There’s dry skin, and then there’s dry winter skin. We all know the difference. Those of us with normal skin tend to skew drier during the colder months, those of us with already dry skin get totally out-of-control dry, and those of us with oily/combo skin may suffer a nice little medley that feels totally nuts. Yay for sweater weather … molting? Not so much.
The reasons for the dry skin season are, of course, cooler temps, which result in lower humidity levels—yes, even if it’s raining or snowing and we’re surrounded by precipitation—drawing moisture away from the skin, and essentially evaporating. Winter winds can feel extra harsh, and blasting that comfy-cozy heater or furnace or fireplace is going to exacerbate the issue, no matter how nice it feels.
This means that those with sensitive skin, prone to dryness, or with conditions like psoriasis and eczema need to really up their hydration and protective barrier efforts, and perhaps even seek the care of a dermatologist for prescription help. Otherwise, we’ve got all that you need, based on your skin type.
If your skin tends to stay dry (high shine in the T-zone is never your issue even mid-summer, lucky you) then locking in moisture, staying hydrated, and keeping the air damp is of highest importance. The number one priority? Get a quality humidifier to add moisture to the air while you sleep. This is absolutely key, and we actually recommend it for all skin types this time of year, dry types being the direst. Close your door and windows to keep humidity in, and slather on hydrating serums and a thick cream before bed to create an occlusive barrier and keep that moisture in.
Despite the dryness and flakiness that comes with this season, oily types still remain oily. We know, intimately, that it’s unfair. That being said, we won’t want to add occlusive oils to the mix—we want to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Pump up said humidifier, and layer on hyaluronic acids to add bulk in H2O to our skin cells for major glow and plumping. After cleansing, mist with a hydrating toner. While still damp, apply hydrating serums to lock it all in. Don’t forget the eyes—the skin produces minimal oil there, so layer up with a hydrating serum cream, and top it all off with something deeply moisturizing yet oil-free.
Combo skin will essentially be the worst of both worlds at this time, so, while a bit more effort, it may yield best results to apply different products to different areas of need on the face. Try a heavier moisturizer for dry skin areas and around the eyes, and opt for lighter products in the T-zone and around the mouth to avoid triggering perioral dermatitis.
Sensitive skin does not love a heavy routine of layered products, so keep it simple, and always start and end with hydration. The fewer active ingredients per product, the better, though one or two is OK. After each gentle cleanse, mist with a pH-balancing toner to keep the skin barrier healthy and protected and prepped for optimal absorption of the rest of your products. A good protective and hydrating serum can work double time under your moisturizer of choice, just choose something not too heavy.
The humidifier doesn’t need to be reserved just for the evening. Move it around with you, or get one for every room or your office, too, especially if the heater is constantly blasting. Don’t forget to hydrate from the inside out, too, and always, always wear SPF no matter the weather!
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