Ask the Expert: Top Tips for Taking Care of Winter Skin from Holistic Aesthetician
Despite the magic of winter and its beautiful snow-covered landscapes, cold winter months can wreak havoc on our skin. As the air indoors, whether it’s our home or office space, gets hot and dry, and the temperatures hit their lowest lows outdoors, dehydration and redness become no strangers to our skin. Even though you may have a well-established skincare routine, extreme changes in temperature call for other measures that go far beyond the jars and tubes on your vanity. So, you may ask, how do you combat winter skin?
We spoke with holistic aesthetician and natural beauty expert (and author of popular Instagram blogs @nastasia.natura and @natura.pro.skin) Anastasia Vashchuk to answer the most popular questions about taking care of skin even in the most brutal weather for hydrated, healthy-looking and radiant complexion.
- Rethink the Way You Shower: There's a popular advice not to take hot showers when the temperatures outside are plunging, but there's little explanation as to why. The issue with hot showers is that they literally "wash off" the hydrolipid layer (our invisible shield) that protects our skin. Add the impact of using the towel and drying of the skin to that, and you get dehydrated skin and dryness. The best solution would be to take a warm shower, without going overboard on the temperature. Avoid hot showers and harsh soaps - they will dry your skin out. After shower, gently pat your skin with a soft towel. While you’re in the shower, opt in for gentle exfoliators with oat or rice flour. Some of salt or sugar-based scrubs may be too harsh for sensitive skin, making it more prone to damage. A good alternative to physical exfoliation may be a shower gel with added fruit acids.
- Be Smart About Your Moisturizer: Cold months mean changing temperatures, which means our skin and capillaries get stressed. While leaving for warmer places in winter may not be a bad idea, it won’t solve the problem. The solution is to learn how to choose a moisturizer wisely. Where to start? Read the label! Those with dry skin should reach for serums containing squalane, lactic acid and ceramides as part of their nighttime routine. These ingredients will work in tandem with our skin as our skin contains them already, strengthening our skin barrier and protecting it in cold, winter months. For added benefits, always look for prebiotics and ferment lysates as they are helpful in protecting and repairing the skin's microbiome. Reach for serums with vitamins C and PP (niacinamide) and look for ceramides in face masks. Consider MLE (multi-lamellar emulsion) creams. They have a similar structure to the upper layers of skin that maximize the cream's effectiveness and promotes hydration balance in the skin. Skin types aside, it's always a good idea to use skincare products with hyaluronic acid, that pulls and bonds water molecules together, locking in moisture. See if your cream or serum contains water and oil-soluble vitamins A, D, E, B1, B6, B3, ascorbic acid, collagen, ceramides and peptides, and macro- and micronutrients - Zinc, Selenium or Magnesium.
- Lips and Hands Need Protection, Too: While taking care of face skin is important, it's equally as important to protect our hands as they are often exposed to the elements. Apply a rich hand cream or cold cream 40 minutes before going outside. A very basic but important rule - always wear gloves or mittens and a hat for added protection from the elements. Lips also require some TLC, so my recommendation is to choose thick balms rich in avocado or cocoa butters for extra hydration.