6 ways to prep your skin for cold weather

By: Anne Donahue

© Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©


6 ways to prep your skin for cold weather

By: Anne Donahue
While we have yet to feel winter's wrath, the best way to prep your skin for the harsh conditions and changing temperature is to start transitioning your skin-care routine now. Getting a jump-start on windburn and dry air is one of the best ways to ensure your face will look fresh and hydrated all season long.

To help keep your skin looking -- and feeling -- its best, we spoke with Dr. Amy Wechsler, a dermatologist and YouBeauty's dermatology advisor, who offers some simple but effective strategies for optimum skin health.

1. Exfoliate
No matter how cold and dry the air gets, the key to smooth skin this winter is regular exfoliation.

"After spending the summer outdoors in the heat and sun, the shift to fall is noticeable for our skin," says Wechsler. "Start exfoliating every other day if your skin can handle it to prevent dry skin and to help maintain luminosity."

When we let dead skin cells build up, the result is a lacklustre complexion, not to mention clogged pores, Wechsler explains.

If you have sensitive skin, pick up a gentle face scrub to use throughout the week or speak to someone at your beauty counter to help pair a product with your skin type, she advises. Just remember not to overdo it or you may risk traumatizing your face, especially in the colder, harsher months.

2. Moisturize
Since exfoliation eliminates dead skin cells, you'll want to keep your new, smoother skin protected by moisturizing daily and using a humidifier.

"Moisturizer becomes critical to help combat dryness and protect skin from chapping," explains Wechsler. "Another way to help boost moisture is to add a humidifier to your apartment in both the living room and bedroom."

You can also use balms to counteract the season's drying effects, as they're thicker than moisturizer and create a barrier against drying elements.

"Look for rich balms with shea or other natural waxes," Wechsler suggests.

3. Avoid long showers
As luxurious as steamy showers can be in the colder months, heat can dry out your skin and leave it susceptible to outdoor damage.

"Avoid taking long, hot showers," recommends Wechsler. "I know this is tempting because it's so cold outside, but this will dehydrate your skin," she explains.

Stick with a shorter scrub-down and apply a rich moisturizing cream or body butter afterward, as well as face lotion, to lock in hydration and keep your skin soft all day long.
4. Use sunscreen
Despite the lack of regular sun exposure in the winter, sunscreen is still an essential. Make sure you're using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily.

"Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that the sun's rays are ineffective," says Wechsler. "It's possible to get a burn even in the middle of January. Be sure to maintain the ritual of applying sunscreen every day before leaving the house."

5. Opt for creamier makeup
While summer sees us fighting oil buildup and shine, winter brings with it the opposite problem. Combat dry skin by scrapping powder-based makeup formulas and opting for creamier foundations instead.

"Because skin can be prone to dryness in the winter, avoiding powder foundations and blushes is a good idea," says Wechsler. "Instead, go for products like tinted moisturizers and cream shadows. And, of course, multi-tasking products are also a great choice, like lipsticks with moisturizing shea butter."

6. Drink more water and watch your diet
What you do and do not eat also has a huge effect on the way your skin looks, so to protect your skin before winter hits, drink lots of water and keep nutrients high by loading up on vegetables and healthy fats.

"Be sure to drink plenty of water. And I love green tea -- the antioxidants are an added boost for skin," advises Wechsler. "Also look for foods containing calcium, vitamin D and omega-3s, and consult a dermatologist if any skin problems arise."

Visiting a dermatologist once a year is always a good idea, and it's especially important if you're hoping to ward off any skin problems spurred by the changing weather.

Winter might not be here just yet, but it's important to start adapting your beauty regimen to its conditions now. That way, once the temperature drops your skin will be ready and won't suffer at the hands of unexpected windchill and dryness.
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6 ways to prep your skin for cold weather