The air suddenly got much chillier in New York the last few days. Along with the sweeping cold-front, I noticed that my skin was drier and itchier. This is not new for me, and usually the first indicator of fall and winter for my body.
To check to see if your skin is too dry, there is a simple test. Take your fingernail and run it down your arm, if the lines remain on your skin, or you see some peeling, your skin is too dry.
Sometimes people don’t realize that your skin care needs change with the seasons. Our skin directly responds to two major factors: 1) What we put inside of our bodies, 2) The environment.
When the weather starts to become cooler, the humidity in the environment drops. While this is generally more comfortable for most people (who likes to just stand and drip with sweat?), our skin is responding to the lack of moisture in the air by also drying out.
Speaking with Pamela Maes, skin-care expert and esthetician with over 6 years of experience, she offers this skin advice:
“Consider changing your skin-care routine to suit the winter weather by changing to a richer moisturizer. Between the dry indoor air and the cold outdoor temperatures, the moisture in your skin can quickly get zapped. Also, try doing a scrub one day and a mask the next to maximize skin-care benefits. Another tip: Add a humidifier to your room to combat the dry air inside.”
As the winter months approach, we recommend exfoliating two-to-three times per week for your body and twice-per-week for your face. The outer layers of your epidermis will get dry and flaky, and exfoliating polishes the dead skin away to reveal the new, fresh skin. Not every exfoliator is made alike, and it’s important to discern between a facial exfoliator and a body exfoliator. Generally, it’s fine to use a facial exfoliator on your body, but not the other way around; body polishes may be a bit too rough for facial skin. Body exfoliators should be rich to help replenish lost oils, and facial exfoliators should use oils, like jojoba, which mimic the properties of human sebum.
Pro Facial Tip: For an at-home spa treatment, light a candle, run a bath, and soak a washcloth in hot water (as hot as you can take without feeling any discomfort), and place the hot washcloth over your face. Allow it to sit there for 5-7 minutes. The heat will encourage your face to sweat, helping to push out any facial impurities. Rinse with cold water and follow with a clay facial mask. Finally, rinse the mask and finish with a facial serum.
Pro Body Tip: After exfoliating, then shave (if you need to); this will make the hair easier to come off. Rinse with cool-to-cold water and follow with a rich moisturizer – either a body cream or body butter will be great. This is amazing for hands, knees, and elbows, as well!
How You Wash Matters: It’s probably incredibly tempting to take a super-hot shower, especially as the weather gets cooler; however, this is detrimental to the health of your skin. According to Newsweek.com, long, hot showers actually strip your skin of its natural moisture, making you feel drier and itchier. It’s best to reduce the length of time you spend in the shower along with lowering the temperature.
If you tend to get itchy, dry skin, opt for natural soap free of parabens, surfactants, and phthalates. Natural soaps scented with essential oils might be most beneficial for you, but if you have severely dry skin, opt for fragrance-free soap.
Remember to Nourish from the Inside Out: During the summer and spring, we take more caution to stay hydrated. Plus, with all the seasonal fruits and vegetables available, it’s a little easier to ensure we’re getting our 5-servings a day. While the winter and fall are so tempting with delicious coffees and desserts, it’s imperative to continue to hydrate your body with pure water and nourish your body with fruits and veggies. The natural nutrition keeps your skin glowing and more resilient to the harsher environment. If you’re not a fan of drinking plain water, add cucumber, mint, lemon, and/or lime to add a burst of nutritional flavor.
Dry skin is not fun, but there’s plenty that can be done to prevent and improve so your skin will feel youthful and look glowing again.