Make sure you keep that healthy glow all season long with these expert skin-care tips.
Healthy, glowing skin is what most beauty-aficionados want all year round (I mean, same). But let's face it, sometimes the change of season (we're looking at you winter) has different plans for our overall skin health. Once bright, glowy complexions and hydrated bodies have become dry, flaky, and itchy—a big clue that your body is dehydrated and you've compromised your skin barrier. Which means more than just unsightly dry complexions. A compromised skin barrier can lead to cracked and painful skin and in some extreme cases, infection. No, thanks. Don't fret—there are preventative measures you can take so that your skin stays hydrated and flake-free during the harshest of seasons.
We spoke with Anna Koniaris, national face expert at Caryl Baker Visage and Dr. Kavita Mariwalla of Mariwalla Dermatology on what you can do to prepare your skin for the inevitable realities of winter conditions (including harsh winds and zapped moisture) and keep that healthy face and body glow all season long.
1. Have your skin analyzed
As soon as the season starts to transition to cooler temperatures, Koniaris recommends seeing a skin-care specialist to examine your complexion and determine the state of your skin. (Bonus, this is often a complimentary service.) "Let a professional determine what your skin type is and then, from there, determine if you need to enhance or switch up your regimen for the season," she says.
2. Reach for those thicker creams
The key to keeping up that post-summer glow during the winter is to ensure you're incorporating "thicker creams and balms that have the right mix of natural actives, emollients, humectants—and for extremely dry/irritated skin —occlusives," says Dr. Mariwalla. Think about ingredients like almond oil (a great skin-barrier nourisher) and aloe (rich in active enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and a known anti-inflammatory and skin hydrator).
If you're suffering from extremely dry, cracked skin on your face and body, Dr.Mariwalla recommends Skinfix's 12 Hour Miracle Ointment. "It's like a bandaid for your skin, and truly works overnight," she says.
Skinfix 12-Hour Miracle Ointment, $15, skinfix.com.
3. Get a facial that's focused on hydration
Nourishment and hydration to your visage is extremely important in the winter to avoid dull, dry skin and maintain a glowing complexion. A facial that's focused on hydration, like Caryl Baker Visage's 30-minute HydraFacial, will ensure you're getting the most effective hydration, that actually penetrates your skin. "It offers a vortex cleansing, hydrapeel exfoliation, vortex extraction and then infuses the hydration and nourishment your skin needs for an instant glow," says Koniaris. While at-home care is super important, opting for a professional facial seasonally is a great way to ensure that you're getting an extra dose of skin care.
4. Make sure you're drinking enough H2O
Healthy skin comes from within, so make sure your skin is looking its best this winter with water—something both Dr. Mariwalla and Koniaris recommend. "Drinking plenty of water and limiting your caffeine intake will help in keeping your skin soft and plump all over," says Dr. Mariwalla.
Also, keeping a portable humidifier by your nightstand table or desk at work will help put essential moisture back in the air so your skin doesn't feel and look chronically dried up.
5. Lock in moisture immediately after showering
After a nice, warm—not hot—shower, Dr. Mariwalla recommends you not dry yourself off completely. "Skin should be damp when applying body lotion or cream," she says. This is because water will help pull in oils, balms and creams into the skin for deeper hydration and better efficacy of ingredients. And, as noted above, make sure you lock in moisture with products that contain emollient oils and humectants for ultimate hydration.
6. Avoid harsh and heavily fragranced body washes
While those perfumed body washes may smell great, they're actually doing your skin more harm than good, stripping it of natural lipids and weakening the skin barrier, says Dr. Mariwalla. Steer clear and instead look for sulfate-free and oil-based body washes with no added fragrance.
Organic Body Wash—Pure Unscented, $18, consonantskincare.com.
SKIN-CARE MISTAKES YOU MIGHT BE MAKING
Now that you've got the lowdown on how to prep your skin for winter, here are some skin-care faux pas you should never make.
Not regularly moisturizing. Don't let your skin dry out and then expect it to get better by applying moisturizer. Ensure you're making moisturizing a part of your daily beauty regimen for optimal skin health, advises Dr.Mariwalla. And yes, this includes more than just your face—we're talking top-to-toe moisturizing.
Not exfoliating. Exfoliation is important to keep your skin looking its best. You should be using an exfoliator about two to three times a week for normal and combination skin, and only once a week for sensitive skin. You can either opt for a chemical exfoliant (think acids like AHA and BHA or ingredients like papaya) or a physical exfoliant (which uses gritty pieces to buff away dead skin—think coffee or sugar scrubs).
On The Rocks Scrub, $38, waxon.ca.
Not getting enough sleep. Your beauty sleep really is important. "Skin naturally repairs and rejuvenates while you sleep, so do your best to get a good seven to eight hours," says Dr.Mariwalla. While you doze your way off into better skin, use a hydrating overnight mask to restore moisture and calm and replenish your natural lipids.
Not adjusting your routine. You may feel like you're quite content with your skin-care regimen, but that's something you shouldn't keep stagnant. "People don't diagnose on a frequent basis and they consistently use the same products for months and years," says Koniaris "While it may not be doing anything bad for their skin, there may be a better product they can be investing their time and money into that will give them a better result," she says. That's why she recommends getting your skin analyzed at least two to three times a year to ensure you're using the products that are best for your skin—always.