It's that time of year. Temperatures plummet. The wind chill factor can be extreme. We're indoors getting blasted with dry heat. And we're headed into the busy holiday season which - let's be honest - can be a little more than stressful. It's a combination that can really wreak havoc on our complexions. If your skin is feeling dry, red, flaky, chapped, broken out or otherwise stressed and irritated, you're definitely not alone, and these 6 tips are going to help get you glowing, hydrated and happy again in no time.
1. Before all else: soothe and hydrate
If your skin is already in a state of irritation, the best thing you can do is focus on calming, soothing, and hydrating. This may involve setting aside some of your holy grail facial products that were working just fine during the summer, and replacing them with products geared toward dry and/or sensitive skin i.e a gentle, creamy cleanser as opposed to a purifying, foaming gel cleanser, and a thicker, more hydrating moisturizer to replace your lightweight lotion. Grab some pure rose water and mist your skin with this throughout the day to instantly calm, soothe and re-hydrate. Find a good water-binding serum that's formulated for deep hydration, and use this under your moisturizer to up the anty, or go with organic aloe vera gel which is both hydrating and extremely soothing for damaged, irritated skin - plus it's affordable. The same goes for your body. Try swapping out your lightweight lotion for a thicker body butter that contains richer, more emollient oils like shea or cocoa butter.
2. Oils are your friends
Oil is the skin's own natural protective mechanism - something it produces on its own (sebum) to stay healthy and balanced. When the lipid layer on the surface of the skin is compromised by internal or external factors, the skin will become more sensitized, dry, flakey, red, or can even over-compensate by producing too much sebum which can lead to clogged pores and acne. By using a concentrated healing facial oil, something that contains nutrient-rich ingredients like rosehip seed oil, marula fruit oil, and sea buckthorn oil, we can help restore a lipid barrier that seals in moisture (prevents water from evaporating) while supporting the skin's own regenerative processes. Try using a facial oil with hemp CBD extract - an active cannabinoid in hemp that has amazing properties for addressing topical redness, irritation, scarring, and even the signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles, loss of elasticity and age spots).
3. Exfoliate (but not too much)
There is nothing worse than feeling like your face has a bad case of dandruff that no amount of moisturizer seems to fix. Exfoliation is key to help remove the dead, flaky skin so many of us deal with during colder, dryer weather. While too much exfoliation can over-dry the skin and actually exacerbate the issue, using a gentle exfoliant like a plant-based enzyme peel or alpha hydroxy peel 1-2 times per week is just enough to help keep the dead skin from building up, and will also help prep the skin to better absorb other skincare products. Try doing this step before bed so you can layer on your serums and moisturizers, helping to restore the skin's moisture levels while you sleep.
4. Keep it chill
When temps hit freezing nothing feels better than a long hot bath or shower, but hot water can also be incredibly drying, so be sure to keep the hot water off of your face if possible. Too much heat will zap moisture from the skin, and may also exacerbate redness or inflammatory conditions like rosacea, eczema, and acne. If the skin on your body feels extra dry, but you can't live without your hot baths, try adding some coconut oil and calming, skin-loving essential oils like lavender, chamomile or geranium to your bathwater before you hop in.
5. Treat it from the inside out
Don't forget the power of a healthy diet and hydration levels! Our bodies and our skin are in a constant state of renewal and regeneration - it's how we were designed. When our body is given the right tools it can do amazing things! The winter season is a great time to focus on drinking plenty of water, eating lots of healthy omega fatty acids (nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, healthy oils...), and eating a more anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet (lots of colorful fruits, veggies, and superfoods!). Your skin will thank you and you will have a glow from the inside out!
6. Address the stress
While many of us don't even think about it, our skin is actually our body's largest organ. It plays a huge role in detoxification and our hormonal balance. The health of our skin is a reflection of the health of our body and also our emotional state. If things aren't balanced inside, they're not going to be balanced on the outside either. So start within. If your skin is in a state of chaos it's normal to feel stressed about it, but try to let it go as much as possible. Not only does the added stress not help, but it can actually make things vastly worse by increasing hormones like cortisol that end up triggering even more inflammation. So let go of the stress and be gentle and loving towards yourself no matter what. Love your beautiful skin!