What's the deal with dry skin in the winter? It seems the colder the weather gets, the drier and more itchy your skin gets. It's true! The lack of moisture in the air when it's cold, as well as the dry heat pumped out by your furnace, really prevent your skin from getting the hydration that it needs. No matter how much water you drink, your skin will still be tight and dry unless you are taking the proper steps to take care of it.
First of all, we need to differentiate between dry and dehydrated skin. Dry skin (lacking oil), is a skin type. A skin type means the skin you are born with. You can not change your skin type, but you can treat it. Dehydration, or lack of water, is a skin condition. Skin conditions are able to be corrected with proper and consistent care.
When you are lacking oil, or have a true dry skin type. It is important that you keep your oils balanced in your skin at all times. You can acheive this in part, by using a serum to fill up the bottom layers of your epidermis, and locking it in with a nourishing face oil. Some base oils you should look for are neem, avocado or argan. They are all very nourishing, providing you with the Omega fatty acids your skin requires.
Dehydrated skin, being a condition, can be corrected with consistent care and attention. Firstly of course, drinking lots of water is a great start. You also want to make sure you are using a hydrating serum to treat your skin from the deepest layers, outward. A great ingredient that you want to look for when treating a dehydrated condition is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is an acid found in the skin that holds onto water. Each molecule, in fact, holds 1000 times it's weight in water. Humectants are ingredients that attract and hold water in the skin, preventing TEWL (Transepidermal waterloss), or loss of water through the skin. In conventional skin care, many of the man made humectants are additives that are harmful to your health, so be careful and make an educated purchase. In natural skin care, they use succulent plants such as stone crop. Succulents, of course hold water incredibly well and with organic skin care, what the plant does in it's regular day job, it does in the skin as well.
Unfortunately for most people in the winter time, the issue may not be the fact that they are not moisturizing enough. It could very well be, that they are not exfoliating enough.
In the winter time, because your skin is so dehydrated, you have an abundance of dead skin cells on the top layers of the epidermis. Sometimes these dead skin cells build up so fast, that they get stuck and need a little help to be removed. In a normal skin, the dead cells will often slough off on their own and only require minimal exfoliation. In the winter however, since your skin lacks more moisture, it often needs more exfoliation to prevent the dead cells from building up and blocking the efficacy of your subsequent products. Once you have gotten those dead layers of skin off, your serums and moisturizers are better able to penetrate to the proper depth and allows them to do their job more effectively.
Winter is a fantastic time to get skin resurfacing, or deep exfoliation treatments. In the colder months, the sun isn't as strong, so there is less worry about sun sensitivity after a peel. Some great resurfacing options are Chemical Peels using enzymes or AHA/BHAs such as glycolic or fruit acids. Another very effective means of skin resurfacing is Microdermabrasion. Both methods will remove the surface dead layers of skin, promote cell renewal and deep product penetration for increased hydration and an overall more even and smoother complexion.
Adding a masque to your skin care routine in the winter will be helpful as well in alleviating the itchy, dry feeling in the skin. Masques have the most potent ingredients of any product in a skin care line, so it acts as a rescue remedy for the skin, almost like a drink of water. Although masquing is important year round to keep your skin healthy, it is extra important to do this step in the colder months, to make sure your skin stays balanced and hydrated.
In-Spa facial treatments are always a great way to bump up the hydration in your skin. Your Skin Therapist can do a professional level exfoliant and multiple masques in one treatment, as well as provide you with home care recommendations to help you find a more balanced skin.
Don't forget your body!! All of these tips can be applied to the body as well. Choosing to do a body scrub or wrap in-spa can be a great way to revive the skin. Getting a fantastic scrub to do in the shower or keeping it by the sink for after dish washing will make it a lot more convenient to use at home. Make sure to follow with a nice heavy moisturizer, such as something with a Shea butter base.
It is always best to consult with your Skin Therapist on which treatment and homecare options are best for your specific skin's needs.