How to Prepare Your Skin for Colder Weather
As much as we don’t want to admit, cold weather is coming. This means changing our wardrobe, our tires, or schedules, and even our diets. But one change people typically miss when the cold weather comes is in their skincare routine. Dry, cold, harsh winters can wreak havoc on our skin if we don’t make a few small tweaks to our routines.
For example, did you know that you’re supposed to wear SPF in the winter? When the snow covers the ground, it turns into a giant reflector for the sun. And the UV rays from that sun bounces right off the snow and onto our skin. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun's rays still manage to get through. Even worse, for every 1000 feet you are above sea level, UV radiation goes up by 4-5%, so when you’re on the slopes it can go up by as much as 35-45%. That’s a lot of sun damage your skin is getting, so even in winter- wear SPF!
Here are some other ways you should prepare your skin for colder weather:
Cleansing and Exfoliating
Because our skin gets dry in the winter, it’s important that you avoid soaps that contain strong detergents. You should switch up your summer cleanser for one that is more gentle, and moisturizing soaps are important. Look for soaps or liquids that are white (this means there are no artificial colors), unscented and creamy. Look for things that hydrate while cleansing and don’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Oil cleansers are great all year round but are especially useful in the winter.
You should also be sure you’re exfoliating regularly, both your face and body. This will not only get rid of dead skin cells but will also help your moisturizers absorb quicker and more effectively. Be careful not to over-exfoliate though as it can irritate your skin. Your best bet is to go in once or twice a week with an exfoliating scrub. You can also use Charcoal Konjac Sponge to cleanse daily. It will clear away dead skin cells without irritating the skin, but it is gentle enough to use every day.
Switch Your Moisturizer
You should also be making some serious adjustments in your moisturizing routine as well. Cold weather causes our blood vessels to constrict, which means less blood supply going to the skin’s surface. It also results in our skin drying out. And when you go from the cold outside to a dry, artificially heated room, it causes the skin to become dryer as the water evaporates. Then when you go from hot to cold your skin tends to lose moisture and dry out even more.
In the summertime and most of the fall, you are probably able to get away with just a light moisturizer or face oil, but that isn’t going to do the trick in winter. Look for moisturizers that contain ceramides and hyaluronic acids during the day and occlusives like lanolin, petrolatum, and mineral oil at night. Lock your moisturizer in with a facial oil too.
Consider using moisturizers that are infused with different herbs. Many natural herbs, especially the ones used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), contain active ingredients that offer wonderful skin benefits. Many herbal skincare lotions, creams, serums, and oil provide superior moisturizing and health benefits.
No More Hot Showers
Nothing feels better than taking a long hot shower after a cold day outside, but the heat from the shower can actually dry out your skin more and leave it susceptible to damage. This exposure to hot water over a long period of time will actually be more likely to break down the lipid barrier in your skin. It can also make any irritation you may be experiencing even worse. In this 1995 study on irritation from surfactants, researchers found that the hotter the water, the more irritated participant's skin became. The skin barrier is compromised and softened, allowing ingredients to penetrate the skin better, meaning that irritating ingredients do more damage.
Keep your shower to 10 minutes or less, and as tempting as it is, do not use hot water. Stick with just a warm, comfortable temperature.
Save your skin this winter by making these small changes to your routine!
Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare co-founder Steven Wang, MD has enjoyed a long and successful career as a board-certified dermatologist. He currently holds the title of Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge New Jersey. Dr. Wang and his father Gui Wang, a licensed acupuncturist with over 40 years of experience, have teamed up to create Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare.
We believe that our experience and knowledge of both modern Western medicine and time-honored Eastern medicine allows us to provide unique skincare solutions. But don’t take our word for it! Read what experts from such reputable organizations as Bloomberg and The New York Times have to say about our products.