We are only a few days away from the winter solstice. The days are getting darker sooner, and there’s a cold chill in the air. For those of us in Boise, we’ve gotten our first snow of the season — and there’s lots more to come!
Snow and winter can be beautiful and magical. But it can also do a number on our skin. As the seasons change, it may be hard for your skin to adjust to the cold. So with the temperature dropping, I wanted to go over some ways to keep your skin glowing during the winter season.
Top Winter Skin Care Concerns
The two most common complaints I hear during the chilly season are dry skin and dull appearance. Let’s explore why our skin can take a turn for the worse this time of the year.
Dry Skin in Winter
Your skin can get dry and cracked in the winter. Why? It’s a combination of low humidity levels and a drop in temperature.
Low humidity levels during winter mean that there is less moisture in the air for the skin to absorb. As a result, the outer layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, is more prone to dryness. Indoor heating systems can only make matters worse by sapping the moisture from the air and leaving the skin dry and tight.
Plus, colder temperatures tend to decrease the skin's natural oil production. Cold temperatures can constrict blood vessels, reducing blood flow to your skin and impacting its ability to retain moisture. The combo of low humidity and cold temperatures creates an environment where the skin's natural barrier function is compromised. Ultimately, this leads to increased water loss and dryness.
Dull Skin in Winter
In winter, days are shorter, and time out in the sun is cut down. Sunlight is essential for the production of vitamin D, which matters for skin health. Reduced sunlight exposure can lead to a decline in vitamin D levels. This impacts the skin's ability to regenerate and look vibrant. Lack of sunlight also affects the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin, potentially contributing to dull and lackluster skin.
Besides less sunlight, indoor heating and the cold temperatures come into play again. When they strip the skin of its natural oils, you are also prone to a dull complexion. During winter, you also have a higher buildup of dead skin cells, which contributes to a lack of radiance. Less sunshine mixed with less oil production is a recipe for dull skin.
Dos and Don’ts for Winter Skin Care
#1. Taking Blazing Hot Showers
Hot showers can be so tempting, especially in chilly weather, but too much time under hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils. These oils act as a protective barrier, preventing moisture loss. Hot water breaks down this barrier, which leads to dryness and irritation.
What to do instead: Adjust your shower or bath water to a lukewarm temperature. This helps to cleanse the skin effectively without compromising its natural oils. Shorter hot showers also minimize exposure to water, reducing the likelihood of dehydration and dryness.
#2. Using Harsh Exfoliants
Over-exfoliating your skin in winter can leave your skin dry and irritated. Harsh exfoliants may strip away the protective layer of the skin, leaving it more vulnerable to the harsh winter weather.
What to do instead: During your weekly skin care routine, limit exfoliation to 1-2 times and choose gentler exfoliants suitable for colder months. Opt for exfoliants with ingredients like glycolic acid or lactic acid. These exfoliants help to slough off dead skin cells, promoting a brighter complexion without causing excessive dryness.
#3. Skipping Sunscreen
Despite the cooler temperatures and overcast skies, UV rays can still penetrate the skin during winter. Sunscreen is a year-round necessity to protect against the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays.
What to do instead: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, and hands, to safeguard against premature aging and skin damage.
#4. Overusing Heaters
Indoor heating systems can reduce humidity levels and sap moisture from the skin. Extended exposure to artificial heat can dehydrate your skin, making it more prone to dryness, flakiness, and discomfort.
What to do instead: Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, and set the thermostat to a moderate temperature. Dress in layers to regulate body temperature without relying solely on heaters to help promote a more skin-friendly indoor environment.
#5. Ignoring Lip Care
The delicate skin on the lips is particularly susceptible to dryness and chapping during winter. Ignoring lip care can lead to discomfort and cracking, not to mention distracting from your pretty smile.
What to do instead: Look for hydrating lip balm with ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil. Occasionally exfoliate the lips with a gentle scrub to remove dead skin, promote softness, and prevent chapping.
#6. Not Considering Your Hands and Feet
Hands and feet lack the same oil glands as the face, making them more prone to dryness and roughness, especially in colder weather. Neglecting these areas can result in discomfort and visible signs of neglect.
What to do instead: Use rich, emollient creams or ointments to moisturize hands and feet regularly. Wearing gloves and socks in harsh weather helps retain moisture and protect these vulnerable areas from the elements.
#7. Wearing Damp Clothes
Wearing damp clothing for extended periods can add to skin irritation and discomfort. Dampness creates an environment for bacteria to grow and can worsen existing skin conditions.
What to do instead: Change out of wet clothes promptly, especially after activities like snow sports or exposure to rain/snow. This prevents prolonged contact with damp fabrics and reduces the risk of skin issues.
#8. Overdoing Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration, which robs the skin of essential moisture during a time where your skin is already low in it. Excessive consumption of these substances may also exacerbate the appearance of dull skin.
What to do instead: Balance is everything. Practice moderation when consuming caffeine and alcohol. It’s also important to increase your water intake to counteract the dehydrating effects of the season.
#9. Eating an Unhealthy Diet
Comfort food is tempting this time of the year. But beware because a poor diet lacking essential nutrients can manifest in your skin's appearance. Since dry skin in winter is already common, adding in a lack of proper nutrition can cause problems.
What to do instead: For both skin and hair health, nutrition plays an important role. Look to eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These provide the vitamins and antioxidants necessary for maintaining skin health and a radiant complexion.
#10. Stressing and Not Enough Self-Care
Stress does a number on your body, from your hair growth to your skin. And stress can be an even bigger bummer during the winter months. If you’re trying to recover after a busy holiday season, your skin health can already be in jeopardy. Add in your everyday stress and worries, and it might trigger various skin issues, including breakouts, sensitivity, and a dull complexion.
What to do instead: If your skin is struggling, it might be your body’s way of saying to slow down. Prioritize stress management and self-care. Spend more time on hobbies that bring you joy and relaxing activities such as gratitude journaling, meditation, and yoga. Getting plenty of sleep can also help your body better process stress and recover.
Our Recommendations for Winter Skin Care
It’s in the name, but here at HAIRLOVE we spend a lot of time talking about hair. Well, we also know skin is a big part of your everyday life and happiness! And it’s incredible the overlap between hair and skin, so we find ourselves talking more and more about skin health. If you want to give your skin more TLC over the winter months, here’s our top five recommendations.
- Growth Complex: Our Growth Complex is primarily meant to support hair growth, but it also has many benefits for skin! Our main ingredient Cynatine HNS helps repair and promote healthy hair, nails, and — you got it — skin. Growth Complex is also packed full of nutrients like biotin, which is popular to help boost skin quality.
- Derma Roller: Derma rolling is a treatment where you use a special handheld tool to create micro punctures in the skin. This increases cell turnover and stimulates collagen production, which has tons of benefits for your skin. For example, it helps reduce the appearance of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, and overall rough skin texture. Our Derma Roller has been specially designed to use on skin and also your scalp to stimulate hair growth.
- Nourish + Repair Serum: Our Nourish + Repair Serum, made of 100% organic argan oil, is a great option for anti-aging, protection from the sun, supporting skin against acne, and hydrating dry skin. Because it's easily absorbed and regulates the pH balance of the skin and hair, it helps keep your skin smooth, soft, and moisturized.
- Beauty Sleep Complex: Sleep has countless benefits for your well-being, including healthy skin! This is where our Beauty Sleep Complex comes in for those needing some extra help in the sleep department. This natural sleep formula helps you fall asleep fast, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
- Silk Beauty Pillowcase: Did you know that silk helps your skin stay silky smooth? Using a silk pillowcase while you sleep is great for your hair and your skin to keep moisture where it should be — your skin and scalp! Our Silk Beauty Pillowcase helps protect your delicate facial skin, minimizes germs and dirt collecting, and is even hypoallergenic.
Well, there you have it — my dos and don’ts for skin care in winter and my top recommendations for happy skin. During the long winter weeks, I’m sending you all the best vibes. Stay warm out there and don’t let dry or dull skin get you down — you totally got this!