Top 10 tips for getting healthy, glowing skin this winter
Winter is hard on our skin. Cold wind, dry air, and artificial heating can all wreak havoc, leaving skin sore, reddened, and dry. “Our environment plays a huge role in skin health,” explains Qyral founder Hanieh Sigari. “As the weather turns cold, it’s super important to adjust your skincare routine to add extra nourishment and moisture that will protect against the harsh elements and keep skin soft and healthy.”
This winter doesn’t have to be bad for your skin. By making a few simple changes to your products and routine, you can give it the nourishment it needs to glow all winter long.
1. Stay hydrated
Winter usually means low humidity indoors and out. Whether from the cold wind that steals your breath, or turning up the thermostat to keep your toes warm in bed, low humidity is bad for your skin. That’s because when humidity is low, the air draws moisture out of the top layer of your skin, leaving it dry, dull, and wrinkled. In serious cases, dry skin can cause irritations that lead to itching and bleeding. Wintertime sees a huge surge in eczema and psoriasis symptoms because our skin is more prone to irritation.
You can protect your skin from low humidity by staying hydrated. The average adult should drink about 2 liters of water each day, so keep a sports bottle on the go and try to take a few sips every half hour. Add another 12 ounces of water for each 30 minutes you exercise to prevent your workouts from leaving you parched.
Aim to keep your environment hydrated as well. Use a humidifier at home and lower the thermostat to prevent the air from drying out. And don’t forget to moisturize. Oil-based moisturizer is best because it locks in water and prevents your skin from drying out.
2. Eat well
When the evenings are dark and cold, it’s tempting to fill up on heavy foods that make us feel good. However, to really nourish your skin, don’t overlook the veggies. Vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and water, which can help support your skin and keep it healthy. You should aim to eat a rainbow of colors throughout the day to get the widest variety of vitamins and minerals your body needs.
- Choose orange and yellow veg like peppers, carrots, and sweet potato for beta carotene
- Dark, leafy greens (kale, broccoli, spinach) are an excellent source of iron
- Salmon and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Avocados, squash, and kiwis are good sources of vitamin E
- Get vitamin B from whole grains, lean meats, and legumes
Finding fresh fruit and veg in winter can be difficult (and expensive) but frozen are often just as healthy, because they’re preserved when they’re at their most nutritious. Try to eat seasonably for the best deals, and don’t overlook the freezer aisle to keep your diet healthy and balanced.
3. Lower the water temperature
There’s nothing like getting in a hot bath at the end of a long, cold winter’s day, but it’s one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Hot water and soap strip the skin of essential natural oils that it needs to stay hydrated, and can put your skin at greater risk of drying out. If your skin is red, irritated, and itchy after a bath or shower, chances are the temperature was too high.
“Even though long hot showers feel soothing to the skin during cold weather, it is actually hard on the skin,” says Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. “The high water temperature and the evaporation of water off the skin, once out of the shower, causes the skin to become drier.” She recommends limiting baths and showers to 10-15 minutes in lukewarm water.
If you can’t live without a regular hot soak, you can reduce the damage by treating your skin immediately afterward. Pat dry gently — never rub your skin dry — and make sure to use a rich, oil-based moisturizer to put back some of the moisture you lost.
4. Exfoliate — gently!
Exfoliating might seem like the worst idea in the winter, but if your skin is dry, it probably needs the extra help. Dry skin has a harder time shedding the dead outer layer of cells, slowing the natural cellular turnover cycle. Dead skin buildup also prevents moisturizer from reaching the healthy skin underneath, and can exacerbate dryness and irritation.
Gently exfoliating to remove buildup can improve the appearance of dry skin, and help keep it healthier throughout the winter. Choose an exfoliant that’s kind to skin and limit exfoliating to once a week to avoid accidentally causing more irritation. Skip this step if your skin is already tight, sore, or broken, because exfoliating will make it worse. Instead focus on boosting your hydration first to help your skin recover before trying to exfoliate.
5. Avoid harsh cleansers
Many cleaners contain alcohol, fragrances, and other abrasive ingredients that can upset the balance of dry, sensitive skin. Instead, opt for cream-based cleaners that are equally effective at removing makeup, but don’t dry your skin and leave it tight and sore.
6. Skip charcoal and clay
These natural ingredients are super popular in many skincare products, especially those designed for oily skin. However they work by drying skin out and stripping oils and moisture from the surface — just what you don’t want in winter!
You might be surprised to learn oil-based products can be beneficial for oily skin. Your skin is constantly trying to find a healthy balance of moisture and lubricating oil, and adding extra oil to your skin can send a signal that it doesn’t need to produce any more.
7. Dry your skin
Despite the cold, dry air outside, it’s easy to find yourself exposed to the elements with damp skin. Whether your skin is wet from the shower, sweat, or rain and snow, it’s important to dry off again as soon as possible. That’s because the low humidity in winter will make moisture on your skin evaporate quickly, leaving dryness and irritation behind.
Especially because we’re washing our hands more often, it’s easy to overlook getting completely dry. However it’s worth taking a few minutes to blot your skin with a towel or tissue, remove damp clothing, and dry your hair before leaving the house.
8. Don’t overuse hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a great, convenient way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other seasonal viruses and bacteria, but it’s really hard on your skin. To be effective against pathogens, it must be at least 60 percent alcohol according to the CDC. However alcohol evaporates even faster than water, exacerbating skin irritations during the winter months. Instead, try to stick to soap whenever possible (it’s just as effective against the coronavirus), and give your hands some extra love with a rich moisturizer.
9. Protect your skin
Prevention is the best cure, so try to protect your skin whenever you go outside. Wear a scarf and gloves to protect your hands and neck from wind and low humidity, and stick to breathable fabrics to reduce sweating. For exposed skin, such as your face, don’t forget to use a lip salve, and apply a moisturizer with SPF to avoid adding UV damage to your winter woes. Snow reflects almost 90 percent of UV radiation, and those damaging rays can reach you even through clouds, so no matter the weather, it’s always important to use sunscreen.
10. Nighttime is for healing
Sleep is critical to our health, because our bodies spend the downtime repairing and rebuilding our cells. This is especially true in winter, and you can help your body’s natural healing by giving it the nourishment it needs. Before bed, use a conditioning moisturizer to hydrate and soothe your skin, and pay extra attention to problem areas like elbows and knees. An overnight eye cream will protect thinner, more fragile skin, and has the added bonus of making your skin appear healthier and fresher. Lip balm will also help prevent dry, cracked, and painful lips.
It’s not all about your face, either. Your hands and feet go through a lot in winter, so once a week, slather them with moisturizer and pop on a pair of old socks and gloves. It might feel a bit silly, but your skin will thank you in the morning!
Understanding how your skin works, and giving it the nourishment it needs, is the secret to maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin all year round. At Qyral, our products are individually tailored to treat your skin with exactly what it needs, whatever the season.