Winter Skin Care
When winter weather approaches and temperatures drop, you might find yourself wanting to linger a little longer in the shower under a full stream of hot water. However, a hot shower is not the best choice for your skin. Cold weather automatically dries out your skin and may result in dull, flaking, or damaged skin that is prone to cracking.
Why is Your Skin so Prone to be DRY in the Winter?
Along with the drying effect of turning up the heat to stay warm, your skin is combating an increased water evaporation rate. A higher water vapor pressure increases the rate of water evaporation on your skin. Water vapor pressure is a measure of the difference between the temperature between two different surfaces.
The greater the temperature difference, the higher the water vapor pressure is. Think of going past a lake on a crisp autumn morning with thick streams of steam rising off the surface.
In the fall, when air temperature drops at night, the lake’s water has retained the previous day’s heat. In the early morning, the water is warmer than the air. When the water temperature is significantly higher than the air temperature the rate of evaporation increases. In the summer, we know evaporation is happening. But with falling air temperatures, we physically see evaporation happening due to the increased water vapor pressure.
The exact same thing happens in the winter when you step out of a hot shower or bath. During the winter, the air is much colder than the water on your skin, thereby, increasing the water vapor pressure. The higher the water vapor pressure the more rapid the rate of evaporation drying out your skin.
Four Suggestion to Keep your Winter Skin Barrier Soft and Moist
- Use a humidifier during the winter months to offset the dryness of the air in your home. Furnaces and stoves pump out hot, dry air. All that dry air evaporates every available water droplet including the moisture on your skin.
- Stay hydrated. Drink an extra 8-16 ounces of water a day to combat your skin’s water evaporation.
- Use These Tips to Reduce the Rate of Evaporation on Your Skin.
- Keep your bathroom door closed while showering and dressing. Keeping the warm, humid air from your shower/bath in a confined space will reduce the rate of evaporation on your skin.
Dermatologist, Angela Lamb, suggests applying a natural oil before bathing to protect your skin from drying out. For the face, she suggests using rose oil, rosehip oil, argan oil, or tea tree oil. For the body, coconut oil works fine.
Rose oil, rosehip oil, argan oil contain large amounts of natural antioxidants to help combat the damaging effects of free radicals. Unchecked free radicals age the skin by breaking down collagen resulting in brown spots, wrinkles, and saggy skin.
Bathe or shower in warm instead of hot water. Keep the total amount of time you are in the bath or shower to 5-10 minutes. By reducing your water temperature and your bath/shower time, you decrease the water vapor pressure and therefore the evaporation rate.
Use a small amount of a fragrance-free, gentle body wash. Products with added fragrances dry out the skin. A hydrating cleanser containing glycerin may be best for especially dry skin.
You need just a small amount of body wash to cleanse your skin. A thick lather of body wash means you’ve used too much. Using too much body wash robs the skin of moisture.
Once out of the water, gently blot your skin dry with a towel. Do not rub vigorously. A vigorous rub is exfoliating and quickly dries out the skin.
Once the skin is surface dry, lock in moisture by generously slathering a ceramide-based moisturizer on it. If dealing with extremely dry winter skin, gently rub in coconut oil followed by a moisturizer to trap the hydration next to your skin. Use a cream-based moisturizer in a tub over a lotion in a pump. Again, avoid moisturizers with added fragrances.
Reduce Exfoliation Frequency
To release your skin’s natural shine, dead skin cells still need to be removed in your winter skincare routine. However, it is important to re-evaluate your exfoliation needs based on your skin type. Your skin type will most likely change with the season. During the dry months of winter, your skin exfoliation methods should be more gentle and less frequent than during the hot, humid summer months.
Skin Care Products to Combat Dry Winter Skin
Shea butter is a perfect example of a ceramide-based moisturizer. The natural moisture of Shea Butter will help benefit dry, cracked skin. Shea butter is extracted from the fat of shea tree nuts grown in Africa. It is full of fatty acids and vitamins to help combat inflammation and promote healing. Regular application of shea butter promotes soft and smooth feeling skin.
An additional dry skin care aid is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar on your skin. It helps to traps moisture in the skin by binding water with collagen to make the skin appear hydrated and radiant.
In the winter, a long, hot shower or bath is extremely tempting after a cold day teaching. But moist, radiant skin will be your reward for opting for a warm, short shower instead.
Article by Miss Jae
Brucculieri, Julia. “6 Winter Skin Care Tips from Dermatologist.” Huffpost. 2018. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/winter-skin-tips_n_5a53e784e4b003133ecb658c
Lauriello, Samantha. “6 Dermatologist Reveal Their Winter Skin Care Routines.” Health. 2018. https://www.health.com/beauty/winter-skin-care-routine-dermatologist
“Dermatologists’ Top Tips for Relieving Dry Skin.” American Academy of Dermatology Association. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dermatologists-tips-relieve-dry-skin
Watson, Kathryn. “Shea Butter for Your Face: Benefits and Uses.” Healthline. 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/shea-butter-for-face
Baum, Isadora. “What is Hyaluronic Acid, and How Does it Benefit Your Skin?” Allure. 2020. https://www.allure.com/story/what-is-hyaluronic-acid-skin-care
Callahan, Chrissy. “What are Free Radicals, and How Do They Effect Your Skin?” Today. 2019. https://www.today.com/style/what-are-free-radicals-how-do-they-affect-your-skin-t150296
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