Winter is almost upon us in Candada. And many regions experience dry, harsh winters where there is dry air, cold winds, and households where the heat is on for several long months. All of this combines together to create a less than ideal environment for our hair and skin. We tend to focus a lot more easily on our hair by using items like shampoo and conditioner for dry hair, hair masks, or the ever popular moroccan oil. But what about our skin?
Our skin is the body's largest living organ. Yup, living. It breathes, and it ingests (meaning it takes in what we put on it). We need to drink water and feed our skin, and other organs, healthy. We work hard at keeping track of what we eat and drink, but do we do the same for what we put on our skin?
Here's the thing. A lot of products on the market have a main first ingredient. Mineral Oil. Mineral Oil is a petrolatum bi-product, and as such it has a large molecular structure. Those are some big words! But the reason I am bringing this up, is that the pores on our skin are small – much smaller than the size of the molecules in Mineral Oils. To give our skin the best of what it needs (moisture, nutrients, etc) we should make sure that what goes onto it, is actually going to get into it. If you have a product that is, let's say a face cream that has vitamin E, C, D, and many more great ingredients in it BUT has mineral oil… Well, those great ingredients aren't going to be able to get into the pores and give all they have to the skin when the mineral oil is just sitting on the top surface. Sure, it makes us feel like our skin is nice and soft. But in reality, it's just sitting on the top surface of our skin cells. A product that has oils or emollients in it that are able to get into the skin would be able to send the moisture (and all of those great ingredients) straight into all of the deeper layers of skin. Which is better? What are some alternatives to mineral oil? Look for products that contain oils such as jojoba, almond, grapeseed, olive, sunflower, or coconut. These oils are all bodily compatible, and will absorb fully into the skin – giving it the moisture it needs.
The dryness of winter is terrible and unforgiving to skin. We see a lot of skin conditions flare up because of the loss of moisture, eczema being a very common one. Well, to combat dryness in either situation we need moisture. Lots of moisture. And equally important, we also need open pores. When our pores are open, the creams and lotions and salves go deeper into the skin where it can store moisture longer, as well as where the cells of our skin are growing and multiplying. Healthy skin starts with healthy cells, so it is important that the deeper layers where growth happens are getting those nutrients also.
What are the basics of a good skin care regimen? That's easy, all it takes are three simple steps: Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize. Cleanse twice daily with a cleanser for your skin type. If you have oily skin, use a gel cleanser. If you find that the winter air is making the gel cleanser too drying for your skin, switch it up to a cream cleanser for your evening cleansing routine. Dry and normal skin types can use a cream cleanser during winter. After you have washed with your cleanser in warm water, pat your face dry and follow up with your toner. Toner is for dry and normal skin types, while astringent is for more oily skin (it's more drying). You can get spray toners, or you can apply this onto a cotton swab and swipe over your face evenly. The role of the toner helps to close your pores back up, helps to keep dirt and debris out, preps the skin for moisturizer, and helps to avoid a whole ton of moisturizer to get into the pores and cause blackheads later on. Final step, moisturizer. Oily gals and guys, you need lotion. If you want more moisture, go for a cream at night or try using coconut oil. Normal and dry ladies and gents, you are needing a cream. The heavy stuff is what is going to deliver that extra moisture where it is needed. But what if you're combination skin? Well, you can use the oily skin treatments where your T zone is (across the brow line, and down the nose) and the dry/normal on the rest of your facial areas.
For those of you who do not have eczema, here are some tips to get your skin winter ready and keep it that way! If you are looking for tips on skin care for eczema during winter, click here: http://central-alberta.momstown.ca/parenting-baby-toddlers-preschooler-family-life/eczema-care-winter
Well, I hope this has given you some useful tips to try for the coming cold months. Here's to a season of wonderful and healthy, glowing skin… Despite the chill.