If you have dry skin like me, autumn and winter can be a challenging time. I have eczema, and my skin tends to get dry and flakey. When the temperature drops, the cold winds outside and dry central heating inside can wreak havoc, by stripping the skin of its natural moisture. So what can you do to counter these inevitable weather changes? (Besides moving!)
In this blog post, I’ll offer some skin tips to help you to achieve hydrated skin during the autumn and winter months. Developing a simple skin care routine will help you to attain hydrated winter skin and to look and feel great, despite the cold.
1. Keep it cool
Avoid hot showers or baths, however tempting they may be. Hot water will dry out your skin even further, so use lukewarm water instead. In the tub, don’t soak too long. Those marathon soak-sessions can also irritate your skin. Fun fact - I never take baths - only showers. When the weather gets colder, I like to schedule a short relaxing steam shower in the evening to unwind. It gives me a chance to reflect on the day and to let it go.
2. Slough it off
Exfoliation is essential, especially in the colder months. Removing the top layer of dead skin cells will help your skin care products penetrate faster and work more effectively. One of my favourite products for exfoliation is our Brightening Face Mask which dissolves dead skin cells using fruit-derived AHAs. It is also moisturizing and anti-inflammatory. I use it once a week along with daily Clarisonic to help with uneven, blotchy skin, dry patches, and clogged pores.
You can also make your own effective mask at home with yogurt, turmeric and honey. The lactic acid in yogurt is a natural alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), so it helps to exfoliate and smooth skin, while honey moisturizes and reduces inflammation. Turmeric is also anti-inflammatory.
And don’t forget your body! The use of a body scrub once a week will help combat dryness. Make sure to use a rich body cream, butter, or oil afterward to replenish skin’s moisture.
3. Forget the foam
No matter your skin type, everyone can benefit from oil cleansing. But if your skin is on the dry side, you should definitely be doing it! Typical soaps and foaming face washes - even ones made for “sensitive skin”- can irritate and strip the skin of much-needed moisture. Oil cleansers, on the other hand, work to dissolve dirt, makeup, and impurities without stripping natural oils from the skin’s surface. If you’ve never cleansed with oil before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how supple your skin feels afterward! After washing my face with our facial cleansing oil (FCO), I like to apply some hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, then I follow immediately with argan oil - you want to apply to skin while it is still slightly wet to seal in the moisture. And don’t forget to use it around your eyes, this is the most delicate skin on your face!
4. Moisturize (of course!)
Probably the most crucial step of all is to moisturize consistently. Every time you wash or exfoliate, you should always follow up with a moisturizer. It’s even a good idea to have one on hand throughout the day; if your skin feels tight, irritated, or sore, don’t wait until before bed- soothe it immediately with a moisturizer. Most of us will need a more intense moisturizing routine as the weather gets cooler. In summer I use just argan oil, but as the weather turns, I add frankincense lotion after applying argan oil for extra moisture and protection from the dry air. Frankincense Lotion helps to stimulate cell regeneration, and it also helps to regulate sebum production, to prevent excess oiliness.
Get used to wearing gloves and scarves to protect skin from the elements. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun, so apply a safe option like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to any exposed areas. And always have your lip balm handy!
6. Drink up
We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.
7. Sleep on it
Dryer areas like hands, feet, elbows, and knees have thin skin and tend to lose moisture faster than other areas on the body. Consider slathering on a deep moisturizing balm like Lavender Argan Butter at night, then wear cotton gloves and socks to seal in the moisture until morning. When we sleep, our skin goes through the process of skin repair and renewal - so nighttime is an optimal time to layer on rich moisturizers - you’ll get maximum effectiveness then! Make it a nighttime ritual, don’t hit the pillow without body butter, moisturizer, and lip balm.
Other actions you can take
Make sure you get enough sleep! You’d be surprised how much this can affect your skin. Eat a rainbow of vegetables to make sure your skin gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Foods high in essential fatty acids like avocados, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds are fantastic for healthy skin.