Winter-Proof Your Skin!
Seasonal and environmental changes can affect the health and appearance of our skin. In winter these changes are almost always extreme and the largest organ of the body, the skin, has to work super hard to protect all the internal organs and maintain the body's temperature.
When your skin is constantly exposed to cold temperature, harsh wind, and recirculated air (heat) that absorbs every drop of moisture in your surrounding environment, free radicals are produced. That is when skin damage starts and the skin starts to show signs of stress. It might get dry, itchy, flaky, and red. People who suffer from pre-existing skin conditions such as Rosacea, Psoriasis, or even sensitive skin, will notice a worsening of their symptoms if they don't take extra care in the wintertime.
We can help the skin by following these steps :
1- Don't stop using sunscreen: Just because it is winter, that doesn't mean harmful (UVA-UVB) rays are going to hibernate. Sunscreen is still an essential step to protect the skin from future damage. As a matter of fact, the harmful effect of the sun might be double trouble in winter. If you are a winter sports lover or if there is snow, the sun's rays reflect back onto our skin from the snow that covers the ground. Sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 is recommended.
2- Avoid peelers and use healers: Peel-off masks, exfoliating creams, and alcohol-based toners are examples of products you need to avoid in wintertime. Your skin is already suffering, so you don't need to strip the natural oil layers that are giving your skin the last resort of natural protection. If you are scrubaholic, focus on your heels, elbows, and knees. Leave your face alone.
This must not be confused with balanced exfoliating products that your dermatologist or your skin care specialist recommends for your specific skin type and needs. Instead of over-exfoliating, focus on adding what we call "skin healers". These products contain active ingredients that assist in enlarging the cell's capacity to hold more water, which locks in moisture on the skin surface. It will also contain ingredients that soothe the skin by creating a protective layer to prevent it from dehydration. This allows the epidermis (skin surface) to retain moisture.
Hyaluronic acid, Shea butter, oatmeal, vitamin C, and chamomile extract are examples of these active ingredients. Hydrating boosters, anti-oxidant-rich moisturizers, and calming toners are product examples.
3- Be detailed: For unknown reasons, a lot of people tend to neglect their necks, lips, and ears when they apply moisturizers or perform their daily cleansing regimen. These are key body parts that will show signs of aging despite how well you take of the rest of your face.
4-Add moisture to the surrounding air: Furnaces and fireplaces will suck the water from the air. The drier the air you're exposed to, the drier your skin will be. Using a humidifier or adding several house plants will balance out humidity levels in the surrounding environment and help you look and feel better.
5- Keep in mind: Healthy skin is part of a healthy body. Exercise, drink your water and get your skin checked by a specialist regularly.
Submitted by Saima Shaheen, Master Esthetician