Winter is here and your skin may feel tight, dry, itchy or rough. Let's delve into why skin is a little trickier to keep properly hydrated at this time of year and what you can do about it.
Why skin feels dry in winter
There are a number of factors that contribute to dry skin in winter. See how many of these are a factor in your skin dryness.
This means the surface of your skin is having trouble keeping in moisture because it's damaged or otherwise inadequate.
Skin is under constant onslaught from going between frigid outdoor air and indoor forced hot air.
Hot showers, even though they feel good in winter, strip skin of moisture leaving it unprepared to protect you properly.
Speaking if stripped skin, continuing on with your usual exfoliators in winter makes the problem worse. Look at your skin care products; it's not just products labeled "exfoliator" or "scrub" or "peel" that exfoliate your skin. So many cleansers, serums, makeups and moisturizers are formulated with chemical exfoliating agents like glycolic acid, retinol, salicylic acid and even vitamin C, that you are exfoliating a lot more than you think.
Tip: assist your barrier function. This means;
Slowed movement of body fluids
Many people's days are sedentary because of desk work and computer use. But in winter, there's a tendency to be less active since its cold.
How many times did I face the morning alarm and say "no thanks" to that brisk winter walk since I was snuggled up in my blankets?
But movement, even gentle movement, can help stimulate hydration by causing body fluids to flow better.
One of the fluids is sebum. This is your skin's natural protection against dry air. It is a substance many think they have to remove, but this is a mistake. If you're having trouble balancing sebum production, then movement helps with this, too.
The other fluids are internal - blood and lymph. Blood flow helps you feel warmer, and lymph flow keeps tissues pliable and healthier by moving microbes, waste and other debris along the pathways to be eventually removed from your body. Regular and efficient removal of debris, waste and toxins turn dull skin to glowing.
Tip: move your body. Anything you like is fine. It doesn't have to be vigorous, just move and move often.
Changing eating habits can dry skin
In winter, we are drawn to heavier, fattier foods and drink more warm liquids which usually means coffee. If your diet is full of caged animal fats, processed "heat and serve" foods and caffeine, this is not helpful for dry skin.
Tip: pack your diet full of adequate water and healthy fats
There are more tips for sure, but I wanted to highlight the ones people don't generally think about. Skin health is a whole body affair, so by all means continue on with hydrating facial masks, gua sha facial massage and richer moisturizers, but consider some of these to help you this Winter.
Which of these tips do you think you can implement today? Which may take a little planning? Do you have other tips to share, like a home made mask or some facial ritual that has worked well over the years for you? Share them in the comments below.
Holistic Esthetician and Facial Massage Therapist