Winter has its delights: snowboarding, skiing, skating and sledding, the purity of snowfall, crystal-clear winter nights.
But winter is tough on skin. Single-digit temps aren’t the only reason: winter weather typically brings low humidity as well, and this combo pulls moisture from our skin, making it parched and vulnerable. Lips and hands which have no natural oil reserves can quickly become chapped and cracked— especially if you lick your lips when they feel dry, since our saliva contains an enzyme called amylase, a solvent.
Karen Alert: some of our favorite winter-weather habits make our seasonally challenged skin even worse, and they all have to do with heat. Like long, hot showers, or soaks in a steamy tub, especially with highly fragranced bath products: high heat and synthetic fragrances make skin unhappy. Indoors, cranking up the thermostat, and outdoors basking in the relaxing blaze of the firepit further deplete crucial moisture reserves. When this happens, even your favorite lambswool sweater suddenly feels like sandpaper!
To keep skin supple in winter weather, we’re all about the Hydrafacial which gently exfoliates dead skin cells, to relieve that dull look that signals sluggish cell turnover. Fact: when you’re blasted with freezing air, your body rushes your blood to vital organs, to keep your heart pumping and other essential functions. Lowered circulation means that your skin gets stuck on pause, so this refreshing facial compensates by loosening and whisking away dry, spent cells. The baby-soft skin that’s revealed is much more receptive to nurturing and essential hydration.
This time of year, we also recommend a deliciously dense moisturizer to cushion skin from the blows of winter weather. Our top picks: Alastin Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer, or try adding SkinBetter Science Hydration Booster Cream to your current moisturizer to protect and fortify skin.
TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS
Winter skin needs serious nurturing, so start by setting healthy boundaries. This means creating a barrier between your skin and the elements. Remember that the skin on your lips is thinner than the skin on your cheeks, nose and forehead, so be sure to keep them coated, year-round and especially when humidity is low. White petroleum jelly is actually fine for this purpose. If you prefer a more earth-friendly lip protector (petroleum jelly is a byproduct of oil drilling), greener swaps include coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter. Love up your lips by avoiding these popular, tingly, and actually damaging ingredients in lip balms: menthol, peppermint, cinnamon, citrus, camphor, eucalyptus, and synthetic fragrances. These are irritants. If you want fuller, plumper, yummier lips (and who doesn’t?), schedule a consultation with our team for a professional lip-plumping procedure with Juvederm and Restylane.
A word about our hands. These show age and damage so quickly, because the skin is so thin (skin on the back of your hands is the same thickness as the delicate skin around your eyes – about 0.05mm, the thinnest on the body!), and because our hands are exposed to the elements year-rounds. Do treat yourself to a pair of protective gloves for outdoors, and remember that glamourous people of generations past wore thin kidskin driving gloves year-round to prevent sun-damage. And this about moisturizing gloves. Cotton gloves worn with overnight moisturizer should be tossed after one use! Don’t re-use, because that rancid oil is obviously bad news for your skin. Switch to disposable nitrile gloves, not latex, since latex can kick up allergic reactions.
Sunbeams in wintertime seems like such a treat, and we’re all for enjoying yourself in the glorious outdoors year-round. Just remember that your skin needs sun protection literally every day it’s not raining, with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF15, even on the iciest days. Note that the reflection of the sunlight off snow magnifies the intensity of UV many times over, so remember your eye protection AND your sunblock when venturing out.
Melanin-blessed? Lucky you, POC, and please remember that your gloriously rich pigment only goes so far in protecting skin from UV damage. Do your epidermis a favor and provide protection from those killer rays with sunblock and a broad-brimmed hat when you’re out and about.
SPRING FEVER, ANYONE?
After the excitement of the holidays and Valentine’s Day have ebbed, you may start looking ahead to spring and summer. Game on: midwinter is the perfect time to get ready to show some skin and celebrate the vernal equinox like the pagan you are.
Keep in mind that all ablative treatments – ablative means “wounding”, ouch, sorry to get technical, but this refers to any medspa aesthetic treatment that pierces the skin—make your skin more sensitive. And exposing that freshly-polished skin to frigid temps and parchingly low humidity means potential irritation.
Whether you choose micro-needling, chemical peel, laser treatments or other services, Velez by Vesna Hydration Masks are crucial to protecting skin right after treatment. Twenty to 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) under this single-use, self-adhering mask cools the minimal redness and swelling you may experience immediately after your appointment, supports quick recovery, and delivers healing nourishment to skin cells at their most vulnerable. It’s even great for chilling out puffiness and irritation in response to allergies.
Enjoy the pristine beauty of winter—sip a mug of hot chocolate, throw an extra log on the fire, an extra quilt on the bed. And while you’re dreaming of summer beaches, treat your skin with lots of kindness so you’re ready for the big reveal as days grow longer and warmer!