Wintertime brings shorter days, colder temperatures, dry indoor air and for many, dull and dehydrated skin. Skin care routines that seem to work well for us in the summer and fall suddenly seem to stop working. Fine lines may seem more noticeable and skin may feel uncomfortably dry and flaky. Just like you need to change your wardrobe as temperatures drop, making a few changes to “winterize” your skin care routine is essential to combat moisture loss and soothe the skin.
Protect Your Skin from the Elements
A very common misconception in the winter is that we don’t need sun protection because it’s not as sunny out. Truthfully, sunscreen is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Even when it’s overcast we still need to protect our skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Not only can the sun’s rays penetrate through clouds, but harmful rays can also be reflected off of snow and ice causing your skin to become more exposed. Make sure to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, at least 15 minutes before going outside.
Sunscreens like Environ RAD SPF 30 and PCA Hydrator Plus Broad Spectrum SPF 30 not only protect your skin from sun damage, but also contain antioxidants to protect from other forms of free radical damage.
Another factor that might be sensitizing your skin in winter time is hot water. But who wants to take a cold shower when it’s icy outside? Long, hot showers and baths are definitely helpful in taking away the winter chill, but they can also inflame the skin by disrupting your natural moisturizing factors. While you don’t have to trade in your relaxing shower for an uncomfortably cold one, it’s best to take the following steps to minimize potential skin damage:
- Temperature – Try lukewarm water instead of hot when bathing.A general rule of thumb is if your skin is red after your shower then the water is too hot.
- Time – If the thought of a lukewarm shower gives you chills then protect your skin by decreasing your bathing time. Not only will this lessen your chance of skin damage – it’s also better for the environment.
- Use the correct products – Avoid using harsh soaps which can cause further damage to the skin’s barrier. Also, it’s important to properly moisturize the skin right after showering to help lock in moisture.
Change Up Your SkinCare Routine
Using the correct (or incorrect) products can make or break your skincare routine. When cleansing the skin, the use of certain soaps can damage the skin’s barrier. The primary job of soap is to remove oil and dirt on the skin, however many soaps can remove necessary lipids in the skin as well.
Lipids are naturally occurring oils that help to lubricate the skin, and they also help to maintain the skin’s barrier. The problem with soap is that harsh ingredients can damage the skin’s barrier by removing the necessary intercellular lipids that keep your skin healthy and supple. The result is a dry, tight feeling in the skin which eventually leads to skin damage – making skin appear more wrinkled and less youthful. Products like the Environ Mild Cleansing Lotion help to lift surface impurities and clean skin all while preserving the skin’s protective barrier.
In addition to avoiding products that strip the skin’s natural moisturizing factors, it’s equally important to include products that increase moisture in the skin, and promote healthy barriers – especially in the wintertime! This can be accomplished by using the correct ingredients. Unless you have excessively oily skin, or are acne prone, you need to switch up your skincare routine to something more hydrating in the winter. The best products for your skin in winter are the ones that increase skin hydration by attracting water to the epidermis and reducing trans-epidermal water loss by creating a protective barrier on the skin.
- Humectants – moisturizing agents that attract water to the skin: glycerin, sorbitol, sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid are some examples.Hyaluronic acid is probably one of the most popular humectants and a molecule naturally occurring in the body which decreases in the skin as we age.This molecule is able to hold over one thousand times its weight in water which increases skin hydration and increases cellular function.
- Occlusives and Emollients – without these ingredients, humectants are not able to perform as well.This is because without them moisture is able to evaporate into the air. Occlusives and emollients create a protective barrier over the skin which helps to lock in moisture and protect skin from harsh environmental elements. Silicone,Squalene and Shea Butter are some commonly used occlusives in skin care products. Environ Vita-Comlex Super Moisturizer contains both squalene and shea butter to help winterize your skin by keeping skin hydrated and enforcing barrier function.
Increase Product Penetration
Now that you know about key ingredients that quench wintertime skin, how can you be sure they are working at their best? The answer is proper product penetration into the skin. One of the simplest ways to increase absorption is to make sure to apply products while the skin is still moist. This is because the skin is more absorbent when it’s dam. For even greater product penetration, it’s best to put your trust in professional aesthetic treatments. Facial treatments are not only revitalizing and a great way to fight the winter blues, but they also help our at-home products to work better for us.
- Facial Massage – is stimulating and helps to increase absorption by warming the skin and energizing skin tissue.
- Exfoliation – Dead skin builds up on the skin causing a dull and flaky appearance.These dead skin cells can block absorption of your daily skin care routine.Professional exfoliation via chemical peel, microdermabrasion or enzyme treatments removes this dead skin buildup allowing deeper penetration of essential ingredients.
- Microneedling – is one of the most effective ways to maximize product penetration. Treatments like the Dermafrac Micro Needling work by creating microchannels in the skin. These microchannels remain open as potent serums are infused through the channels into the deeper layers of skin.The result is glowing and well-hydrated skin from within!
If this winter has your skin looking dull and feeling dry and uncomfortable call OWM Integrative Wellness for your complimentary skin-care consultation. One of our highly experienced aestheticians will put together a customized treatment plan to give your skin some much needed TLC and help you get your glow back!