You winterize your car, you winterize your home, you winterize your wardrobe…but do you winterize your skin care regimen?  Why do we winterize all of these different things in our lives?  Because winter weather conditions cause physical changes that can be damaging. These changes affect our skin as well.  Skin that is normally supple and moist becomes tight and dry, and skin that is already on the drier side can become flaky, scaly, even cracked.  Simple things like smiling or raising an eyebrow can be downright painful.  So how do we fix this?  We make some changes to our regular skin care routine.

For the face, almost all skin types will need to switch to less irritating cleanser, less drying toner, and thicker moisturizer with more hydrating and emollient ingredients.  My skin, for example, is usually oily and acne-prone. However, with the cold weather and the dry air, my skin has become much less so.  I get cracks in the corners of my mouth and the skin around my eyes gets easily irritated.  When I have a winter cold, the skin on and under my nose gets red and chapped from blowing it so often, and my lips get chapped despite constant lip balm application.  I get cracks on my hands and feet, and the skin everywhere else gets dry, tight, and itchy. 

Here are the changes I have made to my routine:  I normally use a lotion cleanser or cleansing, but now I use a thicker cleansing balm when my skin feels particularly dry.  I still use the same toner, because my toner does not contain any alcohol and it has soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like lavender.  I still use the same day cream but I use it a little more liberally than normal, since my skin soaks it right up. For nighttime, instead of a light hydrating lotion or gel, I have switched to a richer cream with high concentrations of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, other soothing ingredients like green tea and chrysanthemum, and emollient plant oils and butters.

In the winter, it is necessary to add an extra emollient to help seal moisture into the surface of the skin.  Otherwise dry air in the home or office will cause water to evaporate, which contributes to over-dry winter skin.  So on top of my moisturizer, I apply pure jojoba oil very lightly.  Jojoba is a non-comedogenic ingredient that does not feel greasy or heavy, or suffocate the skin like petroleum jelly or mineral oil.  I also apply it to my lips and around the eye area.  I have seen and felt a huge difference in the condition of my skin just by adding this step.

I like the jojoba oil for my skin, but there are other great choices available like evening primrose oil, borage oil, and coconut oil–remember that different oils benefit different types of skin, so make sure you’re using the right one for your skin!

For dry skin on the body, use a thick body butter that contains fatty ingredients like shea or cocoa butter, olive oil, or coconut oil (do not use these on the face if you have oily or acne-prone skin).  Even though it feels so good to take a hot shower when it is cold out, hot water is damaging and drying to the skin.  Warm water is best, and apply your moisturizer or body oil while your skin is still damp to lock in that moisture.  If skin is very dry, apply twice a day. If the air is too dry in your home, use a humidifier.  And when outside, remember to keep yourself as covered as possible to prevent overexposure to the cold and wind.  Trust me, your skin will thank you!

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