We spoke with Cortney Bendell, assistant manager of spa services at Toronto's Elmwood Spa, to get insider info on how to maintain healthy, moisturized skin all year long.
1. Stay hydrated with your diet
To keep skin properly hydrated, drinking water and eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies is essential, says Bendell. "Water will detoxify and keep your skin functioning at its best, while fruits and veggies are rich in minerals, vitamins and powerful antioxidants that provide the key components for healthy skin," she says.
If you have a hard time getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, Bendell suggests using a juicer. "Juicing fruits and veggies is a great way to get a whole lot of hydrating nutrients in one glass. As a rule, choose produce of various colours to get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals."
Exactly how often you should exfoliate your skin is a point that is much debated. Some experts advise once a week, while others believe in exfoliating as often as every other day. Bendell explains that it really depends on your own personal skin type. "Those with dry, mature, normal or sensitive skin should exfoliate one to two times a week, while those with oily skin should exfoliate three times weekly," she explains.
Look into a variety of exfoliating products on the market. "People with oily, sensitive or mature skin should only use an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) such as lactic or glycolic acid, or a fruit enzyme exfoliator. This type of exfoliator will melt away dead skin cells, which you can then rinse away," Bendell says. Try pumpkin exfoliators, which are popular in fall and winter.
There's also no point in moisturizing if you don't exfoliate. "Ensure all those dead skin cells are gone so your moisturizer can properly penetrate into your skin," says Bendell. For those with normal to dry complexions, a traditional granular exfoliator is suitable. "Granular exfoliators are more stimulating and slightly more aggressive on the skin and they are better for normal to dry skin types," explains Bendell.
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover why the right moisturizer and serum could solve your dry skin problems on page 2
Apart from exfoliating, you must also moisturize your skin to avoid dryness. "No matter your skin type, you should moisturize morning and evening," says Bendell. "After the age of 25 it is also important to moisturize differently for day and for night. Night moisturizers are more corrective-based, and work on your skin while you sleep. Daytime moisturizers generally prevent damage from the sun or other environmental hazards."
For daytime, be sure to use a moisturizer with a healthy dose of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, plus SPF to stave off UV damage as much as possible. At nighttime, look for corrective ingredients such as retinol, peptides and collagen, which help to repair skin while you sleep, as well as ultra-moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter or hyaluronic acid, which help bind water to the skin and thereby help your skin retain moisture.
4. Add a serum
"Hands down, the best topical treatment to combat dehydration is serum, which goes on right before you apply moisturizer," says Bendell. But what does a serum do that a moisturizer doesn't?
"Serums have a smaller molecular structure, meaning they penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin where your moisturizer acts as protector on top of everything," she explains. So, adding a serum gives your skin an extra layer of insurance against harsh winter temperatures. Bendell recommends Guinot Cell Moisturizing Serum.
"For dehydrated skin, this a light yet very effective serum that combats dehydration at the very deep layers of the skin. It increases moisture retention and helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. I like to use this as a treatment four times per year for the duration of a month when each season changes," says Bendell.
If you're noticing a change in your skin as the temperature cools off, it might be time to reassess your skin care routine. Make sure you have the right type of exfoliator for your skin type, and definitely consider using a serum to layer under your moisturizers day and night to encourage moisture in the deeper levels of your skin.
For overall hydration and vibrancy, drink water all day long and eat as much fresh produce as possible. Follow this routine and you'll have healthy skin in no time.
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