains of Utah this December. I use my less thick emollient products on the other days.
In addition, to applying moisturizers, consider using more moisturizing washes. Pay close attention to adding moisture to your hand, feet, elbows, and knees.
My second tip – avoid extremes in water temperature. Dry showers and baths can strip your skin of its protective oils. Take shorter, somewhat cooler baths, and pat the skin – don’t rub or use washcloths or brushes if your skin is dryer and more sensitive. And… apply moisturizer immediately after bathing when skin is damp.
Third tip. Use more fragrance free products. Limit perfumed soap and products with alcohol which can strip away natural oils.
Fourth tip. Consider getting a humidifier for your home if dry skin becomes a recurring problem.
And last but not least, fifth tip- drink more WATER! Our bodies are made of 70 percent water, and if we are not drinking enough (which is easy to do in the cold winter months) we can get more dehydrated , which can make our skin look more like a raisin than a plump and juicy grape.