Don’t let falling temps wreak havoc on your face. Here’s how to defend your skin this winter.
Why You Need To Moisturize
The goal, then, is to get more moisture back into the skin and make sure that it stays there. This has as much to do with certain lifestyle choices as it does with what you put on your skin. The amount of water you drink and the humidity of your environment, for example, will always have an impact on your skin’s condition. If you have to have the radiator on, at least stick a bowl of water next to it so the air isn’t completely parched (or, if you’re really fancy, buy a humidifier). Equally, avoid jumping from extremely hot to extremely cold environments, as this will just increase sensitivity.
It’s worth acknowledging that the hydrolipid film (the force field designed to hydrate and protect the skin) is 20% to 40% ceramide, and you can top it up by making some small adjustments to your diet. Anything containing the EFAs (essential fatty acids) omega-3 and omega-6 will help lock moisture into the skin. Flax seeds, linseed oil, evening primrose oils and fish oils are all worth checking out. Better yet, just chow down on a tuna steak or some mackerel every once in a while.
Key Ingredients To Look For
In terms of skin care, you’ll need to up your game. If you’re used to a lightweight gel, it might be worth switching to a denser cream for the next few months. And if you can manage to use a hydrating serum underneath your moisturizer, that’s even better — the smaller molecular structure of a serum means it will penetrate even deeper into the skin and provide more nourishment. It should go without saying that “paint stripper”-strength face wash or anything too harsh should go in the trash can. A really alkaline soap, for example, will throw the pH level of your skin off balance and just cause more problems. You want to nourish the skin, not strip it.
As such, there are some key ingredients to look out for when rethinking your winter skin care routine:
Hyaluronic acid is a great plumper, capable of holding up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. Don’t get startled by the acid part — hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the skin and in joint fluid, although the actual amount declines with age.
Sodium PCA (sodium salt of pyroglutamic acid) is another naturally occurring humectant that actively draws moisture from the air and then binds it to the skin.
Urea is a natural emollient found in the epidermis that’s responsible for keeping skin hydrated (and, no, it has nothing to do with urine). It’s ideal for chronically dry or flaky skin because it encourages cells to absorb and retain moisture.
Glycerin is a humectant that actively draws moisture toward the skin and traps it there. Most creams containing glycerin will be goopier than your average men’s moisturizer. Give your skin a couple of weeks to get used to the new consistency and you won’t notice the heaviness after a while.
Perhaps the most common skin care myth during winter months is that you can’t get sunburned. UV exposure is UV exposure, regardless of the season. If you plan on skiing this winter, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunblock on the slopes. Up to 80% of UV rays bounce off white snow, making exposed facial skin particularly vulnerable to damage.