Steamy cups of cocoa, rosy cheeks, sledding, and skiing. These are some of our favorite winter things. But inflamed, red, dry, and flaky skin is one thing we can definitely live without. Winter brings a whole new set of challenges for sensitive skin but a few simple changes to your diet, lifestyle and skincare routine will keep your skin healthy, hydrated and glowing till spring.
1. Moisturize Often and Choose Skin Barrier Supporting Ingredients.
The drop-in temperature, reduction in humidity, cold winds and dry heat mean dull, dehydrated, flaking skin. The solution is to keep moisture locked in the skin by reinforcing the protective skin barrier. Skin-identical ingredients mimic that naturally occurring components of the skin barrier and replenish and strengthen it with a boost of extra hydration. Don't forget to moisturize several times a day with a facial mist and follow with an oil serum or cream. Our best selling HARMONY Omega 3|6 Recovery Serum contains several types of skin-identical ingredients such as essential fatty acids (EFA)’s, organic Shiso oil, Watermelon oil, Ceramide 3and Pomegrante Sterols to restore the skin barrier keeping moisture in, soothing skin and reducing redness and flaking.
2. Address Summer Induced UV Damage
No matter how diligent one is in protecting skin from the sun it is nearly impossible to end summer without experiencing an increase in freckles, brown spots, sunburn or some other form of UV damage. With less time spent in the sun, fall and winter are the perfect time to even out skin tone and minimize pigmentation spots with a brightening serum and gentle exfoliation. Ingredients to look for are lactic acid, licorice, niacinamide, and Vitamin C. Avoid high percentages of AHA’s (glycolic acid, fruit acids etc.) and physical exfoliants like seeds, shells, spices or baking soda as these are too aggressive for sensitive skin. Since UV damage is present down into the lower layers of the skin a series of IPL photo facials can be your best bet if you wish to permanently remove UV damage. The added benefit of IPL is that it boosts collagen and elastin production as well. Remember to still apply sunscreen every day in the winter months. Days are shorter and UV rays are not as powerful but UV damage is still possible especially when the sun’s rays are reflected on snow.
3. Exfoliate With Care
Winter skin can be flaky and dull but exfoliate with care. Over exfoliation or exfoliating with aggressive exfoliates can weaken or remove the protective skin barrier leading to extra dry, red, irritated skin. Your skin also needs time between exfoliations to stabilize and replenish its barrier. Give your skin a break from harsher treatments, such as peels and microdermabrasion. Avoid using facial scrubs (physical/mechanical exfoliators). These products contain small particles like seeds, spices, ground shells, or ground grains. They can inflict micro tears and severely irritate sensitive skin. An extra soft skin brush applied with very light pressure or an exfoliate containing lactic acid are most appropriate for sensitive skin. Lactic acid has been shown to increase skin hydration and ceramide production, making it especially beneficial for sensitive skin.
4. Eat Hydrating and Skin Supporting Foods
Eating high water content foods can help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, oranges, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and coconut water all have high water content and are full of skin-supporting vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Omega 3|6 fatty acids play a crucial role in optimum skin functioning and appearance. They increase and maintain skin hydration by helping to prevent water loss on the skin surface. They support the production of collagen, increasing skin strength, elasticity, and firmness. They also reduce the redness, itching, and dryness associated with sensitive skin. Our bodies do not produce Omega 3|6 fatty acids so they must be obtained through diet, supplements or topical application. Salmon, sardines, flax, chia, evening primrose, perilla and watermelon seeds or oils are all good sources of Omega 3|6 fatty acids.
5. Pamper Dry Hands and Feet with Spa Gloves
The skin on your hands and tops of feet are thinner than other parts of your body and have fewer oil glands. Both are more prone to dryness, dehydration, fine lines and irritation especially in winter. At night pamper your hands and feet by applying a generous amount of a rich moisturizer or body serum, then slip on a pair of cotton spa gloves and cotton socks. The gloves and socks help the body serum absorb and stay on the skin. Our HARMONY Omega 3|6 Recovery Serum Body Serums are a favorite of dermatologist and beauty editors alike for the soothing, protective and super hydrating qualities of ingredients like organic Argan Oil, Tamanu Oil, Ceramide 3 and Pomegranate Sterols.
6. Avoid Hot Showers and Baths
Hot showers and baths can dry out your skin, weaken or remove the barrier function and over stimulate your skin leading to redness and inflammation. Use lukewarm water when washing your face, showering or bathing. Take short showers once or twice a day. If bathing, add milk, colloidal oatmeal, or Dead Sea salt to soothe and hydrate skin. After showering or bathing apply a rich moisturizer, skin oil or balm to damp skin to lock in moisture.
7. Use a Humidifier
Use a humidifier in your bedroom and office. Heating systems, including space heaters and fires, pump hot, dry air into our homes and offices. Humidifiers add needed moisture into the air, which helps prevent dry, dehydrated and flaky skin.
8. Manage Stress
And as the days grow darker and shorter beat the winter blues by engaging in activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and exercises that increase circulation, boost endorphins, minimize stress, and increase well-being. Stress and depression can trigger physiological reactions in the body that make skin more reactive. Acne, psoriasis, eczema, hives, dryness, wound healing, and the integrity of the skin barrier can all be aggravated and increased by stress and depression.