As great as it feels to pull out the cable knit sweaters from storage and sip on endless amounts of our coffeehouse favorites, waking up to dry, irritated skin is a definitive drawback of these lovely winter months. Blaming the unfriendly frigid winds is certainly warranted in these dehydrated times, but the truth is, there are a lot of preventative measures we can take daily to keep our skin looking as baby soft and smooth as it did back in June. So rather than looking in the mirror with a grimace each morning, take the proactive stance to avoiding common skin mistakes with these helpful tips on what not to do to your skin during the winter.
Taking a really hot shower.
It’s true—nothing feels better after weathering those blistering winter winds than soaking underneath a piping hot waterfall for a good half hour. However, the benefits are short-lived; these thawing temperatures strip the outermost layer of skin that acts as a natural barrier against the cold, causing it to really dry out and crack if you’re not careful. To avoid turning your face into the Sahara, try dialing the faucet back to a mildly warm temperature, and using a hydrating restorative face wash, like CeraVe. This cleanser contains ceramides that help absorb moisture into the skin and also builds up your skin’s natural protective elements.
Using the same moisturizer you used during the warmer months.
We’ve all been there—when you find a tried-and-true product that seems more like a bottled miracle than something you can buy at any drugstore, it’s easy to put up blinders and avoid everything else. But that fantastic light moisturizer you swore by during the summer isn’t going to cut it when chilly air comes into play. For the winter months, you’ll need something a little denser to keep scaly skin at bay, like a cream or serum. Skin recovery creams like Avène are made with gentle ingredients to really put that moisture back into irritable skin.
Skimping on sunscreen.
No, you’re not likely to be sunbathing in the backyard in the middle of December, but applying a daily dose of SPF during the coldest, cloudiest time of year is just as important as layering it on when the sun’s at its peak. To avoid wrinkles and sun damage down the road, opt for a hydrating color corrector cream like Clinique Moisture Surge. This SPF 30 formula will keep that porcelain skin the way it should look while also eliminating redness and the look of irritation.
Going crazy with the toner.
Allover astringents can be great if you’re especially prone to oily skin or need a tiny breakout to disappear on the fly, but can be the complete opposite during months you’re trying to add moisture to your face rather than take it away. Instead of going full gusto with a drying toner during the winter, use it as a spot treatment for unsightly blemishes, and apply a milder toner like rose water for the full-face treatment.
Not having a humidifier on hand.
Most of us see the silver lining of winter’s blistering breezes in the consistent lack of oil-causing humidity. However, the fact is, we need a base level of humidity in the air for our skin to remain adequately hydrated. Without that, in combination with the overheating of public spaces during winter months, our skin is totally stripped of moisture. Using a humidifier from time to time throughout the week will help restore your skin’s natural moisture to protect against that damaging air. For maximum effects, prep your skin with a treatment like Missha’s Time Revolution, which helps open your skin to absorb healing properties and minerals.
Not getting enough selenium in your system.
What you put in your face is just as important as what’s put on it when the going gets cold. Foods like whole grains and aromatic vegetables contain a compound called selenium, which provides your face with the elasticity it needs to be your glowing, expressive self. Dryness causes the skin to become tight and restrictive, so be proactive in avoiding that by snacking on a fair share of things like quinoa, onions, brown rice and garlic.