Here’s how to keep your complexion hydrated and healthy until spring.
Switching up your skin-care routine as the weather changes is a no-brainer. As the temperature drops and the moisture in the air disappears — thanks to the not-so-fun combo of indoor heating and cold winds that strip your skin — changing up your skin care alone isn’t always enough. The good news is there are many ways you can help save your skin when the polar vortex, bomb cyclone or snowmageddon hits, and not all of them include reaching for heavy-duty creams. Here are a few savvy ways to save your skin this winter.
Add a targeted hydration product
Dry, dehydrated skin means that your skin barrier has been damaged, which makes you more susceptible to redness and irritation — and, in more extreme cases, can cause eczema and dermatitis flare-ups. What’s worse, dehydrated skin is something many suffer from, especially if you live in an urban environment, and even if you have oily skin (dehydration is caused by a lack of water, not oil). Before you ditch your favourite moisturizer for something much heavier, you might consider turning to products specifically formulated to give your skin the deep drink it craves. “Hydrating serums act as an extra lifeline, and the humectant properties of a hydrating serum can immediately work at replenishing moisture to the skin’s top layer,” says certified skin therapist Seanna Cohen.
The easiest way to address dehydration, without overhauling your entire routine, is to add a few extra steps to your regime. Adding a serum with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or collagen, directly after washing your face, when it’s still damp helps to attract water to the skin, keeping it plump and moisturized. You can also add a hydrating mask once a week to your routine. “Hydrating masks are a great way to provide a temporary moisture boost after the skin has been exposed to the elements,” says dermatologist Dr. Sonya Abdulla. “They’re a great recovery strategy.”
Book a treatment
Getting a facial treatment seasonally is a great way to keep track of your skin-care changes and to get a deep clean. “It’s good to get a skin assessment every few months,” says spa treatment supervisor Kassie Whitteker from the Toronto-based Miraj Hammam Spa. “That way, you know exactly what you should be using at home as well, which is just as important as the facial.” In the winter, a facial will often focus on moisture, but a more intense exfoliation will help get rid of dead, dry skin, which can clog your pores or prevent products from penetrating deeply enough. Plus, reaping the rewards of an hour of relaxation and leaving the spa with deeply cleansed, exfoliated and hydrated skin will do wonders — including renewing your commitment to taking care of your skin.
Get a humidifier
Adding a humidifier to your home is guaranteed to make a major impact on your skin, especially if the indoor air leans toward Sahara-levels of dryness in the colder months. It’s an investment — humidifiers tend to start around the $150 mark and go up (sometimes way up) from there. But more moisture in the air means it’s not being sapped from your skin. Look for an option that is quiet (so it won’t disturb your beauty sleep), antibacterial (so you can clean it less often) and adjusts automatically (so you won’t have to fuss).
Make your bed skin-friendly
Our skin repairs itself at night, which is why we tend to put the most effort into our skin-care regime right before we go to bed— and that’s great, especially if you’re adding moisture. But putting hydration on your skin and then putting that skin directly on fabrics that are going to try to steal that moisture is not good. That’s right: your pillowcase might be sabotaging your skin-care efforts. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix: invest in a silk pillowcase. Other fabrics like cotton pull moisture from your skin and hair, leaving you more sensitive and dry come morning. But silk absorbs much less moisture, and reduces friction between your skin and your pillow, meaning less irritation, too.
Anything you can do to protect your skin in the wintertime and create a barrier between your face and the weather is a good idea. This includes balms and moisturizes that strengthen your skin barrier, as well as a daily dose of SPF. (It’s no secret it’s important to wear SPF year-round, even in the winter.) But that also means covering up whenever you have to head outdoors. Exposing your skin to the cold and wind is the surest way cause irritation, so make sure to pick up outerwear accessories that are gentle on your skin, especially in the case of scarves, which we tend to wrap around our faces when it gets really rough outside. Cashmere and merino wool are both great options that are gentle on your skin, but will also keep you warm.