Well. Winter has arrived, hasn't it? And the evidence is all over your face, in the form of white flakes, redness, and a tight, uncomfortable feeling that seems resistant to all attempts at rehydration.
Lately, we have received a steady stream of of emails and phone calls, to the tune of, "Help! My skin is so dry and nothing seems to make it better!!"
Although we've written posts in the past about saving dry skin, I thought I would pull it all together, throw in some additional resources and product recommendations, creating the Ultimate Guide to winterizing your complexion.
Skin care is only part of the solution when it comes to combatting dry skin. Here are some essential tips that have nothing to do with the products you are using (bonus: they also won't cost you a dime!):
- Drink water. Lots of it. After all, hydrated skin is about - you guessed it - staying hydrated. The dryer the air, the more water you need to consume. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, refill as needed.
- Cut down on coffee. Or drink more water. Hey, we get it: coffee is one of life's few reliable pleasures, if not a necessity. But it also dehydrates the body. So if you're a java lover, and cutting back isn't an option, just make sure you compensate with more water!
- Cut down on alcohol. Or drink more water. Love to have a couple glasses of wine in the evening? Party a bit too hard over the weekend? You already know alchohol in skin care products can dry out the skin; not surprisingly, it will do the same when you drink it. Solution? Put the vino back in the cupboard, or - let's all say it together - drink more water.
- Put moisture back in the air with a humidifier. They are super affordable, and you'll be amazed at how much happier your skin is come morning. Just be sure to clean it often, as humidifers breed bacteria when left unchecked. Ew.
For the most part, I'm not of the belief that any product is a "must." After all, if you eat well, stay hydrated, and take good care of your skin, skin care is more about fine-tuning than it is about skin health. That being said, there are a few exceptions, a few items I believe every single person should have, regardless of age, skin type, or gender:
- The Clarisonic. I know it's a significant investment, but believe me, it's 100% worth it. I don't care if you're 14 or 74. Your skin will benefit from this magical tool. And no, the less expensive knock-offs are not the same thing, sorry. Take it from a true penny-pincher: It's better to invest $150 now on a top-quality product that will last you forever, than it is to spent $75 on something that works less well, and doesn't last as long. It will exfoliate that dry dead skin off your face, making it more receptive to whatever you put on next. It will also increase circulation to the skin's surface, remove dirt and makeup without overstripping, and I'm pretty sure it even does your taxes, although I haven't put that last one to the test yet.
- Waxelene. Here's a no-brainer. It's inexpensive and perfect for the entire family, from newborn to great grandma. It's petroleum free, yet provides the same protection from the elements, while also helping to heal the skin (something Vaseline can't do). You can use it on lips, elbows, feet, baby's bottom...there isn't much you can't do with it.
- Keys Tortuga Lotion. Again, it doesn't matter if you're a 300-pound linebacker with skin as leathery as your football, or a 5-year-old ballerina with eczema - if dry skin's got you down, Tortuga can help. Period.
While it's true few beauty products are absolutely necessary, I can think of at least one, two, or ten you may want to seriously consider (phots of which are shown in our lovely Polyvore collage above):
- Naturopathica Beechtree & Ginseng Moisturizer. Come winter, I turn to Naturopathica. This particular moisturizer is my go-to day cream. Rich but not oily, it works beautifully under makeup and is a welcome relief when I wake up in the morning with a case of alligator face.
- Naturopathica Cassis Ultra Replenishing Cream and Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream. We included both of these, because I (Terri) prefer the former, while Bethany (our esthetician) prefers the latter. Both are rich, thick, and nourishing: the perfect night cap.
- Naturopathica Oat Facial Polish. Let's say you don't have a Clarisonic. You'll want something to exfoliate the dead, dry skin off your face, because it's the dead dry stuff that leaves your complexion looking dull and lifeless. It also clogs pores, leaving you with dry skin AND zits, as impossibly unfair as that might seem.
- Blissoma Restore Deep Moisture Serum. My biggest critique of this serum is that it can feel too rich in the summer months. So, as you might imagine, it transforms into the perfect serum come winter. Apply before your night cream for that extra infusion of nourishment.
- Odacite Deep Hydration Masque. If all of the above still don't cut it, it's time to call in the reinforcements. Slather on this mask for 20 minutes (or - if your skin is truly in scaly shambles - overnight) then rinse and apply your usual moisturizers. Repeat as necessary.
- Intelligent Nutrients Anti Aging Serum. OK, truth be told, the entire Nature of Beauty staff just thinks this needs to be on any recommendation list, be it Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter. So here it is. Apply before your day and/or night creams. It's also a fabulous eye serum.
- Logona Organic Rose Cleansing Milk. Switching from foaming or gel cleansers to a milk or cleam cleanser is a good idea anyway, if you're dealing with perpetual dryness. Organic Rose Water has been used for centuries to soothe and hydrate. This cleanser is affordable, it smells amazing, and it will remove dirt and makeup (including eye makeup) while leaving your skin soft and happy.
- Keys Eye Butter. This should probably be on the Must-Have list. Especially since it's only $20. Are you familiar with the fatal combination the bitter cold wind that causes tears to leak out the outside corners of your eyes, and then turns those tears into chapped, sore rashes? Yeah, this will stop that from happening, or will heal skin that's already been damaged. Definitely a must-have for lovers of winter sports, and anyone living in Fargo.
- Logona Organic Rose Night Cream. If Naturopathica's price tag doesn't fit your beauty budget, consider Logona's Rose Night Cream. It's rich, soothing, and smells like your face landed in Valentine's Day.
For More Information
Truth be told, I could writes pages and pages on winning skin's annual war with winter. Or, I could provide you with links to uber-helpful information already out there on the Interwebs. In the interest of efficiency, I choose Door #2:
- Keys Care's recommended regimen for Dry Skin: http://keys-soap.com/pdf/dry.pdf
- From Organic Spa Magazine's January 2013 edition, Top 10 Natural Beauty Remedies (featuring advice from yours truly): http://www.organicspamagazine.com/2013/01/top-10-natural-beauty-remedies/
- From ABC News, several DIY tips for reviving dry skin, including advice from The Green Beauty Guide's Julie Gabriel. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SkinCare/natural-cures-dry-skin/story?id=15785752
- More dry skin remedies from The Daily Green (one of our favorite sites for all things Eco): http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/natural-winter-skin-care-461108
- Previous posts on The Nature of Beauty Blog from winters past: http://www.natureofbeautyblog.com/2012/01/say-goodbye-to-dry-5-tips-for.html