Winter can be a magical time of year, but it can wreak havoc on your skin if you're not careful. As temperatures drop and humidity levels plummet, your skin requires extra attention and care to stay healthy and radiant. However, despite our best intentions, many of us inadvertently make mistakes in our winter skincare routines that can exacerbate issues instead of resolving them.
Here are five common winter skincare mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1: Skipping Sunscreen
One of the most common misconceptions is that sunscreen is only necessary in the summer as the winter has reduced sunlight and colder temperatures. However, UV rays are present year-round. Even during overcast or cloudy days, UV rays penetrate clouds and could contribute to skin damage.
For those living in more northern climates, snow can reflect UV rays, intensifying their effect on the skin. Prolonged exposure without proper protection, could lead to premature aging, wrinkles, uneven pigmentation including dark spots and discoloration, sun damage and even increased risk of skin cancer.
Solution: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, even on overcast days. Look for moisturizers or foundations that include SPF for added convenience. Apply it generously on all exposed areas, including your face, neck, ears, and hands.
Mistake #2: Using Hot Water for Cleansing
During winter, it's tempting to take long, hot showers to warm up. While hot showers or baths may be comforting in the cold, they strip your skin of its natural oils, disrupting the skin’s barrier integrity. This can lead to dryness, redness, irritation and increased sensitivity. Prolonged exposure to hot water can also deplete the skin’s moisture, making it more prone to flakiness, itchiness and excessively dry skin.
For individuals with conditions like eczema or psoriasis, hot water can further irritate symptoms causing flare-ups, redness, and itchiness due to further drying of the skin.
Solution: Here are five solutions to consider:
- Opt for lukewarm water when cleansing your face and body to help maintain the skin’s natural oils and prevent excessive drying.
- Limit shower time and avoid prolonged exposure to hot water to help minimize moisture loss from the skin.
- Choose mild, hydrating cleansers and soaps without harsh chemicals or fragrances to help cleanse the skin effectively without stripping away essential moisture. Consider using WENVIA soaps as they are made with nourishing oils and butters like Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil to help hydrate the skin.
- Pat your skin dry gently with a soft towel rather than rubbing vigorously to retain moisture.
- Apply a hydrating moisturizer immediately after cleansing to help lock in moisture and replenish the skin barrier, preventing dryness. WENVIA’s Hand and Body Lotions and Body Oils were specially formulated to moisturize and hydrate the skin and are a great option to keep your skin nourished and protected all day long.
Mistake #3: Neglecting Humidity Levels
Indoor heating systems significantly reduce the humidity levels in your home and office, creating a dry environment which can dehydrate your skin. Low humidity can accelerate moisture evaporation from the skin, resulting in a compromised skin barrier and increased susceptibility to environmental stressors. Dry air can also further irritate sensitive skin, especially those with acne, eczema and psoriasis, it can contribute to premature aging with increased fine lines, wrinkles and a dull complexion, or leave the skin feeling tight, uncomfortable and itchy.
Mistake #4: Over-Exfoliating
Exfoliation is essential for removing dead skin cells, but overdoing it during winter can compromise the skin’s protection barrier. Harsh exfoliants and frequent exfoliation can strip away the skin’s natural oils, causing further dryness, flakiness, tightness, redness, inflammation and increased sensitivity. A compromised skin barrier makes the skin more susceptible to environmental aggressors, allowing moisture loss and potentially exacerbating dryness. In the pursuit of a radiant complexion, some individuals may be tempted to over-exfoliate, thinking it will enhance their skin’s glow. However, excessive exfoliation can have the opposite effect, causing irritation and redness. In addition, over-exfoliation may disrupt the balance of the skin, leading to increased oil production. This, in turn, can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts.
Solution: Limit exfoliation to once or twice a week, using gentle exfoliants suitable for sensitive skin, especially during the winter months when the skin’s barrier is more fragile. Immediately after exfoliation, always apply a rich moisturizer to replenish the skin and support the skin barrier’s recovery. Pay attention to how the skin reacts after exfoliation. If there is increased redness, stinging or tightness, it might indicate over-exfoliation, prompting a need to adjust your routine.
Mistake #5: Ignoring Lip Care
Your lips lack oil glands, making them more susceptible to drying out, especially during the harsh winter weather. The constant exposure to cold wind can also cause chapping and cracking which could make it uncomfortable while eating and talking to others. The delicate skin on the lips is more susceptible to environmental factors like wind and cold temperatures, leading to discomfort and potential irritation. Ignoring lip care can result in pain and affecting the lip’s appearance with flakiness or peeling. Dry lips also make it challenging to apply lipstick smoothly, leading to uneven application and emphasizing lip imperfections.
Solution: Here are five things you can do to treat your lips during the winter:
- Use a hydrating lip balm to protect against the harsh weather conditions. Look for balms containing nourishing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, or vitamin E to protect and nourish your lips and help prevent against cracking and peeling. Reapply throughout the day, especially before heading outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your body and skin, including your lips, well-hydrated.
- Avoid licking your lips as saliva evaporates quickly, contributing to more dryness.
- Use a lip scrub to gently buff away dry skin, then immediately apply lip balm.
- Use a humidifier indoors to add moisture to the air and prevent lips from drying out.
In the winter, your skin needs a little extra love and attention. Avoiding these common skincare mistakes can help you maintain a healthy, glowing complexion even in the harshest weather conditions. Remember to hydrate from the inside out by drinking plenty of water, and consider adjusting your skincare routine to include richer moisturizers and protective measures. By making these simple adjustments, you can keep your skin happy, healthy, and radiant all winter long.