If you live in a “four season climate”, Old Man Winter has definitely made his appearance in your neighborhood. With the snap in temperature outside and a bit (or more) of snowfall already, you may find yourself staring in the mirror with dismay. Seemingly overnight, those tiny little laugh lines and crow’s feet suddenly appear like deep crevices on your face. For those that use makeup, you may be finding it more difficult to achieve that smooth, dewy look.
The skin produces a natural oil called sebum, and we all need some of this naturally occurring oil to protect our skin from potential infection and to help keep it moist. Especially during the cold weather months, sebum production decreases, causing the skin to dehydrate. Since your face is an area of the body that is most exposed to the cold weather, it may be feeling rough and dry, and you may even notice some flaking or little red, bumpy patches in some areas.
No need to worry or schedule an appointment with your dermatologist just yet. This is all pretty typical wintertime behavior for otherwise healthy skin. Most cases of dry skin on the face can be handled quite well with home remedies and over-the-counter products found in your local drug store or online.
This too shall pass, but until it does, here are a few simple tips you can try to help control the dry skin situation.
- Wash your face twice daily with a mild cleanser and lukewarm, not hot water. Select your skin care products based on your skin type — oily, dry, or combination—and try to keep it simple.
- While your face is still damp from cleansing, apply your moisturizer right away to help lock in moisture. There are far too many products on the market to detail, but as a general rule, try to avoid the ones with a list of ingredients that read like a novella. A high quality vegan skin care cream or ointment with just a few clean, recognizable ingredients is a great option.
- While you sleep, your skin also has a chance to rest. During that time, the cells rejuvenate and restore themselves, so overnight moisturizing can provide extra benefits. Apply your moisturizer before bed as this is when it will penetrate the skin most efficiently.
- Choose a moisturizing cream rather than a lotion. A nice rich cream will do a better job of locking the moisture in on the face. Lotions are higher in water content and often contain alcohol, which actually removes moisture from the body.
- If you are ready to see dramatic results quickly, try an intensive serum under your moisturizer at night—it can help take your complexion from dull and parched to bright and glowing.
- For the time being, it’s best to avoid scrubs and other exfoliating products. It may be tempting to scrub and rub to get those flakes off your face, it’s essential to be gentle and minimalist with dry skin. Set aside the more abrasive products and use them on occasion, when you’re in a maintenance mode and the dryness is under control.
- Use acne products cautiously and sparingly, as many of them dry out the skin. Seek out alternatives that are less harsh—tea tree oil is one popular alternative to treat acne in a more gentle manner.
There are two parts of your face that are often overlooked when tackling dry skin. The eyes and lips are very sensitive areas, and though their surface area is much smaller than the rest of your face, both of these areas are especially vulnerable to dryness.
- Simply talking, eating and drinking throughout the day is enough to cause your lips to feel dry, so it’s a good idea to keep a nourishing lip balm or ointment in your pocket or purse and be mindful to reapply it as soon as you feel it’s worn off. Then, again before bedtime, re-apply it once more and it will have a good stretch of time while you sleep to help restore and heal any chapping or peeling.
- Special attention is also needed to the area around and under your eyes as it is thinner and more delicate. Eye creams may contain similar ingredients to your facial moisturizer, but the efficacy is specific for this area.
Your face is just another part of your body that can be affected by from the inside out, so what you’re eating and drinking can be helpful, or harmful to your dry skin situation. Try to incorporate
lots of healthy fats into your daily diet. Good choices are salmon, coconut and olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake as they both have an adverse affect and dehydrate your body. Probably the most basic step is to drink plenty of water to help hydrate your skin from the inside out.
Once you’ve got the dry skin situation under control and that nice healthy, supple glow is back, upkeep is key to avoiding a relapse. Maintain your daily routine—morning and night—with the products that gave you success, and you’ll have good reason to smile back when you show up in front of the mirror next time.
About the author: Yaffa Baslaw (@yadeinu) is a Freelance Writer with over a decade of experience copywriting and blogging compelling content. She has written for more than 20 companies in the fields of healthcare, skincare, and retail.