Skin Care In The Winter

     You should be tweaking your skin care routine when the cold season sets in, unless you live somewhere where it's summer all year long (in that case I hate you). Skin functions quite differently in the cold, often drying out and cracking. Depending on where you live your winter may be mild or harsh, humid or dry -- this means there is no one-fits-all winter beauty routine. Still, here are some pointers

Face Care:

* Cleanse your face every evening -- even if you don't wear makeup and you haven't been sweating, pollution leaves it's traces on the skin (unless you live in the heart of untouched wilderness --- in that case, I hate you too). This is a great time for cleansing milks, oil cleansing, or almond paste cleansing, as detergent-based cleansers can leave the skin dry.

* Rapid changes between warm + dry indoor and cold + windy outdoors stresses the skin and may cause capillaries to break. Keep the skin covered with oil / moisturiser to form a protective barrier between the skin and the air. You might want a richer cream than the one you used in summer --- most skin types get dryer in winter. The type of cream you need depends upon the temperatures:
10 to 0 degrees: Regular moisturiser, maybe a slightly richer one.
0 till -10 degrees: The blood capillaries constrict to prevent the heat from escaping, and this causes the skin produces less natural fats. Sweating (during outdoor sports) causes the skin to lose even more fat. The skin needs fat and moisture, so anything with (plant based!) oils is good.
-10 and below: Creams with a lot of water in them (aqua on the first or second place on the ingredient list) should not be used anymore because they can freeze on the skin. That can cause blood capillaries to break. Instead choose creams with urea, as studies has shown that dry skin contains only half the urea that normal skin has. Of course oils are great too. 
* Don't forget your lips, neck and the undereye skin! The neck should be treated same as the face, the lips need a petroleum-free chap stick, and the undereye skin should always be protected with an undereye cream that is slightly richer than usual. If you have a lighter moisturiser that you used in the summer and that is free of perfume, it can work as a winter under-eye cream.

* You still need SPF, since UV rays don't go away in the winter. Choose mineral over chemical sunscreen.

Body Care:

   The body skin is not as exposed to the elements as the face, but it still needs extra care because it tends to get really dry:

* Moisturise well after showers. Towel dry and then apply a moisturiser to seal in the moisture.

* Use a petroleum / mineral oil and silicone free moisturiser -- these can form a barrier on the skin which dries it out. I love a mix of plant based oils with a dash of a nice-smelling essential oil.

* Swap out your foam bath products for bathing oils. Bathing oils leave the skin supple and soft, and counter the drying effects of hot water.

* Use only gentle exfoliators. I know your skin is flaking, but exfoliating doesn't really solve the problem -- which is lack of skin oils and lack of moisture from inside (more on that lower down).


* Unless your hands are extra dry, you can just use your regular body moisturiser.

* If you need something heavier, use a hand cream free of silicones and mineral oil / petroleum, as the first only gives a special effect of smooth hands, while the other is actually drying. Products with urea are great for very dry hands.

Beauty from within

* Drinking enough water is key to keep the skin from drying out, yet most of us forget to do that in the winter. We tend to sip warm drinks, but usually not enough to meet our body's real need for liquids. When my lips start to chap, it is often because I have been drinking too little. I'm going to try drinking 1-2 glasses of water first every time I make myself a warm drink -- this way I won't forget!

* Don't forget to eat your fruits and veggies. Vitamin supplements cannnot replace vitamins from food. My favourite fruit in the winter are oranges and apples, and I add those to my spinach smoothie. It's also a great time to eat nuts, and if you are in Germany --- sauerkraut!

* Teas with cinnamon, ginger and allspice will help curb your sweet tooth -- if you're anything like me you develop a craving for sweet when temperatures drop.

* Get a hygrometer (from a gardening store) and check the humidity of your home and workplace. if it's way below 50%, think about humidifying the air. If it's higher than 60% you need to air you home more often.

   And lastly --- enjoy winter and have fun! It is joy, love and feeling good in one's skin that make us beautiful. I see so many people walking around with a "lemon face" all winter through... try smiling instead!

    What is your winter skin care routine? What's your biggest challenge --- dry skin, chapped lips or a constantly red nose? Have you tried sauerkraut?

PS Interested in hair care in the winter

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