Are you guilty of not taking proper care of your skin in the winter? I know I am, even being a beauty blogger. I’m no expert, and no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. Life gets busy, and sometimes we forget just how important caring for your skin is. Not just in the winter, but all year round. Every year people experience various degrees of dry skin. From mildly chapped to raw, red, and painfully cracking, the cold elements tear up the top layer of skin, and most of the time, we watch it happen. Today, freelance writer Elizabeth Rago shares five winter skincare mistakes everyone makes and how to avoid them.
1. Taking a hot shower to warm up
While this seems like a logical way to get your core temperature up on cold days, hanging about in the shower really sucks the moisture out of your epidermis. Mostly made up of skin cells called keratinocytes, the outer layer of skin uses these cells to keep moisture and produce a thin layer of oil. A hot shower proceeds to strip that layer. “The heat from the shower makes the skin’s oils soften, much as butter softens and melts when heated,” says Jonathan Atteberry of Discovery Health. “Add some soap into the mix, and the skin’s oil barrier is stripped away in no time.”
Solution: “Take a tepid shower, and apply treatment products and moisturizers within 2 minutes of patting yourself dry,” says Annet King, Director of Global Education for Dermalogica.
2. Not using a humidifier
Humidifiers shouldn’t be something you dust off and use only when you have a cold. Once the heat is turned on in your home, moisture is drawn from the air every time the unit ignites causing cracked and chapped lips and dry skin.
Solution: Mayo Clinic says moisture in the air eases skin and soothes the problems caused by dry indoor air. However, properly maintaining your humidifier or selecting a brand that is filter-less is just as important as introducing one to your home. “Humidifiers can make you sick if they aren’t maintained properly or if humidity levels stay too high. If you use humidifiers, be sure to watch humidity levels and keep your humidifier clean. Dirty humidifiers can breed mold or bacteria.” – Mayo Clinic Staff blog
3. Letting it all hang out
At some point your skin is exposed to the elements but there are ways prevent the effects of dry skin. Cover up when you are outside. Short of suiting up in a full body armor of snow pants and long underwear, try tweaking your winter weather gear a bit and setting up a basket with multiple sets of gloves, scarves, and hats.
Solution: Try mittens – “Of course, mittens always are warmer than gloves,” says Doug Gantenbein of Outside Magazine. “Any glove or mitten you choose will benefit from liners. I like silk because it adds so little bulk, but wool does the trick, too.”
4. Forgetting to exfoliate
Don’t get obsessed with lathering up and forget to shed that pesky layer of dead skin that is keeping your complexion from being vibrant.
Solution: “Gentle exfoliation keeps the debris from accumulating,” King told Aesthetics Professional. “These (exfoliants) lift dead cell debris, gently resurface using only the mildest bit of mechanical action, and still leave the lipid barrier robust and intact.”
5. Avoiding the dermatologist
We are all guilty of trying to troubleshoot our skin concerns, when most of the time we are exacerbating the situation.
Solution: ThriveMedSpa.com speaks of their Deep Cleansing Facial, which includes a thorough skin assessment and evaluation. “We will determine if your skin is Dry, Normal, or Oily and use the proper 100% organic products to address your skin type.” Next, an exfoliation method which can include a manual brush, exfoliation scrub, or enzyme treatment is chosen, taking care of winter skin care mistake #4 – Forgetting to exfoliate, at the same time.
You can avoid these winter skin care mistakes if you change your approach to maintaining the skin in cold weather. Never wait until a condition is so irritated that you are experiencing extreme pain and discomfort. Commissioning a team of experts (a.k.a. knowledgeable skin care professionals like those at Thrive Med Spa in Chicago) before your skin is in dire need means the difference between being happily proactive and not caught up in a painfully reactive treatment.
Are you guilty of any of these winter skin care mistakes?
About the author
Elizabeth Rago is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content, working with yoga studios, chiropractors, mental health, and wellness practitioners. Elizabeth writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter and Google+.