Help Heal Dry Winter Skin

These freezing temperatures are hard on us in many ways – and especially hard on our skin. The cold, dry air robs our skin of moisture all day and our indoor heating further compounds the issue at night. Harsh winter winds, hot showers or baths, and chemical cleansers can also contribute to redness, itching, chapping, cracking and even bleeding. Here are some tips to help counteract these effects and keep our skin healthy and comfortable this season!

Dial down the hot water
No matter how great it feels to stand under a stream of steaming water or sink into a toasty tub in the depths of winter, hot water is damaging and drying to your skin. Try switching to lukewarm water when you can, especially when washing your face or hands. This will help avoid stripping the natural, protective oils from your skin. Hot water and dish soap are especially hard on your hands – try pulling on some rubber gloves to protect your hands while you wash the dishes!

Lock in the moisture
In order to help seal in moisture after a bath or shower, you need to apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Keep your favourite moisturizer beside the tub or even in the shower and at every sink you use – and apply a generous layer every time you wash!

Break the cycle
Many moisturizers are formulated with petroleum-based ingredients, alcohols and other chemicals that can actually further dry out your skin. This is often why we feel “addicted” to hand creams and lip balms and have to keep applying more! Break the cycle and go for an oil-based rather than a water-based product, as it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture. For the most natural approach, nourishing oils like argan, jojoba, or shea butter, are great for soothing dry, itchy skin.

Step up the hydration
We tend to drink less water in the winter because its cold and we prefer warming drinks like coffee, tea and hot cocoa – but our skin needs hydration from the inside too. I love hot water with lemon – it’s refreshing, hydrating, healthy and cozy! I slice lemons and freeze them – then I can drop a slice into my flask of hot water and sip throughout the day! You can even add a sliver of fresh ginger and some honey for extra warming effects or if you’re feeling under-the-weather.

Keep out the cold
Make sure to wear your gloves and scarf to protect your skin from cold winds, rain, and snow. Also, choose a natural lip balm that adds a layer of protection against chapping winds. I love these ones from Goat Natural – I keep them in every purse and pocket! (Their soaps are a staple for me!)

Add back some humidity
Do you wake up in the morning with tight, itchy skin or a dry scratchy throat and stuffy nose? Heating systems dry out the air in your home, so it might be worth considering installing a humidifier on your furnace, or placing a unit in your bedroom. This can help put moisture back into the air and help prevent your skin from drying out overnight. Always make sure you clean your humidifier frequently according to its instructions.

Avoid the chemicals
Beauty, skincare and household products are loaded with chemical ingredients and surfactants that are known toxins, allergens and irritants. This is particularly important to be aware of and avoid if you have eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, but also for anyone who wants to steer clear of chemical-laden detergents and harsh soaps on their skin. Choose a milder laundry detergent, sulphate-free shampoo, soaps and cleansers in your beauty routine, and natural cleaning agents like vinegar solutions for your home.

Change the game
Facial cleansers can be extremely drying to the skin – they contain acids, surfactants, alcohols, exfoliants that tear at your skin, and a huge number of other toxic and irritating chemical ingredients. Instead of stripping your skin, try being gentle with it. Switching to the oil cleanse method can truly be a game changer for calming dry skin. I don’t recommend coconut oil, because it can cause breakouts, but I love pure jojoba oil and a warm (not hot) washcloth. Makeup dissolves away without that squeaky-clean tightness and dehydration. Finish with a little more oil to moisturize and your skin will glow!