Skin Care Tips For Cold Weather
It's that time of year again! If you are a basic bitch like me and don't care knows it, you love this time of year! Pumpkin everything! 🎃 While the fall and winter bring some pretty blissful things, it, unfortunately, brings some not to pleasant skin changes too. Taking some preventive measures can really help make the transition to cooler weather a lot smoother and pleasant for your skin.
Cold weather skin issue causes
Climate - The air outdoors loses moisture and becomes very arid.
Indoor Heaters - Forced heat inside the home is extremely dry.
Hot Baths + Showers - There is nothing like a steamy hot shower or bath when it's cold outside, but unfortunately, the heat "melts" the oil in the pores stripping it of natural moisture.
Products - If you live in an area that the weather changes drastically, the types of products you use in the hot weather are not going to be suitable or hold up to the cold weather.
All of these things can cause your skin to become dehydrated which can make it look extremly dry and red, plus feel tight, itchy and chapped regardless of skin type. It can even cause your skin to overproduce oil to compensate for the dryness which can even lead to breakouts.
Moisture vs. Hydration
First, I wanted to address the number one cold weather skin issue. Every year like clockwork when cold weather rolls around I hear the same exact thing from clients when they come in for a facial. "My skin is so dry and I moisturize all the time and I have no idea why!" I can tell you exactly why, moisturizer with out hydration.
Moisture - The function of a moisturizer is to form a protective barrier on the skin preventing moisture loss. These types of products are emollient and contain ingredients like ceramides, natural oils, butters and even petroleums (which I am NOT a fan of.) While some of the ingredients do absorb into the skin, many do not and they trap hydration in creating a barrier. Think of it as your skin's "coat."
Hydration - Now hydrating products, on the other hand, are humectant and are water soluble. They work by attracting water molecules to the skin like a magnet. These types of ingredients include vegetable glycerin, sorbitol, and my personal favorite vegan hyaluronic acid which holds 1000x its weight in water. (More about this in a moment! ⬇︎)
This means you first need a water soluble humectant ingredient first, followed by a moisturizer. Layering in this order will give you the ultimate moisture and hydration your skin needs and can be customized in formulas depending on skin type.
2. Hydrating Toner
3. Hydrating Serum
4. Moisturizer + SPF
Gel or foam cleansers are great for deeply cleansing the skin when it's hot and humid but can be a bit stripping when it's cooler outside. It's a good idea to switch to a more hydrating cleanser during the colder months of the year. This includes a milky, cream or balm cleanser or even a gel cleanser that contains hydrating ingredients for oil skin. They will leave a light layer of hydration on the skin and your face shouldn't feel tight after cleansing.
All Skin Types - Especially Sensitive - Inflamed Acne Prone
Hydrating Gel Cleanser for oily skin
Oily - Acne Prone - Pigmentation
Combination - Dry - Mature - Dehydrated
Add a Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Adding a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum under your favorite moisturizer can really alleviate much of the dehydration cold weather causes. This ingredient can really benefit all skin types including oily and acne prone. Hyaluronic acid works by attracting water to the skin, taking crinkled skin cells, plumping them making them nice a round. Not only does it hydrate it plumps fine lines associated with dryness, dehydration, and aging. If you'd like to read more I wrote a very detailed blog post called "What is Hyaluronic Acid?"
You might think that exfoliating the skin in colder weather would be counter productive. But in reality exfoliating that layer of dead skin will allow the penetration of serums and moisturizer to be absorbed even better. In turn making your skin MORE hydrated. Plus, the benefits of using a product such as a brightening enzyme peel will help to minimize those new sun spots that popped up this past summer. Enzymes are great for cold weather exfoliation because you are removing dead skin with out stripping the skin like a traditional scrub could.
All Skin type - Especially Sensitive
Combination - Oily - Acne Prone
Pigmented - Dry - Mature - Combination
While a lighter moisturizer may have worked wonderfully in the warmer parts of the year it simply may not hold up in the cold weather months. Switching to a more emollient moisture rich cream may just do the trick for the cold weather.
All skin types - Especially sensitive
Oily - Acne Prone
Combination - Dry - Mature
Add a Hydrating Mask
Adding a hydrating mask is a great boost for skin that is sucking up moisture. I love cream non-setting mask as they are ultra moisturizing and can actually be slept in.
Sensitive - Dry - Mature - Combination
All Skin Type - Especially Oily + Acne Prone
+ Hydrating Body Wash - Making the switch to a hydrating formula body wash that contains shea butter and/or nourishing oils really makes a big difference.
+ Lotion Up - Applying a lotion, body butter or cream directly out of the shower while the skin is still damp is ideal.
+ Exfoliate - Body scrubs with oils are nice this time of year because they buff away dead dry skin cells while moisturizing at the same time.
+ Coconut Oil Baths - Warm coconut oil baths on a cold night are SO nice. For one they smell delightful, but you get out of the tub with the most beautiful layer of oil on your skin feeling so moisturized and relaxed.
When making seasonal changes in your skin care routine you should think about a few things. Take into consideration your age, climate, skin type and skin conditions. For example, I live in Southern California at the beach. I never see snow or experience super cold weather but I did encounter a lot of summer sun. I would need some brightening products and some added hydration. Now, someone who lives on the East Coast, encounters super cold weather for several months per year, plus, the dry air in the home from forced heat requiring a good amount of added hydration. You may want to simply make one change to your skin can routine or switch out or add several things. You know your skin best!
Cold weather does not give you a free pass on sun protection! Just because the air has cooled doesn’t mean the sun’s harsh rays aren’t damaging your skin. You can absolutely still get sunburned in the fall and winter. The best way to protect your skin is wearing at least an SPF 30 on a daily basis. Even while driving in your car! DO IT
+ Humidifier - Add some moisture back to the air with a cool or warm air humidifier.
+ Short Showers - I realize it's not what you want to hear when it's cold out, but taking a quick warm shower instead of a long hot one can really help to not dry out your skin.
+ Lips - Brush your lips with a damp toothbrush to slough off dead skin cells. Follow with a hydrating lip balm.
+ Shave Less - Shaving can really dry out your skin so skipping to every few days can really help to prevent dryness.