Let’s cut the chase and get straight to the problem, winter presents some truly annoying skincare challenges, more so than any other season.
The harsh conditions during this time of year can affect our skin in a way that causes a cascade of issues. It can be hard to know where to start when you’re trying to get your skin back on track. To help you stay on point with your skin during the winters, here are six of the most common winter skin concerns I see and my solutions for combating them.
1. Dry, Chapped Lips
There’s nothing worse than going to apply a beautiful lipstick or tinted gloss, only to realize it’s accentuating chapped, cracked lips. Not only this, but dry lips can be pretty painful! Our lips are different from the rest of our skin because they don’t produce oil. Combine this with the fact that they experience a lot of wear and tear (talking, eating, kissing, drinking, etc.) and it can be a real challenge to keep them hydrated.
Here are a few of my expert tips that will have you on your way to smoother kissable lips in no time:
- Look for a lip balm with occlusive ingredients. This includes ingredients like shea butter or avocado oil. These will create a protective seal over the lips to keep moisture in.
- Try a gentle sugar scrub or gentle washcloth. This will remove dead, flaky skin that’s built up so your lip balm can be more effective. You can also use a soft, damp washcloth and gently wipe over the lips to remove superficial dryness. Protect your lips with SPF. So important!
- A lot of people overlook this, but sun exposure can cause irritation and dryness. It’s best to wear a lip product with an SPF every day.
- Try sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom. This can help address the root cause of dry winter lips and “recharge” your moisture levels so you’re ready for the day ahead!
- Do not pull off dry skin. It’s tempting when the skin is dry to want to pull it off but as you have maybe experienced before, this can make the lips bleed if you remove skin that is still attached to live skin cells. Ouch! Keep in mind, it’s not just about how you treat chapped lips. It’s also about what you do to prevent them from getting there in the first place.
2. Cracked Heels
Cracked heels seem to get worse and worse as winter drags on, and this can be a real annoyance come spring once it’s time to wear flip-flops again. The feet don’t naturally retain much moisture, so once the air gets cold and dry, cracked heels are almost inevitable. Staying on top of them and preventing cracking in the first place is so much easier than trying to correct dry, damaged heels all at once.
So, what can you do? You can stay on top of your heals by using the healing file in the shower at least every other night, and every night, I personally slather a thick ointment on my feet (my go-to is Aquaphor- an old classic). Then, I put on a pair of cotton socks to wear overnight. This prevents moisture from escaping and really helps force the ointment to soak into my feet. I also suggest wearing socks during the day as much as possible since this will prevent moisture loss to some degree.
Bonus: Put a foot cream on during the day, too.
3. Dry, Flaky Skin on the Face
This has to be one of the most common skincare complaints I hear from clients during winter. It’s not always easy to identify what’s causing dry, flaky skin on someone’s face, but the fact is, a damaged moisture barrier almost always comes into play. It can be really challenging to keep your skin’s natural moisture barrier intact during this unforgiving season.
Cold temperatures and low humidity cause the dry air to pull water out of your skin (dry air is greedy and will steal moisture from anywhere it can). This damages your barrier and causes tiny, invisible cracks in the skin. Moisture escapes through these cracks making it even harder for your skin to retain it. It’s truly a vicious cycle.
Exfoliating will lift off surface dryness (digest all the dead skin cells) so that your hydrating products (serums and moisturizers) can get straight to work instead of sitting on top of a layer of dead skin.
As far as I’m concerned, there are four things that truly give skin a “glowy” appearance:
* small pores and smooth texture
* good blood circulation
* an even skin tone
* moisture in the skin
Getting moisture levels up in your skin is key if you want a glow, so you’ll definitely want to focus on maintaining a healthy moisture barrier this winter. To do that you have to make sure your serums are applied generously and in the order that you were explained to apply them.
5. Dry Skin on the Body
It’s not just our faces and décolletage that suffer from dry skin during winter! It’s easy to neglect the skin on the rest of your body, but you’ll want to step it up once the temperatures go down. The main problems you want to avoid are itchy and/or bumpy skin. Itchy, flaky skin is uncomfortable and no fun, but beyond that, excessive scratching may damage your skin. When the skin gets dry, it can also get bumpy (especially on the arms and legs). I prefer to stay on top of this so that, come spring, my skin is ready for warmer-weather clothes again!
For starters, you’ll want to remove dry, dead skin cells a few times a week by gently scrubbing them off. This can be done in the shower using a loofah, exfoliating cloth/glove (one of my clients calls it the “Michael Jackson glove” :)), or sea salt/sugar scrub.
If you’re prone to bumps and need a little extra help, you may want to reach for a cleanser that contains glycolic for smoothing the skin (yes they can be used on the body too).
6. Redness and Sensitivity
If you have sensitive skin—or conditions like eczema or rosacea which cause sensitivity—this can be a hard time of year. Even if you don’t normally suffer from sensitivity, winter has a tendency to bring it out. The most common type of sensitivity during the winter is dry/dehydrated sensitivity.
- If you’re experiencing heightened redness, tightness, rough texture, or a stinging/burning sensation, here’s what I suggest.
- Cut back on exfoliation. Sensitive skin is inflamed skin, and exfoliating already inflamed skin can definitely make things worse. Cut back for a bit until things are under control.
- Use a gentle milky cleanser. I prefer a cleansing lotion (such as Peptide Sensi Cleanse) if your skin is dry and a hydrating gel if your skin is oily
(such as Biotic Mangosteen cleanse)
- Start using a toner and Stem cell serum to repair the skin barrier. Something soothing and hydrating like Lipid refresh is great, even for oilier skin types.
- Use a moisturizer with barrier-repairing ingredients such as Manuka infused lipid cream.
I hope you found this helpful and that it helps you achieve healthy, hydrated, and glowing skin.
At Spela Skincare and Waxing, we believe in trusting in the skin’s intelligence and, for that reason, strive to work with it, instead of against it by developing products that feed the skin the appropriate nutrition it needs in order to thrive.
If you’re interested in scheduling for a consultation, but live too far away, we also offer a virtual consultation as well as distance skin coaching.
Book your consultation now and let us be your partner in achieving beautiful and healthy skin.