13 Ways to Prepare Your Skin for Fall and Winter
As fall and winter start to approach, it is time to begin thinking about how best to prepare your skin for the chilly onslaught it is about to face. To help you to ensure that your skin really is getting all that it needs as the seasons change, here are 13 steps that you can take to prepare your skin for the cooler months.
In the summer months, the air is naturally more humid, meaning that a lighter lotion is often all that you need to keep your skin hydrated. However, once the air turns cooler and drier, a light lotion is not going to be enough to protect your skin. Instead, switch to a richer and thicker moisturizer, and preferably one that contains some of the following ingredients:
- Shea butter
- Jojoba oil
- Olive oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Almond oil
You might now be wondering:
What are some other beneficial ingredients for my skin?
Your skin desperately needs all of the help that it can get to stay moisturized in the fall and winter months, and the above-mentioned ingredients will help to create a stronger natural protective barrier on the surface of your skin. This then prevents moisture from evaporating, while also keeping any germs and bacteria out.
When applying moisturizer, you will gain far greater benefits by slathering it on to damp, rather than dry, skin.
The reason for this is because moisturizer forms a thin protective film over the surface of your skin, and by applying it when there is already moisture on your skin, this traps the extra moisture in, preventing it from evaporating. While this is a trick that you can be using throughout the year, it is especially important during the winter, as moisture will evaporate from your skin at a much faster rate, drying it out so much more quickly.
Cleansers are essential when it comes to keeping your skin healthy, but many cleansers can severely disrupt your skin’s natural pH balance.
But what exactly does pH mean?
- pH stands for potential hydrogen, and essentially refers to the acid-alkaline balance of something, which, in this case, would be your skin.
- Certain ingredients, such as milk of magnesia, are alkaline substances, while others, such as vinegar, are acidic.
- Combining an alkaline substance with an acidic substance can help them to balance each other out.
When it comes to your skin’s pH level, the ideal number is 5.5. If your skin is too alkaline, this will lead to dryness, whereas if your skin is too acidic, you are likely to experience breakouts and irritations.
So how does your cleanser play into this?
Well, cleansers contain surfactants, and these are what clean your skin. However, the pH level of most cleansers is higher than 5.5, and, over time, this can have quite the impact on your skin. The best way to ensure that your cleanser will work in harmony with your skin rather than disrupt its natural balance is by avoiding the following ingredients:
- Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate: both are popular ingredients in cleansers, but are extremely drying, with a pH level of around 10.
- Triclosan: this is another popular ingredient that was first introduced in 1972, but, again, can cause a number of negative skin reactions.
- AHAs and amino fruit acids: while these are great for exfoliating, they can be extremely acidic, which will weaken your skin’s natural protective barrier over time.
When it comes to skin care, the emphasis is often placed on topical treatments, but it is important to take more of a holistic approach to the subject, meaning that you care for your skin from within, as well as externally. Your skin will need some extra help with hydration during the colder months, making it vital that you are drinking enough water.
But what if you simply don’t feel like sipping on cold water on a chilly day?
Well, you can still increase your water intake by opting for warm, herbal teas instead. Some of the best teas for keeping your skin hydrated include:
- Green tea
- Chamomile tea
- Nettle leaf tea
- Dandelion tea
- Rooibos tea
There is nothing quite as satisfying as a long, hot shower at the end of a cold, winter day, but as great as this may feel, did you know that you are actually drying out your skin by doing this? Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, which would otherwise have kept the skin moisturized and hydrated. While a shorter, lukewarm shower may not feel quite as good, this is essential if you want to keep your skin healthy throughout the colder season.
Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many out there that are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the benefits that they will be bringing to your skin.
Not quite sure how a humidifier can help? Here’s the scoop:
Humidifiers work by adding a continual stream of moisture into the air, which helps to counteract the moisture that is missing during the drier months. If you use artificial indoor heating, then this is another aspect that will contribute to dry air, and, again, a humidifier can help with this.
One of the big advantages to using a humidifier is that you can add essential oils to the water, which then means that it will be emitting a scent as well as moisture. Essential oils in themselves are great for treating different issues, so take some time to explore each of their different benefits.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Lavender oil – this is great for relaxing, making it the perfect one to use at night
- Peppermint oil – the menthol in peppermint oil is effective at stimulating the brain and helping it to focus
- Chamomile oil – this can help to lift your mood and fight depression
- Citronella oil – extremely popular as an insect repellent
- Orange oil – this is another one that can fight depression and lift the mood
While the burning sun during the summer months may be enough to remind you to keep re-applying your sunscreen, you may not feel this same urgency during the cooler seasons. However, the sun’s UV rays are able to penetrate through thick cloud, and even through glass, making them just as damaging in the winter as they are in the summer.
So, what does this mean for your skin?
This means that you need to be using the same amount of SPF throughout the year. However, many sunscreens contain quite a few harsh chemicals, so try to find one that is formulated with natural minerals, botanicals and pure oils, as these will help to nourish your skin while protecting it from the sun.
The makeup that you use has a huge influence over the health of your skin, and while you may be able to get away with using harsher products during the summer, you need to try to opt for milder ones during the winter, as your skin will now be much more susceptible to damage.
Here are a few tips that you need to be aware of:
- Many makeup products contain alcohol, and this can be extremely drying on the skin
- Try to opt for oil-based products, as these will not only give you more of a dewy glow, but will also help to protect your skin from the environment
- Cream-based makeup formulas are always best during the fall and winter, as these tend to contain moisturizing properties
While many people tend to avoid eating too many fats, there is a difference between good fats and bad fats. Good fats are fantastic for the skin, as well as your hair, and can really help to keep you hydrated and protected during the fall and winter.
Wondering which foods contain these healthy fats?
These are some of the best:
- Avocados – these contain monounsaturated fats, which moisturize and hydrate the skin, while the vitamin E in avocados increase your natural collagen production levels
- Olives and olive oil – olives are one of the healthiest fruits around, and olive oil can be used both topically as well as internally for double the benefits
- Sunflower seeds – these are great for treating dry skin and reducing wrinkles, while protecting the skin’s natural protective barrier from free radical damage
- Brazil nuts – eating just two Brazil nuts a day gives you your daily dose of selenium, which supports skin elasticity and protects against sun damage
- Oily fish – from sardines to mackerel to salmon, these contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and speed up skin healing
Does your skin tend to take on a rough and dull appearance during the fall and winter months? If so, this is a sign that you need to increase the frequency at which you exfoliate.
You may be wondering exactly how exfoliation would benefit you. Here’s the deal:
Exfoliation removes all of the dead skin cells that settle on the surface of the skin, contributing to a rough complexion. They also prevent other skin care products from penetrating into your skin’s layers, making the products that you use far less effective than they could be.
There are three main types of exfoliation; mechanical, chemical and enzymatic. All have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it would be worth trying each so that you can find what works best for your own individual skin type.
So how often should you be exfoliating?
In the fall and winter, try to exfoliate two to three times a week, although make sure that you do not over-exfoliate, as this can also lead to a whole host of skin problems.
If you are never quite able to banish dry skin during the cooler seasons, a facial oil may be exactly what you need. These can be used on both dry and oily skin, and work by boosting your skin’s water content and balancing out your natural oil production rate.
So how do you stop your skin from becoming too oily? It’s simple:
To ensure that your skin does not end up too oily, simply mix in a few drops of your facial oil with your moisturizer before applying it to your face and body.
The hands are often the part of the body that suffers the most during the winter, which is why you should be giving them a bit of extra TLC. Gloves are always handy for protecting your hands from the harsh environment around you, and you could even purchase a pair of lightweight cotton gloves to wear in the house at night.
So how does this work?
All you need to do is apply a layer of thick moisturizer, as well as a bit of oil, to your hands, before placing them into the gloves and heading to bed. The next morning, you will notice your hands will feel so much softer and smoother, and this is because the gloves help to trap the moisturizer on your skin, preventing the moisture from evaporating.
The lips are often neglected during the colder months, resulting in chapped lips and dry skin. Just like the rest of the skin on your body, your lips need to be exfoliated, especially during the fall and winter.
Here is what you need:
A sugar scrub is a gentle way to exfoliate the lips, and can be rubbed onto them once a day. A nourishing lip balm is also essential, and can be used twice a day to hydrate and protect the skin on your lips.
Preparing your skin for the colder months can be tricky, and with everybody’s skin being different, you will need to tailor your methods to your own individual skin type. However, by following all of the steps mentioned above, you should have no problems at all with the seasonal transition, and will be able to maintain a healthy complexion throughout the year.