Is your skin prepared for our cooold Canadian weather? By: Giselle Curcio
While we have yet to feel the madness of winter, the best way to prep your skin for the harsh conditions and ever-changing temperature is to start transitioning your skin-care routine now. Getting a jump-start on harsh conditions like dry air and windburn is one of the best ways to ensure your face will look and feel it’s best for the whole season.
1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
This is the golden rule that applies to all skin types, regardless of weather conditions. Regular exfoliation is the key to maintaining smooth, radiant skin, as well to optimize the efficacy of your skin care products. When dead skin cells start to build up, the result is a dull complexion, not to mention clogged pores which asphyxiate the skin. When your pores are blocked, they do not absorb the active ingredients found in your moisturizers. What a waste! For non-reactive skin types which are dry, it’s advised to exfoliate 2-3 times a week. An oiler complexion is generally thicker, and produces more sebum (oil), which acts like a glue and sticks to the skin, often causing inflammation (breakouts). For this skin type, it is advised to exfoliate 3 or 4 times a week, and it’s best to use a granular exfoliant which contains chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid for deep pore cleansing. Just remember not to overdo it or you may risk over-stripping the skin’s natural barrier protection, which is very much needed during the colder months. Regardless of skin type, exfoliating regularly promotes cellular turnover, which maintains healthy skin cells, optimizes protection and hydration for a luminous complexion.
2. Moisturize from head to toe!
Since exfoliation eliminates dead skin cells, you’ll want to keep your new, healthy cells protected by moisturizing daily. Moisturizers are a critical component to combating the harsh dry air which surrounds us in the wintertime. It also helps prevent chapping, or other skin sensitivities. When your skin becomes dry or dehydrated it often becomes more reactive to external aggressors. Having a good quality moisturizer with active ingredients is essential to achieving a healthy skin. If possible, having a humidifier in common areas of your home, offers a boost to the efficacy of your skincare products.
For those sensitive skin types who suffer with intolerant skin, a balm is best as it contains ingredients like shea butter and omega fatty acids to help nourish and protect the skin, by forming an invisible film over the superficial layer of the skin, blocking any sort of external triggers.
3. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Despite the lack of regular sun exposure in the winter, sunscreen is still an essential component to maintaining healthy, glowing skin. Make sure you’re using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily. Keep in mind that UVA rays are present all year long. These are the rays responsible for triggering the formation of wrinkles, as they travel deep into the dermis. UVA rays account for 95% of the rays emitted from the sun, as opposed to UVB rays, which make up only 5%. UVA rays are both chronic and cumulative, and although their presence may not be visible on the skin right away, like UVB rays (burning rays), in time their effects will appear, causing photo-induced pre-mature aging, textural deterioration, dryness and hyperpigmentation. No excuses, be sun smart!
4. Avoid long showers! As soothing and comforting as a steamy hot shower can be, mainly in these cold winter months, heat can certainly dry out your skin, and leave it vulnerable to external irritants. Although this may not be ideal, opt for a shorter shower using rich, nourishing body cleansers and apply a moisturizing cream or lotion right afterwards. Remember to pat dry, but leave your skin a little moist after toweling off, to hold onto the moisture and not break down the natural barrier protection of the skin. By choosing a good quality cream or lotion with active ingredients that not only feel good, but are indeed “do-gooders” for the skin, you will maintain beautiful, soft, hydrated skin during these colder months, and all year long.
5. Your skin is made up of 70% water… DRINK MORE OF IT!
The skin goes through different physiological changes. How you’re feeling is usually indicative of what your skin looks like, for example when one has a cold or flu. Also, what you eat and/or do not eat also has a huge effect on the way your skin looks. Drinking plenty of water keeps nutrients and minerals high, and hydrates the cells in your skin to perform better. A cozy cup of green or white tea during the cold months offers a boost of antioxidants as well, which will help battle free radical damage responsible for damaging the skin and causing pre-mature aging.
Winter might not be here just yet, but it’s important to protect your investment, and prepare for what’s to come. That way, once the temperature drops your skin will be ready, and cold chills and windburn won’t stand a chance! Happy holidays!