5 Ways to “Winterize” and Protect Your Skin

timthumb (2)If you live in a temperate climate, then you probably don’t need to worry as much about altering your skin care routine for the typically dry and frigid winter months. However, if you’re one of the millions like me who live in a climate that has distinct and often severe seasons then there are some steps you will want to take to help ensure your skin stays hydrated, smooth and healthy.

1. Increase your intake of water – preferably electrolyte-enhanced

Keeping your body hydrated is very important to the appearance of your skin. It can literally take years off your life when you’re truly hydrated. Drinking electrolyte-enhanced water helps to smooth and plump the skin even more because it provides the body a deeper hydration. Since our bodies are comprised of over 90% water, our skin shows signs of dehydration quickly. Lines, depressions and wrinkles are much more visible when your internal body is not hydrated enough.

If you’ve eaten a high sodium meal, you may notice you need even more water. Avoiding high sodium foods, which are often also processed, is a good rule of thumb to keep your body hydrated because it’s very difficult to rehydrate after you’ve taken in a lot of sodium. Excessive sodium in the diet is also linked to an increase in the appearance of flushed skin, redness and general irritation so it’s a good idea to limit high sodium foods.

2. If your home is particularly dry, try this

If you have very dry heat in your home during the winter, then try setting a bowl of water in each room. Replace it as it evaporates, or once a day just to keep it fresh and avoid mold. The water will evaporate into the air and provide a little of the humidity that indoor heat typically lacks. If you want to add a little “ambiance” to it, try adding a few drops of essential oils so it scents the air lightly as it adds moisture.

You can also of course try a commercial humidifier, but people often find these clunky and hard to clean. Setting water out is a simple, inexpensive way to add some humidity to the air without using electric power and without the mold spore risk that a dirty humidifier can pose.

3. Go a little heavier on the moisturizer, and add an oil at night

During the day, go a little heavier than you normally would with whatever you use to moisturize your skin. Concentrate on the areas that show dryness first, like around the mouth and underneath the eyes in the delicate skinned area that tends to show our age first.

At night, use a heavier oil in these same areas where you typically see dryness or lines. You can try castor oil, coconut oil, argan oil or even olive oil. Rub it in to the area well, after you’ve already applied your night time moisturizer and let it sink in. If you’re a side sleeper, the additional slick moisture will help protect you against new lines forming from the compression of your face against your pillow. Some oils may stain some types of fabric, so try to get it rubbed in and absorbed before hitting the hay for the night.

4. Increase your intake of omega 3 fats

Omega 3 fats have an amazing ability to act as an “internal” moisturizer for your skin. If you consume a lot of these in your diet already, you probably notice that your complexion becomes softer, fuller and more “dewy” and youthful looking when you get plenty of these in your diet. Add lots of electrolyte-enhanced water, and you’ve got a real winning combination for healthy, vibrant looking skin.

Some of the best fats for the skin can be found in walnuts, almonds, avocados, various types of fish like salmon, tuna and pollock, and unheated olive oil. These fats act as sort of an internal lubricant of sorts in that they help keep the connective tissues cushiony and flexible, and this of course includes one of your biggest types of tissue – your skin.

5. Wear gloves and protective gear when out in the cold

Winter months are notoriously dry. There is just a lot less humidity in the air during the cold months. While this might translate into better hair days, it generally isn’t all the great for your skin. This is especially true when you combine it with harsh winds and bitingly cold air. Bundle up by wearing gloves to protect your hands (hands always get dry in the winter), and a scarf to protect your face when you’re braving the cold for longer than a minute or two.

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