How I Deal With Dry Flaking Skin In The Winter

In the winter my skin changes from combination to Sahara. One of the most irritating things about this is that the skin often starts flaking. Sometimes I only realise it's doing this when I apply mineral makeup which really brings those patches of dry skin out.
These dry skin flakes are caused by the often quick changes between being out in the cold and in the warm. Many homes have very dry air (although I'd not be to quick to get a humidifier without getting a hygrometer, because many modern well-isolated homes tend to get too humid and develop mold without without proper airing.) Also I use hydroxy acids in the winter which really help with fine lines and discolourations but dry out the skin.

Another really important question us whether you are drinking enough water. It's easy do get dehydrated in the winter because the cold makes us feel less thirst. I also feel like eating healthy fats helps my skin look better in the winter.

The key to getting rid of dry skin flakes is switching to a more moisturising and less drying routine in the winter. 

How to exfoliate:

To remove the dry skin flakes I usually use a microfibre cloth or a Konjac sponge, because they are thorough but very gentle. You can also use a mechanical exfoliant (scrub) or a chemical one, however you need to be gentle. Don't do exfoliate more than twice a week, otherwise you will be stressing the skin. I feel like enzymatic peel are a great option for the winter, so is the almond gommage.

Speaking about chemical exfoliants, don't overdo these either. These days chemical exfoliants (alpha and bety hydroxy acids)and "in", which means that there are everywhere -- in cleansers, tones, moisturisers... Check your products for these ingredients, as overdoing on hydroxy acids stresses the skin. I prefer to use my hydroxy acids strategically, applying specific acids (mainly on areas with discolouration) and then waiting a couple of days for the skin to rebuild itself.

How to cleanse:

The Oil Cleansing method is great for the skin in the winter. Alternatively you can use a cleansing milk, or a Micellar cleanser free of alcohol. In the winter I always reach for either a microfibre cloth or a Konjac sponge to remove any flakes. 
Put away soaps and harsher cleansers away till the spring.

How to moisturise:

After cleansing I apply Aloe Vera rather than my usual hydrolates.  Finally I switch from light moisturisers to heavier creams with humectants and emolients. Some ingredients you migh look for are: shea butter, lanolin, beeswax, vitamind A and E, aloe vera, hialuron, urea, squalane, plant oils. I like the Martina Gebhart creams as well as Make Me Bio. I'll often use pure oils or butters in the winter, as a layer on top of the cream. My current favourites are rose hip oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil and murumuru butter. For very dry patches I use Weleda Skin Food, or a capsule of vitamins A+E.

Avoid ingredients that are harsh and/or drying: alcohol, sulfates and mineral oil.

How to apply foundation:

If your makeup is making your dry skin flakes more visible, you might want to switch. Usually lighter or more moisturing formulas are better. You can also try mixing your foundation with a moisturiser. Application is key -- pat the product in, don't rub. If like me you prefer mineral makeup, you might want to try applying it with a wet brush, and stippling instead of swirling the product on your face.

These are my tips for dealing with flaking skin in the cold season. How do you deal with skin flakes? Or maybe you are one of the lucky ones who doesn't have this problem?

Photo credit:  Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

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