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Skin Tips for Cold Weather


By Tara Ichelson, Licensed Esthetician, Owner, Pretique SkinSpa

Cooler weather is upon us once again, and just as we adjust the kinds of clothes we wear to adapt to the cooler weather, our skin needs a little extra help as well to avoid becoming brittle, dry, and dehydrated. Skin takes a major hit as the humidity from the air dissipates when temperatures drop. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, and when we add the likes of central heating to the mix, it makes dry skin and hair that much drier. The results are flaky and rough skin, loss of radiance, and, for those who are older, the effects of this change are even more drastic. We are going to go over some easy tips which can make a huge difference in how your skin looks and feels during the cold months, so you can keep your skin looking and feeling as fabulous as ever.

To start with, here a few easy changes to a facial skincare regimen that will dramatically combat the effects of winter skin. One example is in the type of cleanser that is used. Opt for a cream-based cleanser or a cleansing milk; these cleansers will not only avoid stripping your skin of moisture, but will actually add moisture back in. Try to avoid any cleanser or astringent that contains alcohol, as this will only increase tightness of the skin.

Another tip for increasing hydration in the skin is to pick a heavier moisturizer from what was used in the warmer months, and also to moisturize more often. Be careful not choose a moisturizer or cream that has oils which will clog pores. However, if one prefers an oil-based product, then avocado oil, almond oil, and the popular argan oils are good options and are pore friendly. If the preference is to avoid oils, then look for ingredients such as glycerin or alpha hydroxy acids, which are humectants and actually attract moisture to the skin. One of my favorite products to use and recommend is hyaluronic acid, which has the ability to hold 1000 times its weight in water to increase hydration on contact. A bonus is the dramatic plumping effect to the skin, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Make sure to wait a couple of minutes after hydrating before applying makeup to ensure penetration.

Of course, we can’t forget the skin that covers the rest of our bodies. As wonderful as a hot bath or shower feels to warm us up, it does significant damage to the skin by breaking down the moisture barrier, so try and avoid using really hot bath or shower water. For those who can’t go without their baths, try adding in oatmeal to soothe dry and itchy skin, but keep the water temperature around lukewarm. No matter how you bathe, be sure to hydrate afterward with a good body lotion or cream, and I mean immediately afterward, when the skin is still damp. This will allow the moisture to be trapped at the surface and effectively hydrate and repair the barrier.

Another area where skin takes the brunt of cooler air is on our hands, where the skin is thinner and has fewer oil glands, which makes it very difficult to keep the hands hydrated. This results in cracked and chapped hands that are downright painful to even put lotion on. Be sure to wear gloves and always avoid putting wet gloves or mittens on. Hydrate with a lotion or cream specific to the hands. However, if the hands are already chapped and red, avoid scented lotions until they are healed and hydrated, as scented lotions will cause burning and irritation when applied. For the feet, exfoliating with a scrub is very effective to getting the dead skin cells off that thick skin and then applying a thick coat of moisturizer or body butter will make the feet feel silky soft.

Finally, don’t forget the sunscreen. We have discussed the importance of sunscreen in every article, and just because it’s not warm out doesn’t make the sun any less damaging. In fact, winter sun, combined with the reflective properties of snow, can be more damaging. Be sure to apply sunscreen to the face as part of your facial skincare regimen, and don’t forget the hands and lips! Lips get chapped and flaky, so throughout the day use a moisturizing lip balm with SPF that will not only keep the lips soft and hydrated, but will provide protection as well.

Winter skin doesn’t have to be drab and washed out. By following these easy steps, your skin can be radiant and hydrated all season long. Investing in a humidifier for the home is also going to help boost these results by putting moisture back in to the air. A professional treatment, such as a full body polish and moisture treatment or a specialized hydrating facial service, is a great way to give your skin a jump-start to maintain fabulous skin during the harsh months. These skin treatments are a relaxing and therapeutic way to treat winter skin blues.

Tara Ichelson is a licensed esthetician and owner of Pretique SkinSpa in Bettendorf, Iowa. She offers professional luxury facials and skin treatments at practical prices, and is available for free skin consultations. Her passion is to educate and help others to achieve the goals they have for their skin while providing the ultimate in relaxation, with each client’s individualized time and budget in mind. Tara is available Tuesdays – Saturdays by appointment only. Call 563-650-0290 to schedule an appointment or a FREE skin consultation. Visit www.pretiqueskinspa.com to view a service menu and ongoing winter specials!

Photo credit: amoklv/iStock