even though the snow hasn’t yet settled in New England, it’s still officially winter folks, & I know all too well how awful this season can be for skin—especially if you’re prone eczema, allergies, dryness, sensitivities & immunity issues…like me. stale air, cold air, heat of all kinds, lack of sunshine (for those of us who get that the sun is actually a healing force rather than a force of evil J)…I hate the feeling of dry, rough hands on my favorite silk shirt, or looking in my magnifying mirror at a flaky face (which in turn promotes blemishing…it’s all a crazy cycle)! &, don’t get me starting on that tight feeling when you stretch your lips into too big a smile & it actually causes a tear in the flesh! worst of all? thinking you’d solved your eczema problem, when bam! it returns as if to the scene of the crime…like it was waiting under the surface all along…for you to get comfy…
& then, of course, there’s the great shower lie. the hot water & steam feels great while you’re in it, but the minute you dry off, you’re actually more dehydrated than before. huh?
it’s not all gloom & doom & darkness by 4:30 though—if you add a few simple steps to your daily & weekly routine, you really can have smooth & hydrated skin all year long. so without further ado, here are my top 10 tried & true maintenance points for winter skincare:
1. apply a pure body oil right out of the shower, while your skin is still damp (in fact, all moisturizers are best applied while damp from bathing, washing, wetting the skin – water / toner brings moisture into the skin)
2. use a thick, dense, synthetic-free body balm on top of that for sublimely smooth, dryness-free, eczema-free (if you are good & use your body scrub…skin! yes, on top of your oil—sounds decadent, but it’s not overkill, I promise, when you use a completely absorbable oil that matches your skin chemistry & really forms that base of moisture you need.
3. use your hand lotion & lip balm all day long—keep a bottle & tube on your desk at work & another on your bedside table.
4. don’t think a facial cream applied once a day is gonna cut it. in winter especially, a reapplication is key to great looking, feeling & BEING skin. a touch of toner or even mineral water spray helps it absorb without the need to massage in & smear your makeup.
5. use an exfoliate on your lips once a week, then follow up with lip butter to kiss cracked, peeling lips goodbye. (a dry toothbrush can work too, but I’d use both for best results).
6. speaking of which: exfoliate. exfoliate. & exfoliate some more! slough those dead cells to make room for the fresh new flesh, then moisturize it like crazy to a baby soft smooth texture.
7. take a steam or sauna now & then. it’s great for detoxifying the body, your overall circulation & boosting your immune system. adding essential oils gives added glow to your skin & mood. lavender is great here as both stimulant & relaxant!
8. it’s a fallacy that you have to wash your face day & night. once daily (end of the day is most important for this reason…) with a moisturizing cleanser is fine, unless your work or hobbies expose you to lots of grit & grime. in winter, you want to do all you can to retain that moisture layer.
9. don’t use super-hot water in the shower—it’ll seriously dry out your skin, & substitute a body oil every other day for soap. oils are wonderful cleansers that lift the dirt from your body without removing essential oils. you don’t have to have a squeaky rinse to be clean, I swear.
10. look for body products that contain coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter & other truly natural ingredients. stay away from synthetics like parabens & sodium lauryl sulfate because they are impostors! they only ACT like they are thick & moisturizing, but in reality strip your skin rather than nourishing it.
I can honestly report that since adopting this regimen (especially scrub & moisturize), my skin stays well-hydrated & so soft all year. I may occasionally have a touch of tight feeling hands (‘cause I never wear gloves!), but I never have rough skin, chapped lips, scaling, bumps, or blemishes throughout whatever harsh winter weather my hometown of Chicago & my adopted home state of Massachusetts throw at me… & you can too.
so let it snow! please?