Whether we like it or not, winter is coming and with it comes the opportunity to re-learn some new healthy habits for colder months. For some, it's the best time of the year: There is always a blanket of snow on the ground and you get to cozy up in the house with a hot cup of soup. For others (aka me), it's the time of the year that we dread. Not only do the treacherous, blistering winds force us to wear a million layers to keep our bodies from getting frost bite, but it also kills our skin to the point that we are lathering lotion all day, every day. It's a sick cycle that as a Floridian, I am not used to, especially for my skin.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of moving to New York. The weather was perfect and I was kind of excited to experience the snow, because Florida is straight-up hot all the time. I've previously experienced winters before while I've visited my mother in NYC, and it wasn't that bad. I would layer up and maybe, just maybe, use some gloves. But, when you actually make the transition to move and live in a colder state, that's a different ball game — and my skin took notice. After surviving this past winter, I figured out some tips and tricks, and searched for some help online, too, to help keep my skin fresh and moist all winter long. Without further ado, here are the seven tips your skin will thank you for.
1. Lather On Coconut Oil
This is going to be your best friend. Seriously. Last winter, I used coconut oil for everything and it was a total life saver. While coconut oil is great for a multitude of things, it's perfect for moisturizing your skin. It moisten my skin after one use, and ever since then, I always had to have it in the house. When you are shopping for coconut oil, make sure you are looking for the good stuff. Dr. Audrey Kunin, MD, a dermatologist and the creator of the DermaDoctor skincare line in an article for Everyday Health, advises that you “Look for extra virgin that has not been hydrogenated, bleached, or refined in any way or [has] any fragrance or dyes added to it.” You essentially want the holy grail of coconut oils to relinquish dry skin.
2. Drink Lots Of Water
You probably heard this before, but I'm going to say it again: Water is and will always be the best way to hydrate your skin. When your skin is dehydrated from not drinking enough water, it gets very dry very quickly. Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD said, "... once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids." Water is the oil to your body automobile. It needs it to keep everything else functioning as well as keep your skin super hydrated and soft. And that is essentially all we want.
3. Exfoliate At Least Once A Week Or More
This is a great way to get rid of the first layer of all your problems (pun totally intended). When your dry skin has a blanket full of dead cells on your skin, it's really hard for the moisture to properly get into your pores. All you need is a good exfoliant to softly scrub away all the dead skin. I usually just created a homemade body scrub from honey, sugar (or coffee), and olive oil. The honey is great to fight bacteria, while the sugar and olive oil are perfect to rid of any impurities and moisten my skin at the same time.
But how often should you exfoliate? Well, according to Kate Somerville, Hollywood's most sought after skin guru in an article for The Doctors, you should be exfoliating twice a week. “That’s what’s going to give you that gorgeous glow. It’s going to keep your skin youthful, and it will allow the other products that you spend a lot of money on to work better,” Somerville said. In addition to getting rid of dead skin cells, it will speed up the skin renewal process, too. I think that is the best two-for-one you could ever ask for.
4. Always Wear Sunscreen
OK, this might sound crazy, but it's really important to wear sunscreen even when it's not 90 degrees outside. I am guilty of not following this completely 100 percent, but it's a must to keep your face fresh and to prevent anymore dryness during those colder months. According to an article from the Dermatology Associates, the ice and snow both reflect UV rays, which damage your skin.
5. Get Yourself A Humidifier
I plan on buying one this year for my home. It's supposed to be a great way to add moisture in the air when it's bone dry outside. As someone from Florida who never had to experience this before (and always had central AC and heater), I experienced the dryness in the air for the first time when we would have the radiator on all the time. Plus, it is right next to my bed, which is a huge no-no for the skin. Park Avenue dermatologist Neal Schultz in an article for You Beauty said, “You need to supplement [moisture] because when it gets dry enough, the moisture on our skin evaporates into the air. This is particularly important in the winter. Any way you can add humidity to the air in an environment in which you spend a lot of time is going to be helpful.” So, let's listen to the doc and get ourselves one of those bad boys.
6. Eat The Good Stuff
What you put inside your body will help determine not only how you will feel on the inside, but how your skin will feel on the outside. This stuff is important with a capital "I" in front. Make sure your fridge is full of foods (especially fruits and veggies) that are full of nutrients that will moisten your skin. Amy Newburger, MD, an attending physician in the Dermatology Department at St. Luke's Roosevelt Medical Center in an article for Everyday Health said that lipids are very vital to prevent dry skin. "Skin without enough fat in it has a protein predominance and is kind of like a mess made just of twigs with no glue between them." Essentially, the moisture or "water" need a protective barrier to prevent it from escaping from the skin. Try having lots of fish or foods that are high in Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Foods like corn and grass-fed beef are all good sources of these guys.
7. Don't Take Super Hot Baths Or Shower
This one is especially hard for me, because I just love a good hot bath or shower. But, in the long haul, it's terrible for your skin. It sucks the moisture out of your skin, leaving it bone dry. Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor, said that, “The high water temperature and the evaporation of water off the skin, once out of the shower, causes the skin to become drier.” Sounds just awful to me. Katta also recommends to use creams over lotions because, “... lotions contain a larger amount of water and don’t lock in moisture as well as creams and ointments.” And that's why I'll just stick to my trusty coconut oil because it's literally good for everything and feels amazing.
And now you know! Don't let this winter kick your skin in the face. Take control of your skin and how it feels. While these might be extra steps you need to think about, in the end, it will be worth it because all of your friends will be asking why your skin looks so good.
Images: Giphy (8); Pexels