Winter can be tough on skin, especially in the winter. Dry conditions, frostbite, cold, unforgiving wind, all of which can lead to unhappy looking skin! Here are some tips for maintaining healthy and happy skin in the cold months, and the transitioning spring months we are experiencing as well.
As a rule of thumb, avoid any face products that contain parabens, artificial fragrances, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Synthetic colors, as well as petroleum and coal tar products. It is also important to avoid foaming cleansers as they strip oils from the skin.
Tip #1: DON’T DRY YOUR FACE WITH THE WRONG CLEANSER
It’s very important to make sure that the face cleanser you are using is moisturizing and that it doesn’t strip your face of its natural oils. Doing so will result in increased redness, flaking, and sensitivity of the skin. Some dermatologists’ go-to’s include micellar water for removing dirt and makeup from the skin without being harsh and disrupting the skin’s natural PH.
Look for cleansers that are cream, oil or gel based that hydrate as well as clean the skin, leaving it soft and fresh.
Tip #2: MOISTURIZE MOISTURIZE MOISTURIZE MOISTURIZE!
Many dermatologists recommend winter moisturisers that have nourishing and hydrating oils like Argan, Coconut, Avocado, and Jojoba, and Safflower. Also, shea butter is very healing and moisturizing and can be found in many moisturizers, and can be used on its own.
Dermatologists also recommend that you moisturize at least twice daily, once in the morning and night after you cleanse your face. You may add moisturizer throughout the day if it looks or feels dry, and after you shower.
TIP #5: EXFOLIATE… GENTLY
Exfoliation is crucial for aiding your skin’s renewal process. The main reason for skin impurities is due to excess buildup of dead skin cells which collect in your pores and create pimples. No one wants to show up to class with an angry red zit on their forehead, so make sure to exfoliate that skin of yours! Dermatologists cannot stress enough about how important it is to not overdo it. There is no need to leave your face red and angry after a little exfoliation. Dermatologists recommend using exfoliating brushes with your facial cleanser around once a week. This will allow for replenishing and regeneration of that winter skin.
TIP #4: FACE MASKS! (but not too many)
Face masks are all the rage, and for good reason! They are a great way to add a little something extra to your skincare routine. They can help with hydrating, toning, exfoliating, softening, purging, and refining your face, but it is important that you don’t overdo it. Typically, dermatologists recommend that you use face masks 1-3 times a week, but it all depends on the type of mask you are using. Look for masks with hydrolyzed collagen, elastin, Vitamin E, avocado, oatmeal – which is known for being especially soothing for dry skin. Also look for essential oils like calendula, aloe, argan, and jojoba oil.
TIP #5: YOUR ENVIRONMENT MEANS EVERYTHING
Because it’s so dry and cold outside, it’s really important to give your skin a break from this winter weather when you are home! Humidifiers are essential in the winter to keep your skin healthy and moisturized. It is also recommended to avoid lengthy hot showers, as the heat draws out the moisture you already have in your skin. If you do enjoy a long hot shower after a cold day – as I know many students are fond of – then make sure to moisturize your clean face within five minutes of getting out of the shower while your skin can still lock in and absorb this moisture.
This may seem arbitrary, but it is very important to use sunscreen – yes even in the winter! The sun’s rays are reflected off the snow by up to 80 percent, so make sure to apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and protect your skin from the sun year-round.
Stay hydrated! Dermatologists cannot stress enough how important hydration is in skincare. Being hydrated allows for the body to naturally get rid of toxin that could otherwise come out on your face. To make sure you are drinking enough water, take your weight and divide it half, that is how much water you should drink in ounces. If you are exercising, you may need to increase the amount of water you drink.
It is important to take care of your skin, especially over these long Maine winter months. Follow these easy steps to ensure that your skin can survive the end of winter, and the transition to spring. Just five minutes of your time, or small changes of habit can ensure and protect your young skin, allowing you to keep your young glow well past your college years. Your older self will thank you when you don’t have wrinkles at age 30!