There’s no doubt about it. Skin suffers in winter, so you’ll want to take special care so that your skin stays dewy and soft. But sometimes we can be our own worst enemies and not realize that we are making things worse rather than better.
I came across a great article1 by Elizabeth Flahive recently on winter skin care tips and the myths to be aware of as you look after your skin in cold weather. Here are the 10 myths you need to know about according to Elizabeth plus my take on the subject.
MYTH: Use Thicker Cream For Hydration in Winter
The truth is that thicker does not always mean better hydration or softer skin. You are often better using a serum under your normal moisturizer as this is super light, does not dull your skin and has very concentrated powerful ingredients to give your skin a boost.
My 2 cents: This is an ideal combination for wearing under makeup too. Thicker creams often leave you with a greasy, shiny finish you can do without even if they make your skin feel less dry.
MYTH: You Don’t Need Sunscreen on Dull Days
Although you are not going to burn on dull winter days, the UVA rays (the ones that cause your skin to age) are still present all year round and clouds do not filter them out. Make sure your moisturizer includes sun protection (SPF 15 or higher). And yet another reason to use a serum
“You can enhance your sun protection exponentially by using an antioxidant-rich serum underneath your moisturizer,” says Washington, D.C., dermatologist Dr. Cheryl Burgess.
My 2 cents: It takes little effort to protect your skin like this through the winter. Check that your moisturizer has sun protection.
MYTH: Oily Skin Doesn’t Need Moisturizer
All skins suffer in winter weather and need help to preserve moisture and support for the protective barrier function of the skin. If you have oily skin wear a very light lotion based moisturizer but definitely wear one.
My 2 cents: Oily skin can become oilier if you constantly strip away the oil. Use a gentle cleanser as well as a moisturizer to help skin find a balance. And don’t forget the sunscreen because oily skins age just as much from UVA rays.
MYTH: Exfoliating Can Make Dry Skin Patches Worse
In fact, exfoliation can help dry skin as it brings fresh cells to the surface which are richer in moisture, but you do have to be gentle and use plenty of moisturizer afterwards. You may find that you are better with enzyme-based exfoliants rather than scrubs as they can be less harsh on your skin.
My 2 cents: I’m a great believer in exfoliation. See How to Exfoliate For Clear Beautiful Skin
MYTH: Use Lip Balm to Prevent Chapped Lips
Some lip balms can actually dry out your lips. Look for a natural oil infused lip balms or formulas with shea or cocoa butter. Exfoliate your lips to get rid of flaky dry patches using gentle facial exfoliant or soft toothbrush.
My 2 cents: The article recommends against using petroleum jelly as it “creates an artificial film on your lips, signaling your skin to stop producing lipids” but I find simple Vaseline works like a charm all year round. It’s those waxy lip balms in stick form that I find I need to spend all day renewing that dry out my lips.
|More Winter Skin Care Tips
MYTH: Steamy Showers Help Moisturize Dry Skin
A hot shower or bath is great on a cold day but any hot water over 98.6 degrees dilates blood vessels and cause you to lose moisture through your skin. If you must have a hot bath or shower, keep it short (that means under 5 minutes!) and use a soap-free body wash, pat your skin dry afterwards and moisturize while your skin is still slightly damp.
My 2 cents: All true. It’s a pity – a soak in a hot bath in winter is one of life’s great pleasures (just not for your skin).
MYTH: Stay Indoors As Much As Possible
It’s true that winter weather conditions outside are going to leech moisture from your skin but the drying air indoors from central heating is pretty harmful too unless you take steps to increase the moisture in the air. Use a humidifier especially at night.
My 2 cents: If you don’t want to run a humidifier, leave bowls of water or well=watered plants around, to help add water to the air and keep the heating as low as you can. Wear an extra sweater and save your skin.
MYTH: Avoid Laser Treatments that Might Further Irritate Skin
Actually winter is one of the best times to have laser treatment as you have to keep skin out of the sun before and after treatment.
My 2 cents: It’s also easier to cover up any temporary side effects (at least as far as body treatments go) in winter clothes.
MYTH: Fresh Air Gives Your Skin a Healthy Glow
Well, yes it does, but it’s likely to be the result of broken capillaries caused by harsh winds, which you don’t want. Load up with moisturizer and cover up with a scarf when you head outdoors. Use a good blush for the fresh faced look – it’s healthier!
My 2 cents: Winter winds are very harsh here in Scotland – great to have an excuse to stay out of them as much as possible.
MYTH: High-tech Clothing is a Must for Cold Weather
High tech clothing, especially if it’s made from artificial fibers like nylon or polyester, can trap dead cells, oil and sweat on your skin and cause all kinds of nasties such as breakouts, clogged pores, bumps and ingrown hairs. Always choose natural fabrics especially next to your skin.
My 2 cents: I like layers of cotton, wool and cashmere clothes in cold weather for soft warmth but I don’t do much mountain climbing type activities so you need to adapt your clothing to what you are doing…