Winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin causing everything from cracked lips to dry patches on your face and hands. As the temperature drops, so does the humidity, meaning your skin isn’t receiving the typical amount of moisture it does other times of the year. Combine this with the drying air from indoor heaters and it’s no wonder so many people combat stubborn flare-ups in the winter.
Local esthetician Ruthie Davila of Glow Skin Therapy has worked in skin care for 16 years and treats locals’ skin woes year-round. Read on for her best tips to keep your skin healthy and happy this winter season.
Any dermatologist will tell you to get clear skin, you have to stay hydrated. And while drinking plenty of fluids is important – especially during the winter months when people are less inclined to feel thirsty – the water we put on our bodies is also important. While a steaming hot shower might sound like a good way to warm up, it may actually be harming your skin.
“I always recommend backing off the hot water even if it’s tempting in the winter,” Davila said. “When you add that severe heat it breaks down the skin barrier, really zapping the skin.”
Instead, opt for warm water that won’t turn your skin red. If you’re still craving that steamy experience, try a humidifier, which will open your pores, soften your skin and help your skin absorb any products you put on.
“Above and beyond anything I have to stress hydration and water intake,” Davila said. “Remembering one way or another to drink water throughout the day will combat a lot of breakouts. If that’s tough for you, try water-rich vegetables and fruits like grapes, oranges and cucumbers. Anything to keep that hydration up.”
Winter is also an ideal time to explore exfoliation practices that will remove dead skin cells and reveal brighter skin. Many estheticians offer their clients peels this time of year because the weather is cooler, and you don’t have to worry about sun exposure harming your skin.
If you’re opting to perform your own scrubs or face masks at home, be mindful of the products abrasiveness. Some exfoliating products may sound like a natural solution, such as walnut-based scrubs, but these can actually harm your skin.
“Rough scrubs like this actually create microtears in the skin which ages you faster,” Davila said. “I also don’t recommend anything that has alcohol in it because that is stripping the skin and there are other more effective and gentler options out there.”
If you have rough exfoliants on hand, feel free to use them on your elbows, heels, or anywhere else from the chest down that is prone to dryness. Davila also recommends dry brushing your body this time of year, which not only removes a layer of dead skins cells, but also increases circulation.
Dry, cracked skin is expected for some in the winter months, but knowing exactly what is causing the dryness is key.
“Being dehydrated is different from being dry,” Davila explained. “Being dry is being oil dry, meaning your skin lacks oil. Being dehydrated is being water dry. Hyaluronic acid is a great option for treating dehydrated skin.”
Running the heater is your house, not drinking enough water and taking hot showers in the winter can all dehydrate your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a great antidote to dryness as it carries 1,000 times its weight in water, so your skin will soak up the moisture it’s missing.
If your skin is lacking oil, try a moisturizer that will work well with your skin, whether that is a gel, lotion or rich cream. But, be sure your product is noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. If you don’t know where to start, opt for a gentler, oil-free product and see how your skin responds.
“Our skin has a natural balance, a natural PH,” Davila explained. “Everything around us is fighting that balance. It’s important to learn what works for your skin so you can keep it in good shape all year round.”