Burrrrrr. It’s cold outside. You thought you had your skincare routine tweaked to perfection but when the heat turned on you instantly felt like a prune. Moisture was immediately sucked out of your skin leaving it tight, dry, flaky and uncomfortable. Even worse, you suspect you’re looking a bit older than you did just a few short weeks ago. Yikes!
It’s time to rev up your skincare routine to reflect this new environment. Don’t despair, a few changes will help you sail through to get you to the sunnier side of the season. (Even if that means waiting ‘til May if you live in New England.) The following winter time skin savers should do the trick, bringing back that moist happy skin you love.
It’s not just water:
Sure, drinking water helps hydrate your body, and hopefully your skin. But, I know so many clients who drink a full 10 to 12 glasses a day and still experience dry, dehydrated skin. That’s because drinking water doesn’t guarantee that the water is going to be absorbed into your skin. (It may just keep you running to the bathroom). Even if it does get absorbed, with this cold dry air or arid indoor heat, it gets sucked out just as quickly. The key here, if you have dry skin, is lipids and emollients. Barrier ingredients that hold water in your skin and protect it from the environment, bringing relief as it soothes, softens and conditions your skin.
Change up your routine:
It’s important to change your cleanser. The sudden change in weather means the slightest bit of detergent, surfactants or foaming agents will rob dry skin of its precious moisture when used this time of the year. Even that milky cleanser you switched to this fall might be over cleansing your skin. So, look for something a bit more soothing and emollient. Try an Omega 3 fatty acid based cleanser.
Omega 3 fatty acids truly are remarkable ingredients for your skin. They serve as the essential building blocks of skin’s surface layers, creating a smoother, more even, younger-looking, and healthier complexion, no matter what your age. If the idea of putting fish oil on your skin sounds a bit gross, don’t worry—plant-derived omega 3 formulations are remarkable. Here are some things a topical application of omega 3 fatty acids based products can do for your skin:
• Reinforce and smooth your skin’s surface.
• Increase hydration without feeling heavy.
• Calm external stressors, including redness and sensitivity.
• Eliminate signs of flaky, dehydrated-looking skin.
• Visibly strengthen skin against signs of environmental damage.
• Deliver antioxidants for anti-aging results.
• Help dissolve makeup easily when included in your cleansing formula.
All of these benefits mean that applying omega fatty acids directly to skin leads to visible rewards you’ll love. Elizabeth Renee has developed an emollient milky cleanser based on nut oils that is rich with omega 3 fatty acids. These oils derive from hazelnuts, kukui nuts, cherry pits, borage seeds and rose hips. They include sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil and rose oil. Kukui Cleansing Milk has a luxurious feel that isn’t greasy and washes off clean without leaving your skin feeling tight.
Omegas have a natural affinity for skin, and are especially beneficial when combined with other soothing and protective ingredients like Shea butter, green tea and licorice root. This formulary approach is exactly what we do at Elizabeth Renee with our Kukui Cleansing Milk and its exclusive blend of omega 3 fatty acids.
Changing your diet:
This is no time to forget about fatty acids in your diet. Omega 3s are found in foods like cold water fish (salmon), flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Plus, your grandmother was right when it came to cod liver oil. Yuck you say? Well fresh, good quality cod liver oil (I like the Arctic brand) doesn’t taste fishy at all. Not only is this oil high in omega-3 fatty acids, it is also loaded with anti-aging vitamins A and D.
In its active form as calcitriol, vitamin D contributes to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism. It optimizes the skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging.
Retinol (vitamin A) is my number one favorite skin vitamin. It organizes skin cells for a smoother texture and reduced clogging of the pores. In the dermis it builds collagen, resulting in youthful and plump skin. While I’m a big fan of using Retinol Resurfacing Treatment regularly for its stellar vitamin A anti-aging qualities, consuming vitamin A is also essential. You can get plenty of beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) from vegetables like yams, carrots and spinach, but only about 5% is actually converted to vitamin A. This means animal sources like grass fed, organic eggs, butter and cheese and cold water fish like salmon… or cod liver oil are most effective. I take a tsp. every morning to nix the possibility of dry winter skin.
Dry heat. Protect yourself!
Barrier protection is essential this time of year. If you’re using moisturizers that are mostly comprised of water holding humectants which worked great in summer, that may be doing more damage than good when the air is dry. Sure, humectants grab on to moisture for your parched skin, but honestly where does that moisture come from? If the air is dry as a bone that humectant is going to draw water from the deepest layers of your skin… which can ultimately evaporate and dehydrate your skin. To prevent this, you need to intensify your moisturizing formula by providing more emollients or adding a protective layer that holds that moisture in and acts somewhat like an overcoat to protect your skin.
My favorite wintertime moisturizer for very dry skin is Intensive Lipid Repair. This luxuriously rich formula not only includes an array of omega 3 fatty acids but has great emollients like Shea Butter and a special performance ingredient called Ursolic Acid (from rosemary extract). Ursolic Acid has the ability to stimulate your own skin cells to produce more natural lipids which hold moisture in between skin cells of your epidermis. If you have very dry skin you might want to use this both day and night especially during a deep freeze.
The overcoat that creates a breathable barrier for your skin is a calming skin serum called Environmental Protection. This very popular serum was first formulated as a protective layer to apply over moisturizer to create a barrier to ward off dehydration during airplane travel. Now it has a loyal following. Apply it over moisturizer any time you are exposed to a dry environment. It keeps the dry air in your house from robbing your skin of moisture as well as protecting against the cold, dry air outside. This great serum includes omega rich fatty acids from Evening Primrose and Barrage Seed Oils which are super skin soothers for sensitive or environmentally stressed skin.
One of the best ways to retexturize, repair, condition and rehydrate your skin is with an incredibly fun and effective treatment masque we call Good Nite Sleeping Masque. This rich, overnight hybrid masque/night cream conditions skin to create a wonderfully smooth, soft skin by morning. This new masque is formulated with detoxifying Swiss Garden Sprouts that enhance cellular resistance and promote the elimination of environmental toxins. Omega rich Sea Buckthorn and Black Raspberry keep skin looking fresh, healthy and supple while providing antioxidant protection.
Time to head to the spa:
My favorite dry skin treatment for winter is our Cell Youth Anti-Aging Facial. Based on stem cell stimulators that nudge your skin cells to go into repair mode, plus super hydrators to increase your skin’s ability to retain moisture inside skin cells. This gentle, skin rejuvenating treatment is a must this time of year to wake up sluggish skin cells and coax them to start acting more like younger skin.