Updated: Jan 16
Prioritizing self-care in winter is not just for stress management, relaxation, and promoting healthy routines. (Actually,... yes, prioritizing self-care is about all of those things and more!)
The needs of our skin skin changes seasonally and should make us increase our observation of our skin along with re-evaluating our daily beauty rituals. Many of us continue to use the same cleansers, exfoliators, toners and moisturizers all year round, however, in winter our skin may require some adjustments.
Typically, in winter we experience exposure to harsh cold temperatures, extreme biting wind, warm/dry inside heat, lower levels of light, less fresh fruit & vegetables, diets heavier in carb-rich comfort foods, less time spent outside, and less exercise. Any of these factors by themselves, may affect the needs of your skin, however compounded together, results in noticeable need requirements. By understanding how winter affects our skin, we can observe and counteract the negative symptoms, while choosing appropriate ingredients, products and rituals to nourish and protect our face, body & hair. Nothing feels better, while in the depths of winter's throes, to have hydrated, moisturized and nourished skin.
How do we react to the elements of winter?
Our bodies are amazing , complex, integrated vessels that strive to keep equilibrium of all body functions, including such things as blood sugar levels, body temperature and concentration of blood. Each of these activities have built-in protections to counter changes to the balance it seeks. Take a change in body temperature, for example. If your body temperature becomes too warm, your body will automatically start to release water (sweat), through your sweat glands to start cooling the body. Alternately, if the body temperature starts cooling, then the bodies automatic micro-response may be 'goose bumps'; the rising of our hair follicles to increase and retain body warmth, or shivering; automatic movement to create body warmth.
Although our bodies and skin strive to maintain balance, during the winter months our skin is severely tested. Exposure to lengthy, low temperatures and harsh winds, wick moisture from skin. Resulting in skin on face and hands to become irritated, dry, chapped and even cracked. Cold, also reduces the effectiveness of the protective, moisturizing barrier found on the epidermis. This top layer of skin will require some external assistance from nourishing, moisturizing and occlusive barrier beauty products to ensure that moisture from the skin (trans-epidermal water loss) is prevented, thus reducing further dryness. Such barrier beauty products include lip balms to seal in moisture in lips; thicker, more occlusive hand creams that stay on hands longer to lengthen protection against the elements; thicker & richer creams, balms and body butters to provide the extra nutrients, moisture and protective barrier.
As we spend more time inside during the winter months, our skin is subjected to central heating. These warm house heating practices are essential to survive the cold, however, they reduce the humidity in the air, that is vitally important for skin to retain its moisture and hydration. The lack of humidity results in further dryness of skin and hair. The dry, indoor heating may contribute equally to skin dryness as the cold harsh winter elements. But now that we understand how these elements affect our skin, let's at some tips/ ingredients/ products that will help restore balance to skin, body & hair and ensure that they remain nourished, hydrated, protected and radiant!
Six (6) Essential Self-Care for Beautiful Winter Skin
1. Adjust Temperature of Water
Although many of us enjoy the warmth that warm water and warm showers provide, especially when the temperature outside is colder, I would ask you to consider the following: Hot water is known to cause the following skin reactions - Irritation and itching, drying out and disrupting the outer most layer of skin (creating dry skin skin and preventing cells from locking in moisture) , and can aggravate and worsen skin dryness conditions, such as eczema. While cold water washing and bathing totes benefits of :
calming itchy skin
doesn't dry out the natural sebum layer (sebum is the natural oil produced in your skin cells to keep skin moisturized)
anti-aging - tightens pores on skin and closes & strengthens hair cuticles
Cold water showers are reported to be rejuvenating and repairing to your over health and wellness (make sure to read to the bottom of the post for the bonus information on the practice of hydrotherapy or Ishnaan), however many of us need a bit more warmth. So adjust your water temperature to luke-warm for washing, to ensure that your skin is not over dried during the winter months. Also, alternating between luke-warm and cold water, (particularly cold water at the beginning and end of your shower) can provide the best possible solution for a comfortable warmth of your shower and the non-drying/ non-irritating skin benefits.
2. Gentle Cleansing
You will never hear me advise that anyone should ever use harsh, stripping cleansers, exfoliants, or toners, however the winter elements require even more gentle administration, to ensure that the nourishment, hydration and moisture in your skin is protected more than any other season. I am a huge fan of Oil Cleansing for its gentle but effective cleansing for all skin types ( click here to read more on the benefits of Oil Cleansing). Toners and facial mists are seemingly very misunderstood in the importance they play in skincare. However, every toner and facial mist is not created equally, so pay close attention to the ingredients and choose a toner/ facial mist that doesn't contain any alcohol, which accelerates the drying of skin. (Click here for more information on the benefits of Toners/Facial Mists). And exfoliation plays a very important role in how our skin looks and performs, but it's equally important to ensure that you have your exfoliation balanced with your skin's requirements of the season, to ensure that your skin is optimally healthy and radiant. (Click here for more information on types of Exfoliation and products). Gentle cleansing isn't just about looking at your face, but take a good look at your hand cleaners (more information here) and your body cleaners (more information here on body wash vs. soap).
3. Extra Nourishing & Hydrating
Our skin requires a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, lipids, elastin, collagen, keratin, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and proteins ( just to name a few). This is no easy feat to ensure that our skin optimally has what it needs to be healthy and radiant. But throw in the cold winter season and our skin may be requiring extra help ensuring that it can stay healthy. Prioritizing self-care in winter months, is vital to ensuring that our skin remains at its best. Utilizing extra nourishing and hydrating exceptional products can help counter the damage of the season. Products such as serums, facial masks, and hair conditioning treatments can provide vital nutrients required by your skin and hair. (Click here for more information on Facial Serums.) Choosing natural products with an abundance of botanicals is a great way to start. Natural botanicals contains an abundance of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and general 'goodness' that our skin is needing to perform at it's optimal and be healthy and radiant.
4. External Barrier Protection Required
Barrier Protection is key to ensuring optimal skin & hair health during the winter cold season. External barrier protection can be obtained through exceptional beauty products that ensure skin remains occlusive and protected. An occlusive ingredient provides a protective seal over the surface of the skin to prevent loss of hydration into the environment, and here are a few occlusive natural ingredients (this is not an exhaustive list): lanolin, beeswax, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and argan oil. Choosing thicker, richer formulations can be particularly repairing and rejuvenating to skin, don't forget to reapply after each washing. Also, including a bed time ritual of ensuring you have applied barrier protection to your skin (face & body), allows your sleep time to become skin healing time! Check out here for more information on barrier protection for face and body .
5. Protect Those Lips
Did you know these two facts about the skin on lips?
1. Skin on lips is different than the rest of your body because lip skin is thinner and more delicate - skin on your face can be up to 16 layers while skin on lips is only 3 to 5 layers.
2. Your lips don't sweat - skin on lips doesn't contain any sweat glands. Sweat glands are responsible for keeping skin hydrating. This makes your lips more vulnerable to external elements like wind, sun, cold and causes lips to become dry.
Lip Balms are essential for ensuring that lips stay hydrated and protected during the cold winter season. (Click here to check out our Night Nourishing Lip Mask and Lip Balms)
6. Feet, Too!
You might think that since your feet are covered during the winter months that the skin on your feet should be healthy and protected. A combination of chilly weather one minute and central heating the next can really dry out your feet, making those calluses and hard skin even more dehydrated. Starting a nightly foot care ritual can keep dry skin at bay or repair those dry cracked heals, that can be painful to walk on. Soaking your feet before bed to soften any calluses and using a good sugar/salt scrub (find some great one's here) to remove as much of the dry, dead skin as possible, will go far to allowing lotion/ cream to penetrate the thick skin on your feet. Our White Peppermint Patty Lotion or Body Butter Cream are perfect for cold winter evenings, as they provide moisture and support your skin’s hydration throughout the night. Just massage it into your feet, then put on some cotton bed socks, not only to stop your feet getting cold but to also help the moisture penetrate deeper into your feet. You'll wake each morning with smooth feet, ready to face the day.
Bonus: Called Ishnaan. A hydrotherapy, this is a ritual inside the practice of Kundalini Yoga, practiced and taught by Vannette Keast, a Medical Intuitive & Empathic Healer of Vannette Keast Health Consulting Ltd. "It is believed that the water is a fatherly shield, paanee pita, and that anybody who can produce this shield that conquers the coldness of the water can conquer death. That's what hydrotherapy is based on." Vannette continues, "As for skin, it is based on lymphatic stimulation and purging, to clear stagnation and impurities, while increasing regeneration and rejuvenation. Considered anti-aging." For more information on the practice of Ishnaan and it's benefits to skin and overall health and wellness, please contact Vannette at vannette.ca
Your skin can be protected and look radiant no matter the season. It just might take a bit of extra observation and some adjustments to your skincare ritual products. Prioritizing self-care is essential to beautiful, radiant looking skin,... and when you look good, you feel good too! Celebrating the UNIQUE BEAUTY of YOU!