Welcome to the season of chapped lips and tight cheeks! I always look forward to the colder months until I wake up one day with parched skin. Luckily, over the years, I’ve learned a lot more about how to treat winter skin and how to prevent it from really drying out. And since I hear lots of you complaining about sandpaper skin as well, here are my top tips to keep yourself plump and soft in the colder weather, too.
Dry vs dehydrated skin
It can be quite confusing, but dry and dehydrated skin isn’t the same. Dry skin lacks oil (moisture) while dehydrated skin lacks water (hydration). The best way to know whether you suffer from dry or dehydrated skin is to wash your face and leave it like that for a while. If your skin just feels tight, it’s dehydrated. If your skin gets patchy and flaky, it’s dry. Don’t forget that oily skin can perfectly be dehydrated as well (me!). It’s even very often the case, especially with winter skin.
Lifestyle shifts for winter skin
Before diving into skin care, let’s take a look at what lifestyle bits your can switch around in order to keep your skin happy and plump during winter. The big bad wolf here is central heating – it dries the air out so your skin releases all its moisture, leaving it dehydrated and sensitive. If the air is extremely dry inside your house, consider investing in an air humidifier or a diffuser.
Next to that, watch what you’re eating and drinking in order to keep your skin feeling at its best. A lot people are still shocked when I tell them that your intake of alcohol and caffeine has a direct effect on your skin. Try to limit those especially when your skin is feeling dry, as they’re dehydrating – and age-stimulating! – beverages. Choose extra fatty foods like olive oil, fish, avocado and nuts for nourishment from within. And – obviously – drink a ton of water every day to keep your hydration levels up.
The right way to cleanse your skin
When cleansing your winter skin, there are two important factors to consider. First, your cleanser itself. Keep it gentle and mild, free of fragrance and alcohol and preferably non- or low-foaming. With a gentle cleansing milk, you softly cleanse without stripping your skin from its natural oils – which a foaming cleansing gel normally does.
Secondly, you’re probably using way too much and way too hot water on your skin. Even though it may sound a bit contradictory, using a lot of warm water dries your skin out even more. It may be tempting to take your cleanser off with a warm cloth, to jump under a hot shower or to soak in a bath for hours on end. But that’s exactly what’s making your skin all dry and parched!
So should you skip warm water at all? No, just remember to restore your skin after cleansing, showering or bathing with a toner or a balancing mist. That way you restore your skins pH levels which are disturbed by the water.
Winter skin care routine
Do you still use the same products on your face as you do in summer? If your skin is feeling drier and more dehydrated than usual, it’s time to switch some things up. To start, treat your skin to a mild exfoliation twice a week. You can use a mild scrub, but it’s even better to go for an enzyme peeling like the Oskia Renaissance Mask or the Rituals Glow Mask. Use a hydrating mask afterwards to really get your skin all nice and soft.
Next to that, pick up a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid. This ingredient combats dehydration and is literally like a drink of water for your skin – trust me, you’ll have never thought your skin could be so soft and plump. Use it morning and evening after cleansing and before layering an oil-based moisturiser on top. Your moisturiser acts like a buffer and makes sure you keep all the moisture in during the day, plus the oil provides some extra nourishment.