While we’re happily enjoying the belated holiday chill (we’re told it will last till the end of February, fingers crossed), it may be wreaking havoc on our skin. Have your cheeks been feeling tighter, have your lips been chapping, are your legs turning rashy and scaly, or have you noticed little lines around your eyes and across your forehead lately? Before you freak out, perhaps your skin just needs some tender loving hydration.
Here are some tips on how to hydrate your skin:
Prepare your moisturizer arsenal
Depending on your skin type, arm yourself appropriately. For extremely dry skin, invest in a complete hydrating line—moisturizing cleanser, softening toner, day cream, night cream, sunscreen, and hydrating body oil/cream.
Oily-skinned gals, you’re not off the hook—your skin could use some moisturizing, too. In fact, your skin may actually be parched with the shift in weather, and it compensates by sending your oil glands into overdrive to replenish moisture. Maintain balance by keeping skin hydrated with a light moisturizer.
Dress your skin for the season
Like fashion, your skin needs to change wardrobe, too. Cooler temperatures call for richer, more heavy-duty formulations. From the months of November to early March, dry skin sufferers may have to double up their (moisturizer) layers, while oily skin types who may normally only moisturize at night may also need to moisturize during the day.
What’s the diff between an emulsion, lotion, and cream? In general, emulsions and lotions are lighter formulations of the same product and suitable for oily skin types (emulsion being the most lightweight), while creams are best for dry skin. Meanwhile, an “essence” is more of an enhanced treatment product that has a special benefit, like skin-brightening or erasing wrinkles. Yes we know, it can get confusing, so it’s best to read the product information so you can purchase the formulation that suits your skin best (better yet, ask your derma!).
Nourish from within
H20 is nature’s most potent moisturizer, so guzzle eight to ten glasses of water a day to hydrate your body and skin, lubricate your joints, boost circulation, and rid your body of waste and toxins, which can dull your skin. When you indulge in diuretics like coffee and tea, replenish body fluids by ingesting even more water.
Feed your skin by loading up on green, leafy veggies, cell-plumping foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, olive oil, walnuts, avocado), and fruits, especially those rich in antioxidants and wrinkle-fighting Vitamin C, like oranges and strawberries.
Ever notice how your skin always looks better on vacation? You may think you suffer from dry skin, only to discover the Siberia-level office air-conditioning was the culprit all along. The cold, recycled air can severely sap your skin of moisture, drawing your skin tight across your face and deepening the creases.
If you can’t control your surroundings (like a centrally air-conditioned office), make sure to apply moisturizer, step out of the office during lunch and coffee break, and use the electric fan instead at home—but make sure it doesn’t point directly at you.
On airplanes, be sure to hydrate often (yes, it’s a hassle to go to the toilet, but your skin will thank you), avoid drinking alcohol, apply moisturizer, and bring an extra potent lip balm or petroleum jelly to prevent cracked lips. Also, avoid extreme temperatures, and always wear sunscreen.
Ease up on the cosmetics
Let your skin breathe by cutting down on the number of beauty products you apply every morning, and go bare-faced on weekends and whenever possible. Tip: To lessen the number of products you pile onto your skin (Concealer! Moisturizer! Sunscreen! Foundation! Face Powder!), try double-duty products like a moisturizer with sunscreen or all-in-one moisturizing BB cream.
Bathing too much?
Resist the urge to wash your face all the time—limit your cleansing routine to the morning and evening so as not to dry out your skin (or splash with water without soap throughout the day if you start feeling greasy). Cleansers, soap, and shampoos that contain detergents may strip skin of natural oils, so try to choose mild, moisturizing products to prevent dryness (tip: go for a moisturizing soap or body wash instead of regular bath soap, and choose unscented products for extremely dry, sensitive skin). After showering, gently pat (never scrub!) skin dry and apply moisturizer or hydrating oil while skin is still damp to seal in moisture.
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