Winter is often a time of reckoning for many women. One morning in February, we look in the mirror and literally wonder aloud, “What happened?”
There are several reasons for this. One reason is literally the light of winter. It is oblique, sharp and high-contrast, while the light of summer is more diffused, sort of like putting gauze over the photographer’s lens. The harsh light of a winter morning exposes every pore to merciless scrutiny.
Another perceptual issue is the fact that most of us are at our palest in winter. The fact of the matter is that many of us are a bit tanner in summer. Exposure to the sun, as well as holiday spray-tans and bronzing products, add golden and warm-brown tones to even the pastiest skin. This effect does distract from purplish-blue undereye shadows, fine surface fissures, reduces sharp contrasts and visually creates a smoother look in terms of perceived pigment distribution.
So, winter is the time to get it right, and lay the foundation for healthier skin as the New Year. The real issue is two-fold. Cold temperatures cause the skin to contract, and cold reduces circulation. This means cell turnover slows, as do other body processes. So, cold weather may slow down lymphatic drainage, making us feel sluggish and look puffy. And, a slowing of the overall system reduces the rate of cell turnover, resulting in more cell debris on the surface of the skin. This can make skin look ashy, pasty, dusty and dull.
The other problem with winter weather, though, is the drop in humidity, this loss of air-humidity means that skin feels dry, too.
Here are a few key moves to keep your winter skin healthier: 1 – Tepid water only. Heat may be appealing when you’re chilled to your core, but hot water contributes to dehydration. A steaming bath may also trigger flushing, including Rosacea symptoms.
2 – Moisturise – especially before you go outdoors. No, moisturiser does not freeze! Dermalogica’s clients across Scandinavia will attest to this. This never happens. So be sure to guard your skin with a shield of hydration. Sounds like a given, but we’ve gotten the feedback that some people actually skip moisturiser when it’s cold outside, fearing that their product will ice up like a skating rink… Not gonna happen!
3 – Cleanse carefully. Your skin continues to produce sebum and waste products, and shed cells, even if you’re not feeling warm and sweaty. So, cleansing is always the first step to optimum skin function. When facing the challenges of winter weather, it is more important than ever to avoid harsh products, especially deodorant bar soaps. These are generally alkaline, and the perfumes are irritating to the skin. Don’t use these on your body, and definitely don’t get them anywhere near your face! Cleanse face and body with a gentle botanicals-based liquid cleanser, pat dry (don’t rub), and apply moituriser from toenails to hairline.