- Harsh Winds
- Brutally cold temps
Winter has landed and it’s a cold one for sure. Not only do chilly winds give us some serious seasonal depression; they also burn and dry out our faces, leaving our skin in need of some serious R&R. Whether you like hitting the slopes or you’re more of a Netflix-and-chill kind of guy, no man on earth loves the red cheeks, chapped lips, and dry, cracked skin the colder climates bring.
What happens to men’s skin in the winter
Between meetings you’re outside in the cold, with wind lashing against your face. Then very suddenly, you’re in the extreme warmth of your office or home, with internal heating turned up.
Much like a glass smashing when run beneath hot and cold water, the skin reacts strongly to these sudden changes in temperature, with fast evaporation of hydration from the skin’s surface. What’s more is that because we try to warm ourselves, we consume more hot drinks, such as coffee, replacing the hydrating qualities of water.
Where To Begin
Winter skin care isn’t just restricted to overdosing on the moisturizer. There are tons of products on the market designed to help your skin deal with the chill, or bring your skin back from the point of dehydration.
If moisturizing your skin is already a part of your daily skin care regimen, kudos! But with winter here, it might be time to kick it up a notch — not just any moisturizer is going to cut it against the winter winds. Look for a moisturizer that helps to repair and maintain your skin barrier.
A layer of sebaceous (or oily) lipids covers your skin. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, these sebaceous lipids are triglycerides, wax esters, and squalene, while epidermal or non-sebaceous skin lipids are a mixture of ceramides, free fatty acids, and cholesterol.
These lipids are primarily hydrophobic, which means they repel water or if used in a moisturizer, can help keep it from escaping. So be on the lookout for products containing these emollient ingredients to strengthen your skin’s natural barrier, helping hold on to essential moisture.
Just because moisturizing is your #1 priority come winter doesn’t mean you should skip out on cleansing your face. With the cold winds come dry skin, and with that comes dead skin cells.
Dead skin cells build up and clog your pores, provoke blemishes, and can just leave skin looking dull. Look for gentle cleansers with chemical exfoliates such as salicylic acid to exfoliate without scrubbing at already stressed skin.
Serums & Oils
When the wind really starts blowing, moisturizers may need an extra boost. Break out the heavy-duty skin care protection with a serum or an oil. These penetrate deeper below the skin to help retain moisture.
Start your skin care routine by using serums with hygroscopic vegetable glycerine, to attract water, and hyaluronic acid to keep it in. “Hyaluronic acid is extremely hydrophilic and biochemically retains water,” as cited in this study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Finish off by using oils such as jojoba and argan for their ability to mimic your skin’s own natural oil and their very low comedogenic rating, which means they shouldn’t clog your pores.
A good face mask can bring your skin back to its former glory after an extra-blistering day in just minutes. Look for one that clears pores while hydrating and soothing.
For Your Face
It’s the basics, but you should be washing your mug twice a day, 60 seconds at a time. Aside from being a sure-fire way to shock your body into wakefulness in the morning, the second round of washing before bed helps clear the skin of oil, pollutants and any traces of product that might otherwise transfer onto your pillow and then back onto your face each night.
“Men especially produce a lot of oil, or sebum, on account of their testosterone levels,” says Eckel. If left to well up, excess oil clogs pores, causing them to appear larger and leading to shininess and spots.
Of course, using the wrong product is just as bad as using no product at all, especially in winter when oily skin types get oilier and dry skin gets drier. So take time to find out your complexion type and buy accordingly.
For Your Hands
Hands have the fewest and smallest oil glands in the body, so they tend to get drier faster than any other part of the body. Especially after a few washes in scalding hot water. You want a hand cream that’s hydrating but not overly greasy and packed with potent ingredients that will fight the effects of red, raw, chapped hands.
PRO APPLICATION: To get the most hydration from you hand cream, apply a nickel-sized amount to the back of your hands first. Then work the cream into your fingers, wrapping each one into the fist of the opposite hand. Finish by rubbing your palms together.
For Your Body
Moisturizers work by trapping existing moisture within your skin. This is why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a moisturizer within a few minutes after showering. Dr. Day also advises patients to slather on some more before bed to ensure skin gets a solid dose of uninterrupted hydration while you sleep.
SHOWER SMARTER: Aim for shorter, lukewarm (not hot) showers until the weather warms up. And while you’re in there, use a wash cloth to gently scrub your skin all over. This helps with itchiness and stimulates circulation, which boosts your body’s natural oils.
For Your Feet
When feet get dry and cracked it can be, at best, annoying and at worst, very painful. Opt for more concentrated creams that can penetrate the thicker skin on the soles of your feet. You want ingredients like allantoin, Vitamin E and aloe that are proven to stimulate healthy tissue formation and speed up healing.
TREAT ANY CRACKS: Before a painful crack in your skin gets worse, rinse it clean and then apply an antibiotic cream. Since it’s just a small break in your skin, you don’t need to bandage it, but keep an eye out for signs of infection like redness, worsening pain, warmth or swelling.
There are Certain Misconceptions Regarding Winter Skincare Therefor Here are Some Tips to Bust Them All Up.
- Wrap Up Against the Cold : Colder, drier air during the winter months means the water in your skin evaporates faster. Scientists have estimated that your skin loses more than 25% of its ability to hold moisture in winter, making it feel drier and tighter. You can reduce this by shielding your skin with protective clothing such as gloves and scarves while outdoors.
- Use a Humidifier : Spending more time indoors with the heating on also dries out your skin. Running a humidifier in the most commonly used living areas in your home can help replenish moisture in the air that has been sucked out by the dry indoor heat. Setting a humidifier to around 60% is thought to be sufficient to help replenish the skin’s oily surface layers.
- Avoid Overly Hot Showers : Piping hot showers may be tempting, but the higher temperatures dry out skin by stripping away its surface oils: keeping the water lukewarm is actually much healthier. Try to limit showers to no more than 10 minutes and avoid using bath sponges or scrubbing brushes that can damage and irritate the skin. When towelling dry, pat the skin rather than rubbing vigorously.
- Swap Your Soap : One of the most common causes of dry skin is harsh soaps, particularly those that promise lots of exfoliation. Soap is an emulsifier, meaning it strips away the moisture within your skin. Definitely avoid deodorant or perfumed soaps or soaps that contain alcohol – instead, try soap-free cleansing products such as Cetaphil or Aquanil, which contain added moisturiser.
- Avoid Woolen Clothing : Scratchy fibres such as wool can aggravate dry, sensitive skin, causing it to become itchy. If you are prone to dry skin, you may be better off sticking to softer, smoother fabrics that allow your skin to breathe, such as cotton.
- Stay Hydrated : We tend not to be as thirsty during the winter, compared with the hot summer months, but your body actually loses water through the skin all year round, especially when you spend most of the day in a warm indoor environment. This makes it easy to become dehydrated without realising, which can contribute to dry skin. Drink regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid caffeinated drinks, which will dehydrate you even more.
- Use a Chemical Exfoliant Instead of a Scrub : You need to step up your exfoliation game in the winter, because your skin is much more prone to blemishes and breakouts if you don’t buff away the dead cells. However, if your skin is routinely getting chapped and wind-burnt, you also shouldn’t exfoliate any irritated patches. So you’re faced with a conundrum: How do you routinely get rid of the dead, burdensome cells? Well, first comes the balm, to prevent and rapidly heal any damage. Then comes the exfoliation, though you alsowant to avoid scrubs in winter, to prevent further strain on the skin in such finicky times. Switch over to a chemical exfoliant—not just seasonally but permanently—since they are more effective on a granular level and are less irritating than the physically abrasive stuff. They’ll dissolve dead skin and work away on dark blemishes and fine lines, thus helping surface the healthier, brighter, smoother skin you ought to showcase. Just don’t overuse ’em in winter. That’s a sure way to dry out your skin.