Winter Skincare 101: Managing Winter Skin
The season of chapped lips and dry, itchy skin is upon us, bound and determined as ever to make your skin miserable. Fret not! There are many things you can do to thwart the antics of Jack Frost. Here’s how to manage winter skin and keep it happy from head-to-toe.
Forgo aggressive cleansing
It’s understandable why many of us like to wash our faces with zeal, especially if we’re into fitness and/or love wearing makeup. In reality, winter weather trumps most such considerations, so switching to a gentle cleanser and easing up on vigorous cleansing techniques is a wise approach for just about everyone, including those with oily skin.
Disrupting the skin barrier as little as possible is the ultimate goal: it may help to regard your skin barrier in the winter as you would a hibernating bear; no need to poke it with a stick if you don’t have to.
To counteract the frigid winds and central heating that strip skin of its natural oils, go for a hydrating cleanser, such as the Hydrate Refreshing Micellar Water.
If you have troubled or congested skin, Rescue Rebalancing Cleanser is an excellent option that does a thorough job. The Glycolic Acid (an AHA) in this cleanser helps naturally shed that top layer of dead skin, but don’t forget to protect your skin after cleansing and then moisturizing with a sunscreen.
If your skin gets extra dry the second temperatures drop, Defend Purifying Cleanser will leave it beautifully clean and comfortable without that tight, stripped feeling.
Say “no” to long hot showers and baths...
Oh, the weather outside is frightful – why not linger in a steamy shower or bath and revel in the fact that your toes are finally thawing?
Extended time in hot water, however, can leave those toes and the rest of you looking like a prune in more ways than one.
That’s because water repels oil and basically acts like a giant fire hose, depleting your skin of its natural oils. To add insult to injury, hot water dilates the capillaries in your skin, which can lead to redness.
To sum up, taking shorter showers in lukewarm water as opposed to hot water goes a long way in preventing dry, red skin.
...and moisturize ASAP
After washing your face and/or getting out of your short, lukewarm shower, first apply any serum you plan to use, and then your moisturizer (like Defend Overnight Recovery Cream). This locks in moisture; damp but not wet skin is ideal and the less time your skin spends un-moisturized the better. The same goes for the skin on your body.
Embrace the joy of masking
If you associate masks with intense and drying mud masks you’re not alone, but there are many types of wonder-working masks available these days, including the Nuria Hydrate Replenishing Biocellulose Mask and Hydrate Nourishing Under-Eye Masks, both of which deliver high levels of hydration and nutrition to depleted winter skin. Use them both a couple of times a week and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in the overall feel and appearance of your skin.
Exfoliate, but not too much
Winter exfoliation can be tricky; it might seem like a good idea to exfoliate away your dry skin, but this can create more dry skin. Though you’ll certainly be satisfied upon seeing your flake-free face (say that five times fast), said flakes will likely return sooner rather than later.
Once again, the problem starts with the skin barrier; when it’s weakened by strong exfoliating agents it can’t resist the whips and scorns of winter as well as it’s designed to.
The key is to exfoliate gently. Defend Gentle Exfoliator is an excellent option to supplement or take the place of intense chemical exfoliating creams during the winter months.
Get thee a humidifier and use it
Yes, we’re going to sing the praises of a humidifier. Most heating systems really rev up at night in response to the temperature drop, which makes your poor, sleeping skin even more vulnerable than usual. If you don’t like the idea of buying and/or storing a humidifier, try placing a glass of water near your radiator or heating ducts.
It may not be glamorous, but it gets the job done. High humidity houseplants are another great way to add moisture to your environment and simultaneously offset gray skies with some cheerful green.
Sunscreen is still queen
Sometime in the middle of February is when many of us start to think we’ll never again feel warm sunlight on our skin. You may even be tempted to skip sunscreen, as surely not one complete ray actually makes it to earth, right? Sorry, but no such luck.
Winter sunlight is still full of UVA and UVB radiation, no matter how blanched and devoid of joy that light may be. So while you may feel a bit silly slathering yourself with SPF on a gloomy day, you still need to.
Trust us, the extra effort required to keep your skin in healthy condition during the winter is well worth it, and it will be summer again before you know it – we promise.
About the author, Jasmin Figueroa
Jasmin is an accomplished formulation scientist and skin health expert who has spent her career listening to consumers and developing products that rock. A founding member of the Nuria community, she loves traveling with her family, chilling with her friends at the beach, and will totally judge you if you don’t wear SPF.