Healing Dry Winter Skin
So today we’re talking about something that plagues almost all of us around this time of year. I don’t know about you, but dry skin and the winter seem to be synonymous for me. And I am never, ever ready for it. This is me every year….we have that one day when it’s the beautiful, perfect fall day and you have a coat at night but not in the day….and then the next day it’s like 25 degrees, and my skin is flaking off. That’s how long it takes for me to look in the mirror and be like did the moisture actually get sucked out of my body? Unfortunately, the second it gets cold, the air becomes much less humid. So when there’s less moisture in the air, basically the moisture balance of the air around you and your skin; the air starts literally stealing moisture from your body. Rude.
Diet plays a huge role in your skin…how hydrated you are…how many electrolytes you’re getting (and I’m not talking from Gatorade here peeps) from fruits and veggies. To maintain healthy skin, you need to be eating nutrient dense foods in general, because you’ll get all those lovely electrolytes and the cofactors that help your body use them.
When it comes to hydration, if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already on the road to dehydration. Drinking water is helpful, but try adding some lemon juice, have a sparkling water, try herbal teas, and eat hydrating fruits and veggies throughout the day.
So now that we’ve crossed off the low-hanging fruit of eat well, stay hydrated and be aware that the seasons are changing, you’re probably thinking “that’s great, Anna, but what can I slather on my face RIGHT NOW!?”
If you have skin that is flaking, or skin that just kind of feels tight and looks like you’ve got a layer of dead skin on top of your face, you do. And therefore the first thing you need to do is exfoliate. If you want a physical exfoliator, this is the one I recommend. It’s just not something you can moisturize away. Personally, I like an at-home peel. Beautycounter came out with the overnight resurfacing peel this year, and it has been the best tool. It uses a gentle concentration of varying acids to basically break up dead skin and enable you to slough it off overnight. It takes a little bit of time. But it totally works.
If you really feel like the skin is just sitting there and preventing your products from absorbing, you can go to a great esthetician and talk to them about dermaplaning. Which basically they take a little razor and they scrape off that top layer of dead skin cells. Google it, it’s pretty interesting. I’ve never done it, but I hear it works well.
Next, you’ve got to nourish your skin and add back moisture. The way to nourish your skin is with oils. EEK oils on your face? I feel like this is gaining in popularity so maybe you’re not as afraid of it as I think, but skincare oils are one of the most underrated tools out there. Oil is a lipid, and your skin has a lipid-based barrier. When you nourish and reinforce that lipid barrier, you enhance your skin’s ability to hold on to moisture from water under the surface of your skin and in the air. Pretty cool, huh? Here’s the oil that I use.
Here’s a fun fact that I just learned: the structure of the oil that you’re using is important. I’ve known this about dietary fat for a while (medium chain triglicerides and all that), but it’s very important topically too. When I first started to go au natural, I went to straight coconut oil for moisture, and couldn’t figure out why my skin kept feeling like it was getting drier and drier. Turns out, the structure of that fatty acid chain in coconut oil is too short to really nourish the lipid layer of your skin. That’s why things like rosehip seed oil or citrus oils are great, because they have a reaaaaaally long chain fatty acid in them.
The other thing I like to recommend some kind of cream or serum that contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a really, really, really cool molecule. It can hold, or I guess bind over 1000 times its own weight in water. So you want that sidled up to your skin cells, because it’s going to bring and attract water to your skin. And a lot of products have this. It doesn’t have to say hyaluronic acid serum or hyaluronic acid moisturizer. A lot of moisturizers will have it, but it will be under sodium hyaluronate. Which is the form of hyaluronic acid that your skin can use. Here’s what I use.
My skincare routine looks like this, in the morning on clean skin, I use that intense moisture serum, once that’s had time to soak in, then I use the Countermatch adaptive moisture lotion, which I think goes on beautifully underneath makeup.
In the evening, I use the resurfacing peel, probably twice a week. But when I’m not using that, I will use my oil, and then I will top it with the Countermatch night cream. And I try to put a nice thick layer of lip conditioner on my lips before bed, so I wake up with soft lips instead of crinkly ones.
PS. Most estheticians will tell you to use a cream before you use your oil. I just find it works better for me the opposite way. And it’s ok. You can edit at will. It’s totally up to you on what works best for your skin. If something isn’t working and you switch it up and it does, then stick with what works.
So alright friends! That is ALL I know about moisturizing dry skin in the winter. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Instagram @teacheatrepeat. Can’t wait to hear from you!
Here’s to dewy skin on the driest of days!
With love and lettuce,