Though the winter season comes with many perks — cheery holiday traditions and a plethora of sweets come to mind — it also comes with its fair share of drawbacks. Especially for those who live in colder climates, the harsh conditions of winter weather can truly wreak havoc on the skin.
More specifically, the winter season can truly test your skin’s moisture barrier, or that layer of skin filled with ceramides, fatty acids, and lipids that keep your skin soft and hydrated (per Byrdie). Essentially, it is this barrier that acts as a shield against the harsh conditions that could compromise the moisture retained within the skin.
In the winter, colder temperatures and indoor heaters break down this protective layer, creating cracks in the skin, along with red patches and flakes (via Byrdie). When healthy and hydrated, this barrier, consisting of the outermost layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum, appears smooth, dewy, and problem-free. Thus, if you find that your skin is red, flaky, or itchy, it is likely that your moisture barrier has been compromised (via Allure). Apart from slathering on moisturizer, there are several ways to repair that essential barrier of your skin.
Revamp your skin care routine to improve your skin's moisture barrier
When it comes to your facial skin care routine, less is more during the winter. To ensure that your skin remains smooth and flawless all winter long, avoid harsh cleansers that contain sulfates, which only dry out the skin. Instead, reach for cleansers full of peptides and ceramides that reinforce the skin’s moisture barrier. Adding jojoba oil to your skincare routine can also work to lock in some additional moisture (per Byrdie).
As far as the rest of your body is concerned, curbing your time spent in the shower and switching out drying soaps for creamy, non-foaming cleansers that contain lipids, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin can make all the difference. Then, after hopping out of the shower, be sure to slather on some fragrance-free lotion and hydrating mask from head to toe (per Birchbox).
Investing in a humidifier and an overall healthy lifestyle can also work wonders for your skin. The humidifier will keep your heater from zapping the moisture from your skin, while sipping plenty of fluids throughout the day can be the simplest way to achieve a dewy look (via Allure).
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