Yes, great winter skin begins with great post-summer prep! You can achieve a year round, balanced look and feel to your skin with my, “DO THIS!” “NOT THIS!”
Program for Dry Winter Skin:
Think of this prep as something you would read about in Martha Stewart magazine. MARTHA preps her shrubs and flower beds for a long winter by cutting them back, feeding them and wrapping them. Similarly, you need to prep your skin for a long winter. The summer is the time of the year when our skin is exposed to the most abuses: sweat, grime, heat, crowds, sun damage, wind burn, chlorine, gloppy sun lotions, late nights, longer days, and a lot more partying! Most women get lax about skin care in the summer. But at the end of the warm weather season, the prep must begin! I call it the CEMS approach.
CEMS: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturize, Sunscreen
You can use a stronger cleanser during this period. Time for fall cleaning!
Summer elements cause the top layer of your skin to dry out, similar to the trauma of winter elements. Exfoliate (remove your dead cells) more rigorously, as it will lead to more radiant skin. This is an excellent time of the year to do this. All the topical creams and lotions in the world will not permeate or be effective if you don’t exfoliate first. It would be like slathering lotion on a face covered in plastic wrap. Exfoliate with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Buy these over the counter, or luxuriate in a para-medical facial in a doctor’s office for a higher percentage of glycolic peel. This will kick-start your program.
There are many different skin types, each requires a different type of moisturizer. Lotions, creams and oils should be specific to your skin type so that one cure does not become the culprit for another problem. BEWARE oily skin types!
I cannot impress upon you enough the importance of sunscreen. Aside from the health risks associated with sun exposure, the sun is a major cause of cell damage. It causes premature aging, hyperpigmentation (sun spots) and dry itchy skin. Sunscreen should be applied everyday, even on a cloudy winter day.
Causes of Dry Winter Skin: Internal & External
Internal Causation: Your skin ages chronologically, the result of a decrease in hormones that rob your skin of natural moisture. Fluctuation in your hormone levels is another contributor, depending on where you are in your estrogen journal (pre or post menopausal). Either way, it’s depleting.
External Causation: Dry air, caused by a decrease in humidity during the winter,dessicates (dries ) skin. Wind is another culprit. And then there is indoor arid heat. Indoor heating systems are not necessarily humidified. This can also contribute to stripping moisture from the outer layer of your skin.
Areas of Extreme Exposure: Face, Hands & Hair
- Follow the CEMS program
- Cleanse and care for your skin twice per day
- Morning: Cleanse, Sunscreen, Moisturize (in that order) OR use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it.
- Sunscreen should be “broad-spectrum” to cover both UVA and UVB rays with SPF 15>
- Evening: Cleanse, Apply Retinol 3 nights at least
- Exfoliate once per week instead of twice (see above)
- Vitamin C serum (helps to hold water in and builds collagen)
- Get facials once per month if possible: Moisturizing Facial, CollagenFacial or Hydrafacial, my personal all-in-one favorite!
- Change your pillow case at least 3X/week, an idiosyncrasy of mine. Think about it, your hair (exposed to the elements) and face are laying on it for 6-8 hours. It should be clean and fresh!
- For a less expensive approach to moisturizing, simple sesame oil is the Ayurvedic moisturizer of choice (antiviral, anti-fugal and anti-inflammatory). You can also use coconut or apricot oils.
- Stay hydrated with warm liquids (green tea optimum)
- Stock up on hydrophilic (water containing) carbohydrates: lettuce, carrot, cucumber, fennel, and asparagus.
- Exercise to stimulate circulation and increase cell nourishment.
- Neglect your face in the winter
- Rub, scrub and irritate
- Go without sunscreen
- Consume excess caffeine or alcohol
- Skimp on sleep
- Stress out
- Take long hot showers
- Avoid addressing seasonal plan
- Apply a great eye cream morning and night. Apply gently to lid and undereye in circular motion. Apply a lighter one for day and a heavier one for night.
- Sunscreen here too!
- Sunglasses with UVA protection!
- Rub your eyelids because they are dry
- Go without protective sunglasses
- Go without sunscreen
- Expose your eyes to wind without protection
- Avoid chapped lips! If needed, exfoliate …then:
- Beeswax treatment is the RX of choice. It seals and protects to prevent unsightly and uncomfortable cracking
- Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
- Moisturizing lipstick with sunscreen. I learned my lesson the hard way in Los Cabos when I had swollen lips for a week! Not all lipsticks have sunscreen!
- Go without sunscreen
- Go without lip protection (especially when skiing or in the Caribbean)
- Keep nails manicured
- Use a cuticle oil regularly to prevent painful cracking
- Wear gloves regularly
- Keep hand moisturizer in car, office, at bedside and on end-table while watching TV at night, my favorite time to moisturize everywhere!
- Petroleum based sealants, like Vaseline
- Oils that permeate, especially SESAME OIL
- Ultra-nourishing Shea Butter
- Wear rubber gloves to protect from harsh disinfectants
- Don’t forget sunscreen on hands. It’s IMPORTANT to protect them from the winter sun
- Apply several times throughout the day as hands are washed so frequently
- Go without gloves
- Go without sunscreen
- Forget to moisturize
- Handle detergents without gloves
Have you noticed a change in the consistency of your hair too? Again, this may be due to a fluctuation in hormone levels. But the seasonal culprit, winter, can rob your hair of moisture. This has to do with the science of cellular breakdown under stress.
- Splurge on quality shampoo for your hair type. I do this all year, preferring Bumble and Bumble sulfate free products.
- Decrease frequency of shampooing. It’s very drying.
- Definitely use a quality conditioner
- Wear a hat to protect from blustery wind blowing
- Dry your hair thoroughly before facing the cold
- Hot oil treatment once per week
- Use oil products like Moroccan Oil, a personal favorite (The secondary gain is softer hands from rubbing it through your hair!)
- Consult with your stylist. There are a plethora of therapeutic products out there.
- Use sunscreen products for your hair too!
- Use chlorine protection shampoo for your winter vacations
- Pump up your nutrition with water packed carbohydrates and protein
- Don’t use cheap shampoo and conditioner
- Limit fancy air styles that require pulling, tugging or tight rubber bands
- Limit hot ironing (if necessary, be sure to put a protective coat on first)
- Limit indoor swimming without a cap. Chlorine L
- Sunscreen exposed parts
- Take warm, not hot, and shorter than usual showers
- Cleanse with milky moisturizing products
- Moisturize while skin is damp with a good quality oil or lotion
- Use your hands or soft cloth
- Exfoliate regularly
- No long hot showers, they dry the natural oils from your body
- No abrasive soaps
- Avoid any product that contains alcohol
- Excess ingestion of dehydrators such as alcohol and coffee
I recently polled my local mani-pedi place. It seems that the frequency of pedicures ranges from every two weeks to three times a year, with some only pedi(ing) in summer. A good pedicure every 3-4 weeks is the ultimate treat and optimum foot care. You deserve it! Just think of all the work your feet do for you each day! At $25 a pop in most salons, it’s affordable, therapeutic (foot and leg massage) and hygienic.
- Treat your dry heels with a foot file before you shower
- Exfoliate with alpha hydroxy products
- Wear socks
- Neglect your feet
- Wear uncomfortable shoes that cause pressure and callous
- Skip pedicures!
~ Stay Healthy! Live Longer! Look Younger! ~