February 18, 2019
How to Beat Winter Dryness
Layer on the hydration
Photo courtesy of Schmidt’s
By Natalie Shukur
writer for The Natural
When it comes to winter, I always upgrade to a heavy-duty moisturizer and keep a hand cream and lip balm in my bag at all times. But despite this seemingly hydrating arsenal, my skin still feels dry, itchy, and flakey. Winter’s extreme temperatures (freezing outside and toasty inside) plus a lack of humidity, can leave skin feeling especially parched. Aided by consulting skin care experts and experimenting at home, here are some easy and effective hacks I have discovered that keep skin feeling balanced and comforted all season long.
Seal in lipids with water
This simple trick is a game-changer and works for face, body, and hair. Did you know that in the presence of water, oil acts like a moisture magnet? It creates a hydrolipidic film that seals moisture into the epidermis.
To help seal the deal for your face, spritz a generous amount of a hydrosol or rosewater spray post-cleansing, and then apply a few drops of oil (rosehip, jojoba or vitamin E, for example), first emulsifying between your palms and then gently pressing into the skin. For the body, apply a generous coating of body oil post-shower all over damp skin before gently patting dry with a towel. For hair, after rinsing off your conditioner, massage a few drops (or more, depending on how dry your hair type is) of hair oil into wet hair, coating the ends and mid-lengths before wrapping in a towel. Bonus: oil won’t sit on wet skin or hair in a greasy layer; instead, it will be soaked up, leaving you nourished from the outside in.
Ditch the cotton while you sleep
Do you sleep in cotton pajamas or an oversized t‑shirt? This could be sucking the moisture from your skin as you slumber since cotton is known as one of the most absorbent materials. Instead, try a satin fabric or, even better, silk. Those who sleep on silk have been known to say they wake up feeling far less itchy and dehydrated. For the full effect, consider upgrading to silk sheets and pillowcases during the winter months, too.
Drink more water
Drinking sufficient water is a no-brainer for hydration but it’s sometimes difficult to practice when it’s cold out. How to make it easier? Keep a flask of water with you at all times and sip throughout the day, up your water intake post-exercise, add lemon to your water to boost hydration, and supplement with herbal teas for a warming way to meet your H2O goals.
Layer on hydration
The skin on your face needs different types of moisture from both water and oil for maximum hydration. In addition to the above-mentioned water and oil trick, you can also layer on a hyaluronic acid serum followed by a nourishing cream to meet your skin’s hydration needs and keep it in balance. For best results, let each product layer soak in thoroughly before applying the next one.
The effects of high quality oils, serums and creams are lessened if the skin they are being applied to is covered in dead, dry and dusty cells. For maximum moisture absorption, it’s important that pores are clear of debris. Look for topical exfoliators featuring natural acids such as alpha and beta hydroxy, lactic, and salicylic acid as well as enzymes derived from pineapple and papaya that slough off dead skin cells with the sweep of a cotton pad. Or use a manual sugar, salt, bamboo or jojoba scrub on face and body a few times a week. A good dry body brush also works wonders.
Humidify your home
Artificial heating, whether it’s from a radiator, fan heater or AC unit can suck moisture from the air, leaving your skin as arid as the desert. Try placing humidifiers where you spend the most time, especially at your desk or near your bed as you sleep. For a cheap fix, try positioning bowls of fresh water near your radiators to offset the drying effects, and add a few drops of essential oil for added aromatherapy benefits. Finally, no matter how cold it is outside, opening your windows a crack will keep air from becoming stuffy and stale.
Gobble up good fats
As with most ailments, your diet can provide relief. To nourish from the inside out, add good fats from avocado, oily fish, ghee, and olive oil to your daily diet and consider an omega 3 or fish oil supplement to keep skin and connective tissues supple and hydrated. Collagen-rich bone broths and collagen and hyaluronic acid powders that you can mix into drinks and smoothies have also shown promise when it comes to increasing the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.
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