During the winter, the weather, as you might expect, is cold outside, and the heating inside your home contains low humidity. The cold outside and the low humidity inside both conspire to dry out your skin.
These two factors working against your skin may make it seem frustrating to fight back. However, there are many ways to combat the excessive dryness naturally and (as a bonus) relatively inexpensively. Here are a few tips:
1. Drink Lots of Water.
One of the easiest methods of hydrating your skin is to make sure your body is hydrated from the inside. Conversely, if you are not hydrated internally, your body will conserve water whatever way it can to help maintain your blood and kidneys, including removing water from the skin if needed.
I usually recommend that everybody drink at least 2 liters of water every day. Every person is different, so another easy way to remember this tip is that if your urine is colored at all (e.g. yellow), you are not drinking enough.
2. Use Only Gentle, Natural Soaps.
Harsh soaps, such as those that have lots of chemicals and fragrances, will clean your skin, but at the expense of your natural skin oils. That is, these soaps will get the dirt and grime off your skin, but will also take away the elements that are essential to keeping your skin hydrated.
I recommend using mild soaps that contain only natural ingredients that enhance moisture in the skin. If you check the ingredients of the hand soap or bar soap you intend to buy at the grocery store, and the soap contains aloe vera, oatmeal and/or olive oil, be sure to buy and use that soap.
3. Cool Down The Shower And Bath.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, hot water in the winter also works with soaps to remove the natural oils from the skin. Hot water can aggravate your efforts to hydrate, even though it can be seductively nice and relaxing at the time.
Of course, I am not recommending you take a cold shower. No one should subject themselves to that.
Whether you are taking a shower or a bath, or even washing your hands, finding a balance between cool and hot water will benefit your skin. Try ensuring the water is lukewarm before washing yourself with it.
4. Add Humidity To Your Environment.
You do not have to add an expensive humidification system to your central heating to increase humidity in the air of your home. I recommend using a very simple humidifier, similar to what you would use if your child were to be ill with a cold or croup.
Your bedroom is the best location for this simple, portable humidifier, since this is obviously the room where you spend the most hours of your day. You will spend the night with your skin exposed to higher humidity levels, and this simple move will help hold back the drying-out process.
5. Apply Natural Oil Moisturizer To Your Skin After Showering.
Natural oils such as olive oil contain fatty acids and antioxidants. These oils help to maintain the hydration of the superficial cells on the surface of the skin.
A moisturizer with these oils, when applied to your moist skin after a shower or bath, can lock in some of the external moisture to which you have been exposed. Additionally, it will lessen the chances of your skin drying over the ensuing hours when it is exposed to the drying environment (see Step 1 above).
6. For Facial Dryness, Facials Are Great!
During the winter, monthly facials can keep your skin supple and less likely to dry out. I particularly recommend the Hydrafacial performed by Denise Gidney, the superb aesthetician here at Maine Laser Skin Care.
Not only does the Hydrafacial remove many of the impurities that plug the pores, but it also flushes moisture into the skin. I have had this procedure done a number of times myself, and I would recommend it even if another practice besides Maine Laser Skin Care were offering it.
7. Increase High-Water-Content Foods In Your Diet.
Fruits and vegetables of all varieties generally have high water content. Increasing your intake of plant-based foods can infuse your body with fluid as well as natural vitamins, minerals and oils. Your skin will be better hydrated and appear more healthy.
8. Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Your Diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly known as “good fats” because they are the essential components that your body uses to produce the oils that preserve moisture in your skin. The more foods you consume that contains omega-3 fatty acids, the better your skin will look and feel.
Oily fish such as salmon and sardines have the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t like to eat fish, you can also add avocados and olive oil to many dishes to increase your hydration naturally.
During the winter when your skin is most vulnerable, treat your skin with kindness. Do not do anything harsh to your skin. Even if your skin feels dry and itchy, do not rub, itch or scratch it.
Keeping your body and skin hydrated will help you look and feel younger. Delay the effects of aging naturally with these tips.