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Struggling for skin hydration in winter

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

Winter months tend to dry out even the healthiest of skin. Between wind whipping against you on the walk to class (and, let’s face it, this campus is a wind tunnel) to indoor heating that leaves your face feeling tight and dehydrated, there’s nowhere safe.

However, there are ways to protect your skin from drying out, or even worse, chapping, flaking and peeling. Here’s a list of ways to help combat the elements working against you:
1. Sunscreen. Snow glare and sun can still damage skin, even in cold weather. To avoid sun damage, you should apply at least 20 SPF to your face and neck every morning. If sunscreen isn’t ideal, use a moisturizer with SPF (ex. Aveeno tinted moisturizer, SPF 30) or a pressed powder with moisturizer (many Physicians Formula products are 20 SPF or higher).

2. Layer moisturizer. Like clothes, you need to layer moisturizer in winter. That means you should apply some immediately after your post-shower towel dry and again before you step outside. I suggest using a carrier oil (i.e. apricot oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil - all around $10 for 16 ounces on Amazon except jojoba oil, which would be about $10 for 4 ounces) after your shower, and patting any excess off with your towel. Before leaving the room, use a more easily absorbed moisturizer (right now I’m into NZ Fusion Botanical’s Manuka Honey, Rosehip Oil and Plant Squalane Botanical Moon Crème, $14.60 on Amazon).

3. Drink water. Keeping skin hydrated is a process that works from the inside out. You should drink at least two liters of water a day, throughout the day, to keep skin from becoming parched. As an added bonus, water will help flush out toxins so they don’t show up as blemishes.

4. Lukewarm showers. I know how good a hot shower feels after a long day in the cold, but keep in mind- it may feel good, but it won’t look good. Hot showers break down the lipid barriers your skin needs to keep moisture in.

5. Sleep. This is usually the first thing we sacrifice to accommodate our busy schedules, and it really shouldn’t be. Sleep deprivation makes it more difficult for skin to stay hydrated. This leads to dark under eye circles and heavy bags the next morning. In the long term, it can create sallow skin and fine lines. I know eight hours a night is unrealistic for some people- especially with finals week right around the corner, but you should aim for at least six hours a night. That’s two sleep cycles, and ideally just enough to keep you glowing even while it’s snowing.

 

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