Winter should come with another weather advisory—rough beauty conditions ahead. The main culprits are cold air, which holds less moisture than warm air, and low humidity and central heating, which make already dry hair and skin even drier. But cold weather also hits harder as you get older, when the production of skin’s natural moisturizers dips with age, says Doris Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.
The result: Your skin becomes rough and flaky while your hair feels dry and loses its shine. These simple cold weather beauty tricks will help your skin smooth, your hair shiny, and your makeup looking fresh well past the groundhog’s springtime start date.
1. Invest in a humidifier.
If your heating system doesn’t have a built-in humidifier, place a portable unit in your bedroom to add extra moisture into the air and prevent dry skin and eyes in the winter. Set the unit for 30 to 50% humidity during the winter months, advises the Consumer Product Safety Commission. (Humidity levels above 60% may allow moisture to build up and condense on surfaces where bacteria can settle and flourish.) Change water in your humidifier daily and clean out the unit every week to destroy bacteria that can grow in stagnant water. Breathing in dirty mist can cause respiratory problems that are especially dangerous to allergy or asthma sufferers.
They say change is constant and if you were under the impression that your beauty regimen is an exception to the rule, you’re wrong. As the temperatures drop, there are some habits that you may need to alter and others that you may normally alter when you actually shouldn’t. Here’s how to continue looking your best during the coolest months of the year.
2. Take special care in the shower.
Cold weather strips the skin of moisture and it causes people to seek increasing amounts of warmth. Instead of heating up your shower, heat up your bathroom. Hot water promotes dryness so try to keep the water temperature lukewarm to warm and avoid making a habit of long showers and baths.
Drier skin often comes with more ashiness. For many people, the instinctive response is more exfoliation and rightfully so. But, you need to concentrate on the method. People of color should avoid excessive abrasive exfoliation because the friction can cause discoloration. Though the concern is not as great for those with lighter skin, dermatologists recommend that the bulk of exfoliating be done by way of products that contain glycolic and lactic acids.
3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
You will need to take extra measures to replenish moisture. To do so, you should switch to a heavy body moisturizer if you aren’t currently using one. You also want to make sure that it has a humectant, which is an ingredient that attracts moisture. Examples include urea, hyaluronic acid and glycerol.
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