Winter Skin Rescue
Winter is beautiful! Snowy days spent sipping hot chocolate by the fire, carving the perfect ‘S’ down a powdery slope, the quiet ‘swish swish’ of a long trek on your x-country skis and (insert sound of a needle scratching across a record here) DRY, ITCHY SKIN! Don’t despair! There is still time for you to hydrate and start feeling more comfortable in your skin before spring arrives. First of all, DRINK WATER! Aim to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 150 lbs, then you should aim to drink 75 ounces / day! Buy a water bottle that you LOVE and calculate how many ounces it holds. Then drink water like it’s your job until you meet (or exceed) your daily goal! My favorite water bottle holds 24 ounces, so my goal is to drink an entire bottle on the way to work, an entire bottle (or more!) during my work day, and another bottle on my commute home. I also drink water once I get home, so I more than get my daily requirements. I can always tell when I haven’t been as dilligent about my water intake as I should be – my skin TELLS me I’ve been a
5 Winter Skin Tips:
- Both cold temperatures and bitterly cold winds strip essential moisture from your skin. Avoid taking long, hot showers or soaks in the tub, and apply a moisturizer daily. Look for a moisturizer that contains lactic acid or hyaluronic acid, which will gently exfoliate and hydrate your skin. Try Dermalogica’s Body Hydrating Cream, available at Pro Skin Studio.
- Vermont is dry in the winter, and while wood stoves and other heating systems are necessary, they further reduce the humidity in our environment. Unfortunately the drier the air, the drier your skin will be. Put a pot of water on your wood stove and use a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom to help keep your skin’s barrier hydrated you while you sleep.
- Don’t use soap! Your skin’s pH is slightly acidic, from 4.5 – 6 on the pH scale. As a comparison water is neutral (pH 7), vinegar is acidic (pH 2.5) and most soaps are generally alkaline (pH of ivory soap is 9.5, pH of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap is 8.9). Our skin is covered by a protective barrier called the ‘acid mantle’, and anything that strips that protective barrier (think soaps!) will cause your skin to be itchy, dry and uncomfortable. Look for a pH balanced cleanser, such as Dermalogica’s Conditioning Body Wash.
- Exfoliate! Dry skin will stay dry without light exfoliation. Use an antibacterial mitt, such as the Supracor, to lightly massage and exfoliate your skin in the shower. You can also use a chemical exfoliant, such as Sex-a-peel, before showering to gently remove any dead skin from your body. Your moisturizer will be better able to penetrate and keep you hydrated. Both Supracor and Sex-a-peel are available at Pro Skin Studio.
- Stop using coconut oil thinking that you are hydrating your skin! You are actually dehydrating it further! Our skin needs 3 things to maintain a healthy barrier: fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides. Coconut oil only contains fatty acids, so by using this on your skin you are actually setting yourself up for more dehydration. I’d recommend using coconut oil internally, as it will have a greater positive impact on your skin!