Here’s the proper way to pamper dry, cold-weather skin
If only Jack Frost were content to just nip at our noses. But this season’s temperatures, fierce winds and dryness take a toll on our faces and lips, as well. Our skin, hair and nails also suffer the effects of wintertime.
Indoors is no escape. “Once the heat goes on in the house, everything dries out,” says Dr. Brooke Jackson, Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. Fortunately, a modified skincare and beauty regimen can reduce discomfort and damage caused by winter weather.
While petal-soft skin hardly seems possible in harsher climates, you can restore some dewiness to a dry complexion by switching to a richer moisturizer. “In places like the Midwest, people need two sets of products,” Jackson says. “During the winter months, it’s best to use a moisturizer from a jar versus a pump bottle or pour bottle.”
Products in jars and tubs are cream-based; the others are generally lotion-based and don’t stand up as well to winter conditions.
Additionally, switch from powder- or mineral-based makeup to liquid for a smoother-looking complexion, as powder can “catch” on dry patches on the face, says Chicago hair and makeup artist Candace Corey.
Your flannel pillowcases, though warm and cozy, could be causing problems. “Switch to satin or silk, because cotton is absorbent so it can take the moisture out of your face while you sleep,” Corey advises.
For head-to-toe dryness, use humidifiers and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Resist the urge to take long, hot showers. “Shorten the shower to 10 minutes or less, and avoid high heat and steam. They will dry your skin out even more,” Jackson warns.
Hot showers and daily shampooing can also exacerbate dry, brittle hair. “I’m a huge believer in not washing your hair every day,” says hair colorist Abby Reddel, Abielle Salon, Chicago.
Use one of the dry shampoos on the market if need be. Or if your hair isn’t dirty but needs a rinse, “It’s better to wet it and put conditioner on it than it is to actually shampoo it,” Reddel says.
Use a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a week to improve elasticity and prevent breakage.
Before styling, help prevent static electricity and flyaway hair by applying putty or pomade, or a silicone-based serum or spray, Reddel suggests. After styling, a light application of hairspray guards against static, as well.
Don’t let gray skies fool you. Even when out of sight, the sun sends cancer-causing rays through the gloom. Dermatologists generally recommend using sunscreen or cosmetics with a sun protection factor of at least 15 in winter. Those planning on dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh (or engaging in other outdoor pursuits) should use SPF 30 and perhaps put a thin layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor on their faces to prevent windburn, Jackson recommends.
The mistletoe may have come and gone, but you still want a kissable pucker. Avoid the temptation to lick cracked lips, as saliva dries them out even more. Use lip balms that contain lip-drenching petrolatum or lanolin.
Stomping in and out of doors in snow boots submits feet to cycles of shivering and sweating that can lead to painful cracks. Look for remedies containing lactic, glycolic or salicylic acids. Or at bedtime, apply Vaseline and put on socks, Jackson recommends.
Fingernails are a type of skin, so it’s essential to keep them moisturized to prevent breakage. Where nail polish is sold, look for treatments that soften cuticles and add vitamins to the nail bed.
DYI Derma Drenchers
Face: Smash an avocado with a fork. When creamy, apply it to your freshly washed face. Rinse after 15 minutes.
Body: Mix granulated sugar with honey to create an exfoliating body scrub.
Hair: Whisk together olive oil and one egg yolk. Distribute through hair and leave in for 20 minutes before shampooing.
Source: Candace Corey
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