So you're here to see what we have to say about managing your skin between October and April - we will get to that! But first, let's see how many of us actually make a change when Winter rolls around.
If you responded "Yes" - you've got the right idea.
If you're in the "No" camp - read further.
Here's the headline:
| WINTER SKINCARE IS ALL ABOUT COMBATTING DRY SKIN
After you've dialed in your skincare regimen, consider that these may also lead to dry skin...
Shampoo If you haven't ever considered the effect of shampoo on your skin, now is the season. Most shampoos will contain one or both of these common surfactants: sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). These molecules are considered anionic (negatively charged) which is known to cause skin irritation. SLS is in so many products because it is great at drawing out dirt and oil, and producing a rich lathery foam. While the lather may be satisfying, remember it is good for your hair and not for your skin --- keep the suds away from your face.
| PRO TIP: Check for SLS-free haircare products.
SLS-free products aren't any more expensive than those that have SLS, but there are some luxury brands that can cost more. We've got some recommendations for SLS-free brands we personally use and love.
$ Low Cost: Odele
$$ Mid-range: Kristen Ess, Dry Bar - Liquid Glass
$$$ Luxury: Oribe
Water Tap water is often perfectly fine to drink, but when used with your cleanser to wash your face, it can present some unwanted problems. "Hard water" contains minerals that make completely rinsing the cleanser from your face difficult, leading to residue build-up that can clog pores. These minerals (depending on what's in your local water) may also contribute to dryness.
| PRO TIP: Trade the tap water for a cotton (or cloth) round with micellar water.
[Announcement] Did you know there are FILTERED SHOWER HEADS? Yea, it's maybe the type of thing that you don't need but it sure should be something you want. We aren't being paid to say this but you should check out Jolie.
Shower Temp In the Winter it's normal that you'd want to take longer, hotter showers (or baths if you've got that kind of time). The downside to these comfy, hot showers is the effect high temperatures have on our skin. A National Institutes of Health study from January of this year found that "long and continuous water exposure damages skin barrier function" with an increased noted in TEWL values.
[Pause] What is TEWL? TEWL is Transepidermal Water Loss. This is a process commonly referred to on the more sciency-side of skincare (check out this article from SkinBetter, which we carry by the way!). What it refers to is simple, though, and that is the amount of water that is lost through evaporation from the surface of your skin.
So those increased TEWL values from the NIH study are considered to show that prolonged exposure to high water temperatures, i.e. your hot Winter showers, can lead to skin dryness because those temperatures are causing greater evaporation of the hydration your skin already has when you get in the shower. We recommend dialing back the temps and getting warm and cozy with a fluffy blanket and a hot toddy.
Humidifier This is the most obvious one of all, but let's talk about it anyway. Humidity. It's not our hair's best friend. Skin loves moisture though. Multiple studies have been conducted in the last 10 years to evaluate how, why, and what it means that our skin loves moisture and dislikes low temperatures and dry conditions. One of those studies (a review article) in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in 2016 concluded that "low humidity and low temperatures lead to a general decrease in skin barrier function and increased susceptibility towards mechanical stress" and that "the skin also becomes more reactive towards skin irritants and allergens."
What this means is that the more dry our skin is, the more likely we are to experience peeling, inflammation, redness, and discoloration.
| PRO TIP: Set a humidifier on your bedside table and run it while you sleep.