Skin hydration is one of the most important essentials to keep your skin healthy, young and beautiful. Now that colder months of the year are here, I get this question more often - "How to take care of the skin during cold weather"? It is important to take care of your skin all year round, but during cold months when your skin gets attacked by elements, it's indeed becomes a top priority. Understanding how the skin functions, as well as how skin care products work, will help you achieve balanced, hydrated skin throughout all the seasons. Let's look into it....
To keep your skin healthy, nourished and hydrated, there has to be a balance between water and oil in your skin.
One of the primary ways to stay moisturized is to hydrate from the inside out. Plentiful water consumption each and every day has an immense impact on the health of your skin. And I do understand that drinking a plain water is boring, to say the least. But without enough water, the skin will suffer decreased elasticity, dryness and an inability to properly regenerate itself. And without the continuous monthly shedding of dead skin cells, it may result in inflammation, acne and an overall dull appearance. To help with regular water intake, try to squeeze some lemon juice into a water bottle, and add some stevia. That boring water will turn into a yummy and healthy lemonade. Take that bottle with you, wherever you go, and you are on your way to a proper hydration.
Additionally, the oils are just as essential part of keeping your skin soft and smooth. Many people tend to shy away from using oils on their skin, believing that it may lead to breakouts and acne. It is not so. Without a balance of oils, the skin can actually begin to over-produce oil from our glands, which can lead to those unwanted breakouts.
Choosing the best skin care products for your skin, it’s important to consider how those key ingredients work in the skin. Whether the ingredient is a humectant or occlusive will determine if it’s attracting moisture or locking it in, respectively; both are necessary for successful skin hydration.
What are HUMECTANTS? These ingredients attract water and pull it into the epidermis from the dermis. Some popular and effective humectants are the following:
Glycerin – provides surface hydration in addition to infusing skin cells with moisture directly.
Sodium PCA – can attract and hold up to 250 times its weight in water.
Lactic acid – is hydrophilic and breaks down skin desmosomes for exfoliation ease. In addition, it’s an antibacterial ingredient that inhibits the formation of hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays.
Hyaluronic acid – is the strongest humectant that attracts and holds up to 1,000 times their weight in water.
What are OCCLUSIVES? These ingredients lock the moisture that humectants attract into the skin. Products that contain them are often best to use post-bathing, to seal in moisture while the pores are open.
Sweet almond oil – contains an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamin E.
Jojoba oil – closely mimics sebum, reducing the occurrence or excess sebum.
Shea butter – is very beneficial for dry skin, keeping it soft and maintaining moisture levels without feeling greasy. It is high in vitamins A and E.
Daily use of beneficial moisturizing ingredients is essential to ensure proper hydration. And of course there are additional simple measures that need to be taken in the course of your daily skin care regimen that will help avoid moisture imbalance.
Wash your skin gently, without rubbing. It’s important to not over-wash or over-scrub your skin while washing. It can lead to over-production of sebum, oily looking skin and acne breakouts.
Use sunscreen every day of the year. The most recommended sunscreen is at least SPF30. Make sure you apply it correctly regardless of the time of the year. While many assume that sun exposure is more damaging during the hot summer, it’s a myth. UV rays work the same all year round. It might be surprising, but weather plays a factor too. Water, for example, reflects only 10% of UV rays, while sand reflects 15%, and snow…. a whopping 80%!!! UV damage can dry out your skin, destabilizing the skin’s moisture retention mechanisms. Overtime it can also lead to unsightly brown spots and even cancer. It's not worth it, just use a sunscreen.
Advanced levels of moisture can be infused into the skin via monthly special treatments, like chemical peels and masques. Such treatments can help remove any impacted skin cells to further improve the skin’s ability to absorb hydrating topical ingredients in daily care products. We will review some popular spa treatments in another post.
By following these simple strategies for proper moisturization, you can enjoy healthy and luminous skin no matter the weather.