It's not just the landscape that loses its vibrant color in the winter, your skin can tend to look a bit dull and dry during these colder months, too. As you try to revive your complexion with skin care products and makeup, avoid these common mistakes that can sabotage your efforts to keep your skin glowing during the coldest season of the year.
1. Not exfoliating routinely.
In winter more than any other season, it's essential to routinely exfoliate your skin to prevent dullness and flakey, dry spots. The colder temperatures slow down your skin cell turnover, which results in dead skin cell buildup and dull-looking skin. Use a gentle exfoliating product twice a week (once a week if your skin is more delicate) to encourage the shedding of dry, dead skin cells and keep your complexion healthy until spring makes its glorious return.
Homemade exfoliators made with sugar are affordable and work well as body scrubs, but when it comes to your face, you should opt for a more gentle, non-scrubbing option. The most gentle yet effective way to exfoliate is with fruit enzymes. Look for face masks that contain papaya, pineapple or pumpkin, which contain exfoliating enzymes and are also a natural source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Try the Yuli Pure Mask, the Odacité Synergie Beauty Masque, or the Tata Harper Purifying Mask.
Simply making the switch to a heavy moisturizer isn't as effective as working exfoliation into your skin care routine — the skin cell buildup won't allow the moisturizer to properly penetrate your skin and can lead to congested pores and breakouts.
2. Skipping SPF.
The sky might look gray during winter, but the sun isn't on vacation. UV rays can still cause damage to your skin (it's estimated that up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate the clouds). These rays are responsible for causing premature aging of the skin, including collagen breakdown, dark spots, and even skin cancer. Take the same sun-protective precautions that you would during summer and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen (preferably zinc-oxide based).
Effective, broad-spectrum face sunscreens to try include Coola SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish (great for oily skin types), and Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer Broad Protection SPF 30. Zinc-oxide based sunscreens (also called physical or mineral) have to be re-applied throughout the day. Follow the instructions on label of the product you use to ensure that you get the best sun protection.
If you take a trip to the mountains, keep in mind that UV ray exposure increases with altitude, and that snow reflects up to 80% of UV rays, making your skin even more vulnerable to skin damage.
3. Using lightweight creams and lotions.
Lightweight lotions and creams feel soothing and refreshing during warmer months, but do not offer enough protection for very dry, thirsty skin during winter. Switch to a richer cream or balm, preferably high in hydration-boosting plant oils (like jojoba or rosehip, which have emollient properties that help to soften the skin. Beauty balms also help to prevent dehydration by sealing in the moisture. Examples of excellent moisturizers are the One Love Organics Skin Dew Coconut Water Cream and the Leahlani Bless Beauty Balm.
Cold winter weather makes it harder for your skin to retain moisture. Keep a humidifier running in your bedroom during the night to soothe your skin and make your nights more comfortable. An excellent humidifier is the Boneco Ultrasonic.
4. Skipping lip balm.
Unlike the rest of our body, lips do not have sebaceous glands that produce the protective oil (sebum) that covers our skin. So, in harsh, cold weather conditions they tend to get irritated, dry and chapped. Applying a rich lip balm when the weather is particularly cold and windy offers some protection by sealing in moisture and conditioning your lips.
Choose a fragrance-free lip balm (fragrances can be irritating) that contains natural oils, butters and healing vitamins like vitamin E. I love Henné Organics Luxury Lip Balm V2, de Mamiel Rosey Lip Balm and S.W Basics Organic Cocoa Lip Balm.
5. Using powder makeup on dry skin.
Powder makeup can be a life-saver during humid, warm months because it absorbs excess oil and makes your makeup last longer. However, if your skin is dry, powders can emphasize dryness and contribute to your makeup flaking.
Switch to creamy makeup products that contain high quality plant oils and butters, which will offer a bit of color and will keep your skin moisturized, resulting in a much needed dewy effect. Try RMS Beauty Living Luminizer to add a luminous finish to your skin, Kjaer Weis Cream Blush for a dewy pop of color, and W3LL People Foundation and Concealer.