I recently shared some of my favorite ways to transition my beauty routine into the winter, and while I made quite a few specific product recommendations, I didn’t really mention all of the ways that I change my lifestyle when the cold weather hits! These changes are just as important as the product swap outs that I do. There are a lot of little changes that need to take place for me to prevent my hair from getting frizzy and keep my skin hydrated. The main skin problem that we all deal with in the winter is dry skin. Dry, cracked and itchy skin is uncomfortable and once it starts, it can be difficult to get under control! In order for your skin to “feel” normal, the very outer layers need to have approximately 10% water. The lipids (fats and oils) found on and in the skin’s surface help to keep this water where it belongs. Anything that disrupts the lipids can result in increased water loss to the environment, you’re basically losing water from your skin to the air around you.
1. Lower Water Temperature and Faster Showers and Baths As much as we all love a hot shower, you really should turn down the temperature! The hot water actually makes your skin lose those helpful lipids faster, making it harder to hold on to the precious moisture. So, turn down the temperature to hold on to the lipids.
In addition to turning down the temperature, you’ll want to speed things up! Most dermatologists say 5-10 minutes is all the time you should be spending in the shower. I have a hard time getting everything done that quickly, but if I multi-task and cut back on activities such as shaving and hair washing I can get a shower down to about 10 minutes.
2. Less Hair Washing If there ever was a time to embrace dry shampoos, this is it! Washing your hair every day strips it of natural oils, making it dry and hard to manage. It also dries out your scalp, contributing to itchiness and flakes. As well, the shampoo doesn’t only affect the hair on your head! It gets rinsed down on to your body. Soaps and detergents, particularly harsh ones, will strip your skin of lipids and may result in inflammation as well.
Start using a dry shampoo every other day to give your skin and hair a break! A little spray on your roots each morning helps soak up excess oils and adds great volume. If your hair is particularly oily, try applying a generous spray of dry shampoo at night before bed as well.
For days that you simply must wash your hair, changing to a gentle shampoo, such as a color treated hair formula, can also help. Those formulas are usually the most gentle and will be less likely to strip natural lipids from your hair and skin.
3. Seal in Moisture Bathing exposes your skin to a lot of water, and the outer layers of the skin do absorb quite a bit of it! However, you’ll need to act quickly to keep it there. Once you’re down with your shower, pat your skin partially dry and then apply a moisturizer within three minutes. The moisturizer will replace some of the natural skin lipids you just lost in the shower and seal in some of that moisture. If you wait longer, the moisture will start to leave your skin, evaporating into the air.
4. Apply Moisturizer All The Time, Everywhere Immediately after your shower isn’t the only time to apply moisturizer! Since many of the natural lipids in our skin and sebum can be mimicked in moisturizers, applying them throughout the day can help support the skin’s ability to prevent water loss to the environment. I keep bottles of lotion next to each sink in my house and on my nightstand. I reapply every time I wash my hands and multiple times throughout the day.
5. Humidify Your Bedroom One great way to prevent water loss to the environment is to increase the humidity of the environment! The air in our homes during the winter has much less humidity than during the summer. It isn’t unusual to have less than 20% humidity, which means that your skin is losing moisture at a pretty high rate.
To help combat this water loss, using a humidifier in your bedroom (which, let’s face it, is the room you spend the most time in) will help a lot. I’ve been using my new Dyson Humidifier in my bedroom (it’s pictured here in the sitting area), and I’ve already noticed a big difference in my skin. I love that it has a sleep timer, and it can automatically adjust for temperature and humidity levels to give the right amount of added humidity. I won’t have to worry about over humidifying my room this winter and causing ice to build up on my windows!
6. Drink More Water While drinking more water doesn’t necessarily mean that the extra water you drink will all find it’s way to your dry skin, but it certainly doesn’t hurt! Most of us don’t pay attention to our body’s thirst cues, so we are a bit less hydrated than we should be. Drinking more water will help out more than just your skin. In the winter I try to drink 1 extra glass, in addition to the 4 or so that I usually drink in a day.