Winter months affect the skin with an intensity that once experienced is not soon forgotten.
I will never forget the winter of 1996 as a teenager in New York. Overnight the sky dumped 20+ inches of snow that buried the city. At a stature of a mere 60 inches, this was slightly terrifying to me.
When the snow stopped and life resumed, there were areas everywhere with snow pushed into towering mounds. We had to burrow a hole from our steps to the sidewalks where tunnels were dug through massive snow piles in an effort to make the city accessible for pedestrians.
I was too short to see much except snow everywhere I looked. I recall having so many layers on I felt like I was waddling around like a penguin through a life-size maze of snow tunnels. This was my first snowstorm experience and I recall internally laughing at the absurdity of it all.
the cold takes a toll on the skin
The comedy stopped when my skin started cracking. Before that winter blizzard, I never knew skin could split open from a walk outside in the cold. On my way to sled in the park my lips cracked open at the corners and began bleeding, the rim of my nose became too blistered to touch without wincing and my cheeks burned from the wind.
Winter Skin Care is serious business
Eventually seeking escape indoors it was a big surprise that even indoors my skin didn’t feel much better. Everything took weeks to heal. The skin scars faded long after the snow melted away but the memory remains strong to this day.
Now, well versed in skin care with a decade of study, analyzing, testing and discovering useful tricks, I am certain that will never happen again and I am confident that you can prevent it, too.
5 Ways To Take Care of Skin in Winter Naturally
I hope the below tips prevent a typical winter skin experience and help you maintain healthy vibrant skin as temperatures drop and the winter chill settles in.
Read on for my Top 5 Tips to keep your skin dewy and glowing all winter long.
1. Bring in the Humidity
Don’t underestimate the skin damage you can get from being inside your house!
It is obvious that we need to protect our skin from the elements outside, but many don’t realize the damage that heating systems cause our skin.
How your heater is harming your skin
Heating units dissolve air moisture. With less moisture in the air, our skin further dehydrates and begins to fade to a dull tone making it appear as though the vibrance has been wiped away. Adding moisture to the air increases the humidity in your home and helps keep your skin hydrated.
Quick and easy DIY ways to add moisture to the air:
Boil water on the stove or place a metal or ceramic dish of water on top of your radiator or on a windowsill with sunshine, helping it warm and slowly evaporate, infusing moisture into the air.
And don't forget about your diffuser! I particularly love this option. Adding essential oils to a diffuser can make the air moist and smell amazing at the same time.
Don’t underestimate the power of your diet to influence your skin!
It is not a new concept that diet affects the skin. These are my personal favorite fixes for winter dryness and dehydration through diet.
Skip the caffeine
Caffeine is super dehydrating. For a skin-friendly alternative make warm lemon mint water. A personal favorite winter treat of mine is floating fresh mint leaves, a drizzle of honey and lemon slices in hot water.
With steam billowing trails of moisture into the air and the delight of the citrus and herbs this drink has never lost its charm for me and is a very healthy skin alternative to caffeine.
Load up on omega-rich foods
Eat omega-rich foods, also known as the “good fats”. Omega-3s are a crucial part of your skin’s lipid (fat) content and help bolster its barrier function, which, when working properly, acts like a seal that keeps moisture in and irritants out.
To get these good fats into your diet, add foods such as avocado, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, salmon and walnuts.
3. Don't Neglect Hand + Foot Care
Don’t forget about your extremities!
Your hands and feet need some extra love in the winter to maintain their moisture and remain strong through the cold season.
a hand and foot ritual
My personal favorite way to care for my hands and feet that is a quick and easy nightly (or weekly) ritual is to select my favorite oil or rich balm, gently rub it all over my hands and feet, then apply warm cozy socks n gloves while sleeping.
You wake up rewarded with the smoothest feet and hands, motivated to do this again and again!
4. Cold Weather Care for Eyes, Eye Lashes + Lips
Did you know your most delicate areas are actually very easy to care for?
These fragile elements of our body are actually quick and easy to take care of, once you know my hacks for quick care rituals.
Dry Eye care
For eyes, keep a dropper of saline solution near your morning facial care area. Before applying skin care products in the morning, during winter months, I put a few drops of saline into each eye to help remoisten them after a night of sleep and the dry air of winter heating.
Eyelash care (DIY)
For eyelashes, there are nourishing lash treatments in tubes similar to mascara that you can buy. BUT, we tend to prefer DIYs around here.
For a home DIY solution before bed, put a single drop of coconut oil on a clean brow wand and brush onto the eyelash ends for a quick eyelash oil treatment while you sleep.
Preventing Chapped Lips
The lips have multiple ways of being cared for.
You can purchase special lip scrubs, or for a daily quick trick DIY option, you can use your toothbrush at the end of brushing your teeth to gently brush your lips.
I have yummy lip scrubs which I really enjoy when my lips need extra care, but this little life hack makes the frequency that I exfoliate my lips happen way more often!
As for lip nourishment I strongly advise to use natural oils, not petrolatum products. Petrolatum is an occlusive ingredient that acts as a barrier on your skin.
This can protect your skin from outside elements but when overused, lips can become addicted. The skin stops working to maintain its own hydration level and feels immediately dry when the petrolatum is not coating your lips, triggering you to apply and reapply repeatedly to combat the dry sensation.
Instead, select natural lip balms with butters, oils, and waxes for nourishing protection without the addiction.
5. Adjust Your Facial Skin Care Routine for Winter
As the weather changes, you should make adjustments to your skin care regimen!
In the winter, your skin loses more than 25 percent of its ability to hold moisture. Skin experiences a drastic drop in hydration with outside humidity levels plummeting and the addition of moisture dissolving indoor heating.
Best winter skin care adjustments:
Oils help protect your skin and maintain its elasticity. Without enough nourishment, the skin can become brittle and crack as I shared of my personal winter experience. So, in the winter these are my favorite adjustments to make to maintain dewy glowing skin all winter long.
Adding this step before your cleanser calms your skin and soothes it from the days' harsh environment. Simply work a few drops over the face, feel free to also pre-cleanse the lips if you’re using all natural pure oil products and wash off with a lukewarm washcloth.
Even if you have oily skin, if you are experiencing very dry winter skin making the switch to a gentle ph balanced cream cleanser can help maintain the integrity of your skin and its ability to repair itself.
There are many types of masks on the market. In the winter months, you want to select primarily moisture masks or gentle enzymes (honey, papaya, apple, pineapple). These enzymes gently exfoliate, smooth and soothe the skin which in turn boosts its ability to absorb your serums and moisturizers more effectively.
(If you're looking for specific products, our Coconut Honey Mask here at Annmarie Skin Care is an incredible moisturizing mask, perfect for the winter months.)
Luke warm water
Not hot or cold. This is a small thing that can make a big difference. Too hot water can dehydrate your skin, so making sure to err on the cooler side to not add to the skins dehydration levels.
Hyaluronic Acid or Tremella
These 2 special ingredients hold onto more than 1,000 times their weight in water. By applying these ingredients to the skin you effectively boost your skins ability to hold onto greater levels of moisture.
This is needed and makes a big difference in the winter when numerous factors are dehydrating the skin. These ingredients counterbalance the hydration loss and boost your skin with a dewy hydrated glow.
(If you're looking for specific products, ourProbiotic Serum with Tremella here at Annmarie Skin Care is an ultra hydrating formula, designed to protect against environmental stressors.)
Give your skin the love it deserves
I hope these special tips help you treat your skin with ease and leave you feeling protected, nourished and confident in your skin throughout the winter season.
One of my favorite winter quotes…
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus