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how to protect your skin from harsh winter weather

February 11, 2010

leesh inspired me to write this post as she is calling for help with her skin and these harsh, cold days.  i love skin products – although i may neglect my own skin care, i am passionate about researching and obtaining/trying new skin products in hopes to add to my skin care arsenal

the cold winter months do a number on your skin.  if you suffer from dry skin already, in-door heat, cold biting weather and a general dry environment will exacerbate your condition resulting in irritated, red, flaky, super dry skin.  some people aren’t phased by the cold (like DH) and their skin pretty much remains the same; maybe they’ll have a few dry spots here or there but it’s not bothersome.

i however, hate the winter.  my skin always reacts with every season change – my eczema flares up, my skin gets really dry and itchy and i get these gross dry spots on random parts of my body.  i have very dry, sensitive skin with eczema so i have to be extra careful about what i put on my skin otherwise i may react.

so here’s what to do to help you skin feel like a baby’s bottom through the harsh winter climate (if it worked for me and i have the most bullshit skin then it will most likely work for you):

your skin reflects what you put in your body.  if your diet is full of junk, your skin will look like junk.  take it from me – i have not been eating well these past few months weeks and my skin is the worst it’s ever been (i really need to get on this shit). eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants help keep your skin looking soft and supple.  blueberries are an excellent source of powerful anti-oxidants that help your skin fight off free-radicals that can cause premature aging.  fish and eggs are also an amazing skin-saver.  fish oils and eggs contain omega fatty acids – a key component to your skin’s chemical make-up.  if you’re not a lover of fish, take them in capsule form but get pharmaceutical grade oils – that jamieson crap won’t do.  take omega oil capsules daily (recommended dose depending on strength is usually 6/day) and within a few weeks, you’ll notice a big difference in your skin (aka it won’t be as dry/irritable).

increase your fluid intake.  skin care 101 involves increasing your water intake.  keeping your body well-hydrated throughout the day is the first line of defense against harsh weather – it keeps your blood moving, helps eliminate toxins from your body that will otherwise show up though your skin and helps keep all things internal well-balanced.  if you are drinking water only when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  take sips of water throughout the day.  dehydration also affects hunger levels (you’ll feel the need to eat more sweet stuff) and can cause headaches!

get lots of shut-eye.  your skin repairs itself when you sleep so getting the right amount of sleep at night helps a great deal.  notice how you look like shit if you have shitty sleep?  or should i say, notice how shitty i look because of all the shitty sleep i get at night?  the only time my skin was at its best was when i got my wisdom teeth out and basically slept one week straight (tylenol 3s knocked me out) – i woke up with radiant, glowing skin and my dark circles were gone. i couldn’t believe it.  it looked like i had come back from a make-up consultation that’s how good my skin looked.

skin care – the products you choose are so important. i don’t know about you, but when it comes to skin care, i don’t even bother to look at the price tag.  in my opinion, when it comes to skin products you get what you pay for and i ‘m not about to put cheap shit on my face that will make me look like i’m 70 when i hit 40.   so i will do what i can externally to help combat the signs of aging and hang on to whatever smooth suppleness i can for as long as i can, even if that means i have to spend a fortune.  i am too much of a pussy to undergo cosmetic surgery so if it means i dish out a few hundred dollars every few months, so be it.

in the cold winter months when our heating system is cranked up, your skin bears the brunt of it so it’s imporant to help keep moisture in your skin.  a good chemical to look for in any skin product is hyaluronic acid – it helps attract and retain moisture in your skin.  our bodies naturally produce this chemical but with age, the levels decrease as we get older.  that is why we turn into wrinkled sacks of shit as we age.  applying a concentrated serum containing hyaluronic acid under your moisturizer provides a good barrier.  i started using serums on a regular basis under my moisturizer which allows my skin to handle being out in the freezing cold weather.

choose a good moisturizer. again, you get what you pay for so if you decide that you prefer to go the cheap route, don’t expect your skin to look like a baby’s bottom.  if you have to fork out some dough for a product that works, i would.  it is so irritating to have dry, itchy skin and i don’t know about you but i do not like to walk around looking like lizard-face.  i don’t mind haggardy sallow witch, but not lizard face.  there’s a distinct difference, you know.  but yeah, a good moisturizer is best.  usually i switch to a heavier cream-based moisturizer during the winter months.  see my post for my skin care products.  oh, it’s also wise to get a night cream specially formulated for night time.  these creams are more concentrated as it works with and promotes cellular repair your skin does at night.

eye cream.  the eye area is a very sensitive spot because the skin is so thin, so your eye cream has to be able to absorb properly in order to be effective. because of this,  if your moisturizer or eye cream is too thick, your skin won’t be able to absorb it.  this is one area you don’t want to dry out.  have you ever applied concealer onto dry skin around the eye area?  it looks awful and no matter how much you try to blend, it won’t work!

exfoliate – but not too often!  if you exfoliate your skin 2x/week in the summer, cut that down to 1x/week in the winter.  your skin tends to be a bit more sensitive in the winter due to dry heat and exfoliating will only cause further irritation.  choose a gentle exfoliator – sometime made with synthetic beads etc – because the harsher the product, the more irrirtating it will be.

use a cream or milk facial cleanser and frangrace-free soap.  i use dove soap and cetaphil for my face.  if i am really lazy, i use dove for both but not too often.  using facial cleansers that contain detergents or fragrances can irritate and strip moisture from sensitive skin.  for really dry skin, you can use a cold cream and wipe the residue away.  always use warm water to shower/wash your face!  hot water strips skin of moisture!

always pat skin dry. rubbing will aggravate already-sensitive skin so pat dry and then immediately apply cream to damp skin. that will seal in the moisture.

use a humidifier at night.  ever woken up parched and feeling like fried chicken?  that’s because the heat zaps moisture from the air as you breathe at night.  run a humidifier at night while you sleep – it’ll help with dry skin and can help reduce snoring (will help keep nasal passages moist).

minimize your intake of alcohol , caffeine and stop smoking. i drink one cup of tea every morning with breakfast so my caffeine levels are minimized.  i’ve noticed that if i have a lot of caffeine in a day, my skin feels dry and tight.  i also go pee a lot so you’re losing water there since caffeine is a diuretic.  i don’t have to go into the hazards of alcohol and smoking even though i do love me some vodka.  but have you noticed after a long night of binge drinking, your skin looks like shit the next few days?  that’s alcohol doing its magic.  smoking on the other hand does a number on your health and skin.  with all those toxins in a single ciggy, no wonder people sound all raspy and look all haggard after years of smoking.

take care of your hands and feet.  i shouldn’t be preaching this because i never take care of my feet anymore – they are so horrid i can barely look at them myself.  but i have read that you should slather on a thick foot cream, put on sock and go to bed; you will then wake up feet so soft that you will want to make love to them.  same with your hands.

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