Oh Canada! We have some of the most severe winter conditions in the world. No matter how much we bundle ourselves up, our exposed faces take a beating from the extremely dry and cold weather. Not only does the turned up heating in our homes and offices provoke skin dehydration, but our tendency to take scalding hot showers can lead to depleted natural oils from the skin’s surface. This is made all the more worse by wind burns brought on by the cold air removing the top layer of oil from the skin.
Excessive dryness, redness, soreness, itchiness, and dullness, compounded by cracked skin and lips – we’ve all had to deal with one or multiple of these at one point or another. But other than the most obvious course of action of drinking more water, I got to wondering what are some other preventative and restorative measures that we can all do to protect our skin from the harsh winter elements. And so, after some experimentation and countless seasons taking a toll on my skin, this January I came across the magic equation to having brighter looking skin.
Exfoliating your skin is essential in the winter to remove dead skin cells and those pesky dry flakes. Gently exfoliating a few times a week will help promote a radiant, smooth complexion. I personally like to use a gentle exfoliator 4-5 times a week, massaging the product into the skin with care. At the moment I’m using the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Buffing Beads. I love this product because it’s gentle on my sensitive skin, yet strong enough that my face feels moist from the hydrogenated jojoba oil and other hydrating ingredients. The anti-aging benefits don’t hurt either! But to be honest any exfoliator will work just fine, whether it’s drugstore, high end, or a do it yourself remedy. Just remember not to rub your skin overly vigorously.
Use a serum
A serum is like a magic potion for the face. Although it’ll add an extra step to your skin care routine, the results are absolutely worth it. Serums have a higher concentration of active ingredients than a moisturizer. Because of their smaller molecule structure, serums are able to penetrate deep into the skin’s layers for maximum results. I was never a true serum believer until my friend Ania, the founder of the blog Cup of Sweet Tea, who recommended a serum that she adored. I was hesitant to spend money on another product but Ania had fallen in love with the results from the Mad Hippie – Vitamin C Serum. I did some research and found out that the hyaluronic acid in this product draws additional moisture into the skin, while the vitamin C evens out the skin tone, revitalizes the skin’s surface and improves hydration. After using this product for 3 weeks morning and night I saw a huge difference in my skin. My skin looks bright and awake, not dull and grey like it has for the past 6 months. I even noticed that the texture of my skin is smoother and my pores are smaller. I am heading into my 4th week of using this product and I want to give one to every girl I love. And the best thing about serums is that all skin types can benefit. My advice is to look for one that’s suited to your skin and tailored to the results you’re looking for, whether that’s anti-aging, to correct sun damage, or to add brightness.
Although a serum does hydrate deep into the skin, a moisturizer has added emollients to soften the top layers of your skin and to create a moisture barrier that wards off the harsh inclement weather. In the winter it’s a good idea to shift to a heavier lotion to offset the dryness. It’s also good to spray a thermal water such as Vichy’s Mineralizing Thermal Water to the skin before applying a moisturizer. While the skin is still a bit damp, apply your favourite moisturize to help seal the extra moisture into the skin. Clinique has a great line of moisturizers such as their Dramatically Different Moisturizer that comes in gel, lotion+ and cream formulas. Choose the one that’s best for you based on the level of dryness of your skin.
Apply an overnight face mask or oil
If your skin is still feeling tight and needs extra TLC, try adding an overnight mask such as Laneige Water Sleeping Mask that is lightweight and helps to deeply hydrate skin overnight. Another option is to apply a facial oil of your choice such as Now Foods: Organic Jojoba Oil. With some many different varieties out there – from argan oil to coconut oil to jojoba oil – there’s something for everyone. Either of these options can be the antidote to really help nourish and soothe your dry, tight, flaky skin, especially around the nose area.
Throw on an overnight lip mask
Chapped lips are common and can be quite painful, and sometimes applying lip chap just isn’t enough. What I find really helps is to slather on an overnight lip mask. Vaseline works really well, as do equal parts honey and coconut oil if you prefer DIY remedies. My absolute favourite product in the entire world is the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. Not only do I apply this every night to my lips and around my nostrils, but most days I use it as a lip balm throughout the day. This product has patented moisture wrap technology that boosts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film that locks in moisture. I can attest that this product has significantly reduced the flakiness on my lips: they haven’t cracked once this winter and are feeling super soft and supple.
The key to this regimen is to gently exfoliate to reveal new rejuvenated skin and to layer moisture wherever you can. You don’t have to use every step. Choose what works best for you and use products that you feel comfortable putting on your skin. Here’s to hydrated, healthier-looking skin!
Written by Michelle Whetton