Easy Ways to Beat the Winter Cold if You Have Sensitive Skin

Introduction

The winter season is undoubtedly the worst time for sensitive-skinned folks. The nipping cold pricks at the skin like icicles and the gusts of chilly wind send sharp tingles through the nerves, causing itching, pain, and redness. Moisture levels fall dramatically and the skin starts to dry out accordingly, flaking and peeling in white specks. Overall, it’s just really not a good time for sensitive skin. 

Making it through the winter season without having your entire face peeled off is already a big win for many sensitive-skinned people, not to mention going through the cold season with glowing, supple, and hydrated skin. It cannot be done, you might say. I can’t even get my skin to look like that on a normal basis, what makes you think moisturized, glowing skin will happen during the harshest months of the year? The good news is, it is possible! There are actually many lifestyle factors that we don’t realize are aggravating and irritating our skin, and the negative impact of these habits are exacerbated twofold during the winter months. So stick around and we’ll share some super easy tips to keep your skin happy and irritation-free all through November to February!

Use only lukewarm water at most for washing your face and taking showers

In this bleak midwinter, there is nothing more comforting than a steaming hot shower to momentarily warm our bodies. However, this is maybe one of the worst things you can do as a sensitive-skinned person. Hot water is notoriously bad for stripping the skin of natural oils and fats that protect our skin from the harsh cold. Our skin barrier is held together by a “glue” made of lipids known as ceramides. This lipid barrier (also known as a fatty barrier) has two main functions: to retain water in the skin and to prevent damaging irritants such as the wind and other irritants. Sensitive skin has a very weak and thin lipid barrier which makes the skin more permeable and a lot more susceptible to damage. Moisture escapes faster from a broken lipid barrier. Hot water sort of “melts” this lipid glue, causing further damage to your already fragile skin barrier. This will make your skin even more vulnerable to damage and not to mention the super harsh winds and cold temperature. So stick to lukewarm water at most, and keep your showers short and efficient.

Double up on the moisturizing efforts

Moisturizer is crucial for any person with sensitive skin, and it is even more so in the winter! You’ll definitely want to double down on your moisturizing routine and add a couple of extra potent products that can give you the added boost of moisture that the winter will suck out of your skin. Changing up your skincare routine to suit the changing seasons is an important thing to do, so in the winter up your moisturizer game! The most effective way to give your skin that added boost of hydration is to get a strong moisturizing elixir, and of course, you will want a serum with hyaluronic acid to really pump in the hydration. Hyaluronic acid is an absolutely magical ingredient that will retain up to 1000 times its weight in moisture, making it absolutely essential for the wintertime when you need all the moisture and hydration you can get. But don’t stop there. Add a facial oil to your winter routine, one that is full of nourishing omega fatty acids which are so necessary for maintaining and enforcing that skin barrier. The final step is to lock all that moisture and goodness with a non-comedogenic moisturizing cream that will really lock in all the moisture into the skin. Choose a rich, creamy one such as shea butter. It’s a natural moisturizer packed with fatty acids and vitamins, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, making it one of the best natural ingredients for sensitive skin. It also smells super warm and lush, just perfect for the dreary winter months!

Exfoliate, but not too much and with the right products

This might seem counterintuitive — why exfoliate during winter when the skin is particularly sensitive? Won’t it just exacerbate the irritation and redness? Yes, so it’s absolutely crucial that you are super gentle and careful with your exfoliation. Exfoliation is still necessary as you still need to get rid of the dead skin cell buildup on the skin surface so that your products can work better and penetrate more deeply. Choose a very gentle exfoliator with very fine grains or beads, and don’t ever scrub your face as that will definitely lead to irritation! Massage very gently and carefully, and don’t press too hard. If you have flakiness on your body, you can even try a chemical-based exfoliant such as a gentle chemical exfoliant lactic acid to slough off the dead skin cells that accumulate from dryness. If you are extra sensitive, opt for an even gentler acid like a poly-hydroxy acid (PHA) which is less strong than an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA).

Don’t use any kind of fragranced products on your skin

Hidden fragrances in products are the enemy of sensitive skin, and it is even worse during wintertime! Don’t get tempted by all the delicious-smelling festive scents at the Bath & BodyWorks stores, they will only make your skin even more irritated and reactive. Check the ingredient lists of all your skincare products. It can be hard when many products nowadays have up to fifty different ingredients and most of them have scientific names we cannot identify. One good rule of thumb is to choose products that have fewer ingredients as this reduces the chances of there being ingredients that can potentially irritate and cause inflammation or redness in the skin.

Sleep and hydrate!

Glowing, refreshed skin requires rest and tons of hydration. Since the sun sets so early, what’s the point of staying up so late anyway? Get a good night’s rest of at least 8 hours per night, so you can give your skin cells more time to repair and heal under night mode. Also, hydrate! The air is so cold that you will need extra water to hydrate yourself sufficiently. Drink at least a liter of water per day to boost your body’s hydration levels.

Conclusion

Winter is a harsh time for the skin, so by taking extra precautions and steps, you’ll be giving your skin the extra help it needs to get through the cold months!

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