Skin Care Tips for Winter and Beyond
Skin Care Tips for Winter and Beyond
Tips to Prevent and Repair Damage to the Skin
The first rule: nothing beats a hot shower on a cold day, but be careful about blasting hot water full-force directly onto your face. This can cause broken capillaries and leave you with red, inflamed, and dried-out skin. Either lower the temperature and decrease the pressure of the shower stream, or cup your hands to splash water onto your face. Take showers with warm water, not hot, and take ten-minute showers, not half-hour showers. A warm bath with oil is better for your skin—and even more relaxing. I recommend Burt’s Bees Bath & Body Oil with lemon.
When you’re washing your hair, try to prevent the shampoo and conditioner from running down your face. You can accomplish this by tilting your head back and using your hands to shield your face. The shampoo residue can lead to irritation, and the conditioner can clog pores.
Always read the ingredients on your skincare products. Never use anything that lists any type of sulfates. Sulfates are cheap detergents; they will strip your skin of all of their natural protective oils. It is really not necessary to use something this harsh on our skin. If you’re having trouble finding a sulfate-free cleanser, try the health food stores. Also avoid skincare products containing alcohol. The one exception is witch hazel, which is a moisturizing alcohol.
Pay attention to what you’re using to dry your face. A rough bath towel is the wrong thing, for a couple of different reasons. A bath towel is the wrong texture for our delicate facial skin. As an esthetician, I would strongly recommend keeping a separate towel for your face only (a soft, micro fabric material is best, or even a clean cotton shirt). Try Aquis Microfiber towels. Hang your face towel to dry in a separate area from your other towels. After a few uses, it needs to be laundered.
Never rub your face or neck when drying, simply blot gently. It’s okay for your skin to be left a little moist. Now is the perfect time to apply any serums or moisturizers because the pores are open for optimal absorption. Note: serums and moisturizing creams can be layered. However, the serum needs to be applied first and allowed to set for a minute before applying another product. If you’re not wearing makeup then you should apply a day cream as a minimum. Apply it to the neck and décolleté area as well. You never want to go into the elements with no barrier to protect your skin. If you wear makeup, it’s advisable to apply a primer, which will block foundations and powders from being able to sink into your pores.
If you are struggling with acne, I would recommend you purchase Viva disposable towels to dry your face after cleansing or showering. These towels are soft and cottony. Think about this: you don’t want all of your efforts to get rid of your acne to be sabotaged by a germy towel. It is also important to sleep on satin pillowcases. Use one side the first night and the other side the second night, then it should be laundered. This reduces friction and germ exposure to the skin. If you have acne, you also need to be washing your hair every day, because the bacteria in your hair could be contributing to the problem.
As tempting as it is to pick at blackheads or pimples it’s just not a good idea. I know what you’re thinking: you want those things out. If you have blackheads then you need to schedule an appointment for an acne facial. A licensed esthetician will remove your whiteheads and blackheads after steaming the face first. If you have an inflamed pimple with pus then you need to have it extracted by a dermatologist. These two professionals have the proper training and tools to remove these things safely. If you pick at them yourself you run the risk of scarring. If you already have dark marks left from picking at your acne, then you know exactly what I am referring to. To fade post-inflammatory marks, I would recommend washing with a skin cleanser containing glycolic acid every night, as well as applying a Vitamin C serum to the area. Be patient; it will take some time for the scars to fade.
Proper and thorough cleansing before bed every night is one of the best things you can do for your skin. At the end of a long day, the makeup, sweat, and pollution that we’re exposed to has all mixed together. The first step is to use light pressure to remove the surface debris, either with a makeup-removing cloth or an unscented baby wipe. Afterward, you want to deep cleanse the skin. I would recommend using the Clarisonic system; however, washing your face with your hands can be effective as well, as long as your hands are clean. Use a combination of small and large circular motions to cleanse the face for at least two minutes. Always follow with a toner to rebalance the skin to the proper pH. Try Acure Hydrating Toner.
Another note: it is not necessary to wash the face more than once during the winter months. If there is a thorough face cleansing in the evening, the face will be clean in the morning. Just splash a little warm water on the face. The one exception is for a person dealing with acne. Then it is necessary to wash the face in the morning as well.
When removing waterproof mascara, be careful not to pull and tug the delicate eye area. Over time, this can lead to papery skin and fine lines. If you find you need to use more than simple pressure to remove your eye makeup, try massaging oil (olive, grape seed, coconut oil or whatever else you have in your kitchen) onto your lashes. Let it sit for 30-60 seconds, and then the mascara will slide right off.
If you accidentally injure the skin on your face with a burn from heated hairstyling tools, apply a thin layer of clear aloe to the area. Remember to buy only clear aloe. Green aloes are not natural, they’re just colored; the dyes themselves can lead to more irritation and don’t help with the healing process at all. You can also look for an ointment containing calendula at your local health food store. Both aloe and calendula will quicken the healing process, as well as prevent scarring. Make sure to apply them several times a day.
Something else worth mentioning is care for your hands. Who doesn’t have extremely dry hands this time of year? Avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizers. I recommend using CleanWell hand spray and wipes. They are herb-based and have strong anti-viral properties.
One last note: if you feel like your skin is just very raw and in need of deep repair I would highly recommend SkinMedica TNS Repair Serum. It contains extremely effective ingredients modeled after our body’s own natural wound healing chemicals.
Follow these tips and you are sure to have healthy moisturized skin all through the winter.