1) Use a gentle non-stripping cleanser. When needed, use a gentle exfoliator in lieu of a cleanser. During the colder months try to avoid more stripping cleansers because your skin really needs to retain its natural oils. I rotate my cleansers all year round, and I tend to reach for more moisturizing cleansers during the colder months of the year.
2) Add a moisture or hydration rich serum. Serums, such as hyaluronic acid, deliver much needed hydration to winter skin. Gently massage the serum into your face, neck and décolleté. Since this is the lightest of the product layers that you will be using, it should be applied first.
3) Consider adding oils into your beauty routine. Oils are such a great moisture delivery system, and while they aren't for everyone-- they are the gold standard for many people (myself included). There are so many different face oils to choose from on the market right now, and they are available from those economically priced to those in the upper tiers of the luxury price range- so they can accommodate every budget.
4) Massage your favorite lotion or cream into your face, neck and décolleté. Once it has been absorbed into your skin, then proceed to the final step.
5) Since sunscreen is one of the most important skincare products that you can use, invest in a good one that has an SPF 30 or higher. Apply it generously to your face, neck and décolleté, and be sure to reapply it numerous times throughout the day (typically every 75 minutes).
6) Remember exposure to indoor heaters followed by outdoor cold air wreaks havoc on your skin- as it is given no time to recover from these extreme conditions (each being extreme in their own right). This is a good time to switch up your moisturizer in favor of something more nourishing and hydrating. I always use a face oil as a serum beneath my moisturizer AM and PM. This leaves my skin super hydrated, soft, and with a gorgeous glow.
7) Speaking of your neck, chest and hands-– don't forget to moisturize them!! They will bear the brunt of much of your exposure to the elements, and will likely age at a more rapid pace than your face-- in large part because we often neglect them. Do to these areas what you do to your face–otherwise your neck, chest and hands will sustain more damage and appear more aged than your face. Use richer creams specifically targeted for these areas, or just something richer and more emollient than you might normally use.
8) Consider a nighttime serum to help reverse environmental damage. Nighttime is when your skin naturally goes into repair mode– so giving it a little help can go a long way. Many active serums contain ingredients that cause photo-sensitivity, and for that reason alone should never be used during the day. It's also important to use a high SPF sunscreen during the day when you add such products into your routine. When in doubt, consult your doctor or dermatologist-- I do that all of the time!! Sometimes a little spot on the face may actually be precancerous, or worse yet cancer. Therefore, before taking it upon yourself to treat pesky spots with over-the-counter products, consult with your doctor. One can do far more damage than good when applying cosmetic and cosmeceutical products unwittingly to cancerous or precancerous lesions or spots. When in doubt- go see a dermatologist, seriously. Your doctor can also look over the ingredients in your serum and tell you whether or not they should be avoided.
9) Don't forget your delicate eye area– and it may require a slightly richer eye cream during the colder months. This is tricky for me since rich eye creams often give me milia- so I tend to look for moisture rich eye creams that are lighter in texture, rather than thick dense ones that generally cause me so much trouble.
10) Don't forget about your lips! You may want to exfoliate your lips periodically, but be sure to do it gently. They will need more moisture than usual- especially if you plan to partake in some of the seasons on trend lipsticks. My trick is to always apply just a small dab of lip balm under all of my lip products. This locks in moisture, and when applied sparingly functions as an effective lip primer.
11) Haircare– This is a good time to use a clarifying shampoo to remove all product build-up, and then use your favorite deep conditioner or mask to keep your hair happy and conditioned during the colder weather.
12) This is also a good time to gently exfoliate your body, and perhaps to switch from lighter lotions to richer ones. I like to exfoliate my skin, and then with my skin still slightly damp I apply an emollient rich body oil sparingly. You will be surprised just how quickly it is absorbed when your skin is still warm and damp- plus it's a great trick to use less product. They come in all price ranges- so there really is something for everyone. I am thoroughly obsessed with body oils and I find them to be a very effective and pleasant way of delivering superb hydration to the skin. If your skin still needs more moisture- add your favorite body butter or moisturizer on top, and you will immediately see and feel the difference! I always apply sunscreen to all exposed skin to protect it since the sun during the winter can still do plenty of damage to the skin.
At night, repeat steps 1-4 and skip the sunscreen. These steps will only take you a few minutes, and the benefits are really worth the time spent. I also drink plenty of water to help keep hydrated– which helps a lot. What do you do to care for your skin during the winter?
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