Winter is certainly one of the tougher seasons on our skin – cooler weather with less moisture means drying, peeling, cracking, and fading of the lovely tan skin of summer. In this season it is important to switch up your skin care routine in order to protect against the wind and cold (especially if you do outdoor activities like skiing or snowshoeing, but even if you’re a homebody) and prevent accelerated aging of the skin. Here are some of the ways I switch up my natural skin care routine in the winter:
1. Switch to a more hydrating blend of cleanser: I oil cleanse my face, meaning that I use a combination of extra virgin olive oil and castor oil to cleanse my face morning and evening (instead of a store bought cleanser). In the winter months, I increase the proportion of olive oil in this blend to add more hydration. In summer I use about 50% castor oil to 50% olive oil; in the winter the blend is closer to 75% olive oil to 25% castor oil. The castor oil purifies the skin, but can be a bit drying. Click the link above for a how-to on oil cleansing.
2. Hydrate face daily with steam and moisture: After applying my oil cleanser, I am sure to steam my face a few times with a warm wash cloth. This steam helps to loosen dirt and impurities, but also opens my pores up so that they more readily absorb my moisturizer. Currently, as moisturizer for my face I’m using Skoah’s Face Kream – their products are not 100% natural, but I find that in the winter when I need more of a moisture barrier, coconut oil doesn’t cut it (my skin gets too dry).
3. Moisturize your body starting in the shower: The soap you choose to use on your skin can have a drying effect if it doesn’t contain natural hydrators. Right now I’m using Lucia Organic No.9 Bourbon Vanilla and White Tea soap – it contains 100% organic shea butter, has an amazing light scent that doesn’t last too long (for fragrance-free workplaces) and leaves my skin feeling clean and soft.
4. Find a natural body moisturizer that works for you: I’ve made my own body butter in the past – and find that this recipe from Holistic Squid is the best blend for the winter months. It leaves a thin layer on skin after applying (doesn’t completely absorb right away) which creates an awesome barrier. Plus, it smells like chocolate. Win win!! If you don’t want to make your own, read labels of the products you’re looking at and steer clear of parabens, phthalates, parfum (fragrance), propylene glycol.. and pretty much anything that you think you need a chemistry degree to read and understand.
*Update: for Christmas this year, I was gifted Carriage 44 pure Shea butter (ingredients: shea butter, sweet almond oil) and it is perhaps the most fantastic thick winter moisturizer a gal could ask for! Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
5. Drink up!: Keeping your body water up by hydrating your cells from the inside out is one of the best defences. I never recommend cold beverages, even in summer, and especially in the winter suggest you opt for warm/hot water with lemon or berries, and herbal teas (that are not diuretics and are warming flavours – ginger for example). Aim for 2L per day, more if you’re exercising.
6. Sliq your lips: In the past, I have found my lips to be the hardest part of my skin to keep hydrated! I apply a natural lip balm (right now I’m using good old Burt’s Bees) during my makeup routine, and throughout the day whenever I can remember. Using a toothbrush as an exfoliant before putting on the lip balm in the morning will ensure absorption and get rid of any peeling/flaking skin from being under-hydrated. Increasing your H2O intake helps immensely with this as well!
7. Take your oils: Thinking again from the inside out, making sure you have adequate good fats in your diet is key to any good skin care regime. I recommend several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, almond oil, or grape seed oil daily to my patients. Borage oil is also helpful for skin because of the high content of GLA – speak to your naturopathic doctor about this intervention to find out the dose that’s appropriate for you.
Wishing you glowing winter skin,