As the seasons change, so do our skin’s needs. Here’s how to calm irritated skin and keep dryness at bay during the upcoming winter months.
Quick Science Lesson
There are two ways in which the skin maintains its ideal condition: through attracting water, hydration, and locking in moisture, moisturization.
You might have heard the phrase “transepidermal water loss” or “TEWL.” This just means that water diffuses and evaporates out of skin cells, which we don’t want. To prevent skin dehydration, your skin will release sebum at the surface to create a waterproof layer. Sometimes when the skin barrier is struggling to stay in balance with environmental changes or even a new skincare routine, dry/tight skin can be an unfortunate outcome.
With that said, here’s how to nudge your skin back into balance and help offset some of that dry discomfort.
Step 1: Give Your Skin a Break
Less is more when your skin is looking and feeling in need of repair. Hit pause or slow down on potentially irritating actives in your skincare routine. This includes BHAs, most AHAs, retinols, etc. We say most because although lactic acid is an AHA and therefore a chemical exfoliant, lactic acid is a water-loving molecule that helps draw hydration to the skin. In any case, always do a patch test when trying out actives like AHAs. Get back to the basics and then slowly introduce your skincare actives one at a time once your skin has found its happy place again.
Step 2: Layer and Lock In Moisture
The first step to layering correctly is using a hydrating serum or essence. Remember, we want to give our skin the hydration it needs and then lock it in so it can’t leave. Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate, panthenol (Vitamin B5), sodium PCA, urea, and aloe. The second step is finding a good moisturizer to seal the deal. Look for ingredients like petroleum, ceramides, squalane, and other moisturizing oils. If you’re prone to having oily skin, search for a moisturizer that’s non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t block your pores). These formulations tend to ditch the heavy oils and butters but still get the job done.
Step 3: Don’t Over-Cleanse Your Skin
Over-cleansing will put you right back where you started. Opt into using a hydrating cleanser, especially if you’re prone to having dry skin naturally.
Step 4: Don’t Neglect Your SPF
It’s easy to forget about SPF in the fall/winter months, but even on those cold and cloudy days, there’s UVA. Use this time to continue practicing a good SPF routine.
Step 5: Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Us humans are made up of mostly water. While hydrating within won’t solve all your dry skin problems, it’s always a good thing to do. Let this be your sign to drink some water (yes, right now).