It’s a balmy 8 degrees in Northeast Pennsylvania today and while our cars, sidewalks and psyches are in terrible shape, our skin is what’s really going to pay the price for the frigid, dry weather.
To stay our hydrated and cute selves, I put together this little list of tips and tricks to taking care of our skin during the NEPA winter.
No hot water
Nothing feels better than a shower hot enough to burn off your skin but hot water dries your skin out, stripping it of its necessary oils. Use lukewarm water. I know it sucks but it will save your skin. Then, pat your skin dry. You also can forgo the towel entirely and try this Eastern beauty method of patting the excess water into your skin.
Switch your cleanser
Like your wardrobe, this is the time of year you should switch your cleanser out for something more hydrating. Look for a balm or oil cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup without leaving behind a residue. Many of these are to be applied directly on dry skin, massaged in and wiped off with a damp towel or cloth which lessens the risk of drying out your skin more from rinsing. If you double-cleanse, swap in a cream cleanser for the second cleanse to ensure your skin stays soft and hydrated.
Remember back in July we talked about body exfoliation? While you’re showing significantly less skin than in the summer months, exfoliation is just as important now. You can moisturize all you want but the the moisturizing ingredients are useless if there’s a layer of dead, dry skin on top. Use exfoliating gloves or a mitt (which you can get at any drugstore) or sugar or salt-based body scrubs (without microbeads because they’re super harmful for the environment.) You also can use a body cleanser with alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids.
Rich face moisturizer and body cream
You wouldn’t skip a coat or just throw on a jean jacket in the dead of winter so think the same of your skin. That’s why you want to use a rich moisturizer on your face and a heavy body cream, which protect skin better than light-weight options and are typically packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, oils, ceramides (to protect skin barrier) or anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is a weird hack but look for products in jars. While not the most hygienic, when things are in a jar it means the consistency was too thick to fit through a typical pump-top. This usually means its ultra hydrating.
Don’t be afraid of oil
Oils are not bad for your skin — they’re amazing for it and even more beneficial when the air is frigid. If you’re hesitant, try something like squalene oil, which is naturally found in our bodies and is what makes babies’ skin so soft. As we age, we lose squalene, which is why we need to supplement it to get that soft, smooth, bouncy feeling. Since our bodies recognize this oil, it will drink it right up. Mix it with your moisturizer or slather it on by itself.
Remember hands and lips
Your face and body need extra care during frigid temps but it’s your hands and lips that will feel the brunt of the weather. Keep a rich hand cream and a heavy lip balm on you at all times. Layer the cream over your hands right before you put on gloves to help protect against the cold outside. Look for a potted lip balm (similar to my jar theory) and swipe a layer over your lips before braving the wind. You might feel weird but you’ll feel so much better than if your lips and hands were crusted and busted.
Don’t skip sunscreen
It might sound silly to slather on SPF in the middle of January but the sun is even more dangerous. Snow reflects 80 percent of the sun’s rays and increases the risks of sunburns, sun damage and skin cancer. Apply your SPF 30 (or higher!) sunscreen like it was a sunny day at the beach. Also, it’s a good idea to throw on some sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT