Let’s face it, winter can be rough. Especially on our skin as cold, dry air surrounds us when we step outside for fresh air and vitamin D, and even more so at home (where we spend most of our time these days). While it may seem like the only cure for our dry, itchy skin is to wait out the winter for warmer days, there are things you can do now to maintain your skins natural moisture and bring back that happy, luminous complexion!

Here are 7 tips for healthy winter skin:

1. Moisturize!

This may seem obvious, but the dry air tends to suck the moisture straight from our skin, robbing it of its natural moisture faster than the howling winds that are partly to blame. Moisturizing is key – in general, moisturizers act as a barrier, holding moisture in and hydrating the skin’s layers. Apply an oil-based lotion immediately after washing to lock in as much moisture as possible while maintaining our bodies hydrating oils.

Don’t forget your hands and feet – our hands especially are frequently exposed to the cold and harsh conditions and will dry out faster than the rest of our body. And remember, if you’re going outside, wear gloves!

exfoliating face mask

2. Invest in a Humidifier

The air in our homes is especially dry in the winter as our heating systems are constantly pumping out dry air and sucking what little moisture remains. Frequently getting shocked when you pet the cat or stand up from the couch? Thanks a lot, dry air! Using a humidifier will replenish the moisture in the air to keep your skin hydrated and your shocks minimal.

Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend most of your time – office, bedroom, living room. Most humidifiers are small and compact, making them easy to move around as necessary and can be found at most major retailers and pharmacies. Added bonus – humidifiers will also make your houseplants extremely happy which is a win in our books!

3. Exfoliate … Gently!

We get it, exfoliating your dry, chapped skin may seem counterproductive – but trust us on this one. Gently exfoliating during the winter will rid your skin of dry, dead skin cells, allowing your body to regenerate new ones. Look for lotions containing things like Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) which gently exfoliates or go for natural ingredients you likely already have at home like salt, oats or even coffee grounds. Here are some easy to make exfoliants you can try yourself.

4. Choose the Right Cleanser

Many drugstore cleansers contain harsh chemicals, like alcohol and fragrances that strip away the skins natural oils leading to even dryer, irritated skin. Instead, opt for mild, fragrance-free, moisturizing cleansers to alleviate irritation.  If you suffer from acne or oily skin and are hesitant to use a product with too much moisture, opt for cleansers that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin which will help to repair the moisture barrier of your skin. Search for the right cleanser at select salon and spa partners across Canada.

5. Drink More Water!

Staying hydrated is crucial all year round, but even more so throughout the winter. Be sure to always have a water bottle within reach so you’ll be reminded to sip during the day – if necessary, set yourself reminders on your phone or computer. The general rule of thumb is to drink 8 ounces (or glasses) of water a day – but we recommend drinking even more than that in the winter! If water bores you and you need a bit more excitement in your hydration game, go for warm teas containing natural ingredients like ginger and lemon.

Healthy Skin

6. Focus on Nutrition

In addition to drinking more water, be mindful of the foods you’re consuming throughout the day. Reach for more fruits and veggies as these contain water and are an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants to keep your skin and body healthy. It’s also important to increase your intake of foods containing omega-3 or omega-6 like fish, nuts and flaxseed oil as these can aid in relieving dry skin and providing necessary nutrients.

7. Wear Sunscreen!

If we can offer you only one piece of advice, sunscreen would be it! While some days are dark and dreary, you can still be affected by the suns harmful UV rays, especially as the ozone layer, which acts as the earth’s sunshield, is thinnest during the winter months. And on those beautiful sunny days we are so lucky to get, the sun is even stronger. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the snow reflects the sun’s rays up to 80 per cent, increasing your risk of exposure.

So, whether you’re out skiing, walking the dog, or simply heading from the car to the grocery store, apply a broad-spectrum, moisturizing sunscreen (minimum 15 SPF) to all exposed areas of the body!

Skiing in winter

8. Get a Facial

There is only so much we can do for our skin at home and it’s never a bad idea to get some help from the experts. Facials will help to clean your skin, ridding it of dry, dead skin cells, provide amazing nutrients and a wealth of hydration. If you’re able to, its recommended to get a facial once a month in the winter as that’s how long it takes for a full growth cycle in skin cells. There are many different types of facials you can choose from including exfoliating, hydrating, lymphatic massage, brightening, the list goes on. Find your nearest WaySpa partner for a variety of facial treatments.

woman getting a facial