Do you suffer from chapped lips, tight skin and flaky patches in the winter? Well, who doesn’t. Dry air and frigid temperatures are punishing to your skin. To get some mid-winter relief, Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen offered six tips on how to stop winter from sucking the glow and moisture from your complexion.
1. Preventing dry winter skin starts in the shower
“Some of your everyday activities, like bathing, can contribute to dry skin,” says Cohen, who recommends avoiding long, hot showers that dehydrate your skin and using warm water instead. Avoid any harsh soaps and cleansers, and sub in a more hydrating shower cream or oil. A quick tip from Cohen: post-shower, pat your skin dry with your towel (as opposed to rubbing) and then apply a body lotion while your skin is still damp to help to lock in moisture.
2. Stock up on hydrating ingredients
Upping your use of rich, hydrating ingredients is a must once temperatures have dropped and your skin starts seeking moisture. Shea butter, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and urea are just a few ingredients that Cohen recommends scanning labels for. These hydration heavyweights are common in a plethora of products but make sure they don’t sit at the end of the ingredients list.
3. Look for a heavier formula
“Sometimes you can make a difference just by changing the consistency of the products you are using,” says Cohen. “For example, in winter, you may want to try using moisturizers (with some of the ingredients mentioned above) with a creamier, richer consistency versus a gel which is lighter and not as moisturizing.”
4. Get a humidifier
Sensitive skin types can suffer from added irritation in the cold winter months thanks to harsh winds and temperature changes from dry indoor heating to minus zero temps. Cohen recommends finding the right skincare formulas for your needs and moisturizing often. Look for products that are specifically created for sensitive skin as they will be free from fragrance and irritants that can cause flare ups. Another key important tool for fighting dry winter skin is a humidifier. “I recommend one in the bedroom at night, even a small one beside the bed is helpful for the face as they add moisture to the air,” says Cohen. “At the end of the day, the environment your skin is in and what you apply are the most important factors.”
5. Pay special attention to your hands and lips
“Without proper care, dry skin can reach a point where moisturization is ineffective and other treatments may be required. Dry skin, particularly the hands, can worsen over time, become cracked, chafed, red and itchy,” says Cohen. “Regular moisturization is important to help keep the skin in top condition which will help prevent these issues in the first place. You want to stop a breakdown of the skin barrier because this is when skin can become prone to dermatitis and infection.” Opt for rich hand creams and apply them often and if your hands are particularly prone to dryness, balm-like hand products do a stellar job of preventing moisture loss. The same rules apply to lip balms, apply them throughout the day (especially before heading outdoors) and swipe on a rich lip treatment at night so your lips can re-hydrate while you rest.
6. Facial mists really do work
If you find the air in your office or home to be dry, adding a facial mist to your desk or your bathroom cabinet will help fight flaky skin. “Thermal waters are great to spritz onto your face for a boost of hydration,” says Cohen. Mist your skin liberally throughout the day and you and your skin will feel fresh and hydrated without messing up your makeup. Another tip Cohen has is to spritz your skin after cleansing and then go in and apply your moisturizer while your skin is still damp to trap that added hydration into your skin.