Winter Skin Survival Guide

by Jen on December 5, 2006

 

By Carly Warburton
It’s that time of year again and the worst of the winter months is about to wreak havoc on your skin- So, how do you “save your face”? Follow this survival guide to avoid a dull winter complexion and say hello to happy, healthy, glowing skin!

 

Clean Up

Throw out the ‘ol soap and water routine to wash your face- Your skin will thank you! Soap is too harsh and strips your skin of its own natural, protective oils. Instead, use a cleanser appropriate for your skin type that is a creamy, milky formula.
Before bed, cleanse your skin and blot dry with a clean towel. Do not rub your face with a towel as this is very irritating to skin. To prevent stripping away those oils, just splash your face with cool water in the morning instead of washing your face. This will not only be beneficial for your skin, but will also give you that wakeup call you need to get to class on time!

Bring on the Mositure

During the winter months, skin can become flaky and itchy. The harsh elements and freezing temperatures can definitely take its toll. To combat those drying effects, simply use a good moisturizer (and yes, even if you have oily skin, you still need to apply a moisturizer). Applying a moisturizer balances the skin and creates a protective barrier that fights against cold, dry and windy conditions. It will give skin a young and fresh appearance. It will also help to create a longer-lasting base for makeup.
There are many different types of moisturizer ranging in price from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Price does not matter, just be sure to choose a moisturizer appropriate for your skin type. For example, if you have oily skin, you will not want to buy a product intended for severely dry skin. You will want to find a moisturizer that is oil-free but still hydrating to the skin.
Avoid any products that list alcohol as an ingredient. Alcohol is very drying to the skin. For the best protection, use a moisturizer with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) built into it of at least 15. Remember that snow, ice, and altitude intensify the power of UV rays. Protect your skin just as much as you would in the summer months.
Don’t forget your lips! Lips chap easily when exposed to dry or windy conditions. Use a lip balm or chapstick frequently. Find one with a SPF of 15 or higher in it.

Buff Away the Winter Blues

Exfoliation is a must, especially during the winter months- skin tends to look dull and dry. Exfoliating the skin will help to reveal a glowing and soft complexion. The top layer of skin consists of layers of dead skin cells that gradually slough away. By exfoliating regularly, you can speed this natural process exposing fresher skin underneath.
Use products intended for the face but avoid products with fragments of nuts and seeds to exfoliate. These are simply too aggressive and will cause more damage to the skin than good. Instead, use a product with jojoba beads or ground oats. Do not exfoliate the skin more than twice a week. Doing so will break down the natural barrier of the skin that protects from environmental elements, chemicals and harmful bacteria. An inexpensive option is to cut squares of muslin (available at local fabric stores) to wipe off makeup and cleanser. This gently removes excess dead skin cells and because the muslin is so gentle, it can be done daily. You can make your own body scrub by mixing equal parts of olive oil and sugar. Then add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil for a nice, relaxing fragrance.

Beat the Heat- Indoor That Is

Indoor or artificial heat plays a big role in drying out skin. Central heating and furnaces tend to dry out moisture in the air and even draws out moisture from the skin. Keep the heat at a lower temperature and use a humidifier in your home to add moisture back to the air. Your bedroom is the best place to put a humidifier since you spend most time there. At least 8 hours anyway-while you sleep!
Another hot spot in the home is the shower. As appealling as a hot shower sounds, it is very drying and irritating to the skin. It will strip the skin of natural oils. Instead, take a luke-warm shower or bath and put a body oil or lotion immediately after getting out.

H²O is the Way to Go

Often, women will spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on that “miracle” skin cream, but the best thing you can do for your skin during the winter months and all year long is free! Water used internally and topically is a skin saver. Put a small bottle (with a spray pump) of water in your purse or schoolbag. Throughout the day, mist your face. This adds moisture to the skin and will refresh and invigorate your face and your mind. You can add one or two drops of your favorite essential oil for a customized spritz. Finally, drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. This will hydrate your body and skin from the inside-out leaving you with a flawless, youthful complexion.

Now that you know a few tricks of the trade- you can “face” this year’s Winter Wonderland with confidence!

Carly Warburton is a Licensed Master Esthetician and Professional Makeup Artist. She resides in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and 2-year old son.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Emily November 14, 2007 at 5:22 pm

thanks! i have REALLY sensitive skin during the wintertime, but that sounds like a perfect plan. i’ll try it out! 🙂

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