Three Simple Steps to Save Your Skin This Winter
Does your skin tend to get drier during the winter months? Do you experience cracking and flaking, roughness and redness, or even deeper, more noticeable fine lines and wrinkles? These are all common skin care problems that come with the cold, but according to celebrity facialist and LING Skincare owner, Ling Chan, you can still easily maintain glowing, hydrated skin right through the deepest freeze. Here is Ling with her simple tips to help you maintain healthy skin during the wintertime.
From December through March, many people who live in the Northern Hemisphere have to deal with serious weather extremes. The combination of cold and wind from the outside and heat from the inside can be very damaging for the skin, causing dryness, redness, irritation, and even wrinkles for people who generally don’t experience those problems any other time of the year. With the winter weather playing such a big part in how our skin looks, feels, and ages, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep it hydrated and protected.
Step Up Your Exfoliating Routine, Gently
The first step is to increase your exfoliation regimen to between two and three times per week. If you don’t exfoliate regularly, now is the time to start. Our skin moves through a cycle every 28 days where, just like a snake, old skin cells die and fall off and new skin cells come to the surface. Harsh winter conditions can increase the amount of dead skin, which can make it harder for cells to come off naturally. A gentle exfoliation routine can help dead cells break free, allowing for fresh cells to reach the surface more easily. Why is this so important? If you don’t remove the dead layer, the skin can’t absorb the vitamins and nutrients in your products, which means it can’t accept and retain moisture and heal itself. It is important to note that while you should be exfoliating more often, you should not use a scrub that is in any way abrasive. Winter skin is often very sensitive and vulnerable, and a harsh scrub will likely cause further irritation. Try a gentle formula made with papaya, pineapple, or pumpkin which contains natural enzymes that, when activated with warm water, will eat up all the dead cells and allow your skin to breathe.
Ramp Up Your Hydration with a Secret Ingredient
Because the skin has been blocked up by dead cells, it’s likely very dehydrated. If you use a hydrating toner, this is an excellent first step, but winter weather often calls for something that’s a bit stronger than just water alone. Facial oils are often popular for their ultra-hydrating properties and our clients love squalane oil, an olive derivative which is a natural healer and can help the skin accept and retain water to keep it hydrated. By using a hydrating toner combined with an absorbable oil, you can keep the moisture in the skin and slow down the aging process. My favorite winter hydrator is our Dual Moisture Emulsion which pairs squalane oil with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Don’t forget to focus on your eye area too. If you’ve noticed that crows feet and fine lines seem more noticeable in the winter time, it’s because that part of the skin doesn’t have oil glands, which makes it naturally much drier than the rest of the face. Be sure to keep this area especially hydrated.
Forget the Super Thick Moisturizer
The biggest mistake people make during the winter is layering thick heavy moisturizer on their skin in an effort to repair the seasonal dryness. Moisturizing creams are very good at protecting the skin, but their formulation is too thick to actually penetrate even the very top layer. By putting moisturizer on dehydrated skin, you’re actually causing a blockage which can further dehydrate and damage the cells. The reason people make this mistake is because when they put moisturizer on, they skin instantly feels softer, which makes them think it’s being repaired. Unfortunately this result is only topical and temporary. Think of it this way - if you layer a thick cream onto a dry sponge, it may soften a little where there is contact with the cream, but the rest of the sponge will stay dry. On the other hand, if you apply water to a sponge, it will immediately soften and expand. Our skin works the same way. It doesn’t matter how thick the moisturizer is, it won’t offer any help at all until the skin is properly hydrated.
For gorgeous skin all winter long, exfoliate regularly with a natural, soft granule scrub, step up your hydration with an absorbable oil such as squalane and don’t rely on thick creams to deliver the moisture you need to keep your skin happy. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a healthy glow for the holidays and right through to spring.