Fall/Winter Skincare Tips
The fall and winter months make it challenging to maintain healthy skin. What works in the warm, humid months of summer may leave your skin dull and chapped during cold, dry months. Here are my tips for healthy, glowing skin in the cold months.
1 - Check your Cleanser and Toner. Make sure you use products that nourish and hydrate while it cleans. I recommend a glycerin based cleanser and an Aloe Vera infused toner.
2 - Remember to still use SPF. Summer is coming to an end but the need for sun protection is not. Even though the sun is less intense during the fall and winter, the sun's rays are reflected off the shiny surface of snow and ice and can make it almost as intense as the summer sun. You can find moisturizers or makeup with added SPF.
3 - Vitamins A, B and C. Vitamin A keeps skin strong and helps aid cellular repair. Vitamin B is an important metabolism enhancer as well as a hydration booster and Vitamin C rebuilds collagen at your skin's base. All three can be taken orally or topically. A great combination for anti-aging and sun-damaged skin is using a Vitamin C (serum form) and Retinol cream (Vitamin A derivative) together as part of your nightly routine.
4 - Skip a bath....or two. I know this may be hard for some but unless you are excessively sweating, a daily shower is not needed. Shower in lukewarm water to avoid from cracking and peeling.
5 - Invest in a humidifier. Winter can be especially hard on skin that tends to be dry. Heaters and furnaces will dry the air they heat and cause skin to dry out even more. Using a humidifier will help to pump moisture into the air.
6 - Moisturize. The cold outdoors coupled with overheated homes, offices and cars both contribute to drying out the skin. Using a moisturizer appropriate for your skin type both morning and night is the absolute best way to treat dryness. Don't forget your feet in the cold weather. Slough away dry, flaky skin with a pumice stone during your shower and cover feet with a rich emollient to retain moisture. Winter is a great time to let your nails breathe by not using polish on your feet. At your next pedicure, ask for a paraffin dip!
7 - Not all lips balms are created equal. Some lip balms contain ingredients that can cause dryness. Mineral oil (petroleum jelly), certain flavorings and perfumes can also dry out lips. Find a natural, oil-based chap stick. And SPF in lip balm is a MUST! To get rid of chapped lips, try using a soft toothbrush and gently exfoliate.
8 - Avoid harsh ingredients. Mineral oil is an extremely common ingredient in skin care products. Unfortunately the use of this oil in so many products has more to do with cost than it's ability to maintain healthy skin. Mineral oil provides no nutrients whatsoever. It actually seals off your skin preventing it from breathing. In addition, it also strips needed moisture from cells deep inside your skin. This means that cell renewal is slowed, collagen breaks down and the connective tissue is destroyed. Make sure to check ingredients.
9 - Drink plenty of water. Keeping your skin hydrated from the inside is a must to keep skin feeling and looking its best. Drink up to 8 glasses of water or green tea. Caffeinated beverages rob skin of hydration, so limit coffee, soda and other caffeinated beverages.
10 - Make a nightly skincare routine. For many of us, fall and winter are about returning to our normal schedules. This is a great time to start a night-time routine. While your body is at rest during the night it restores itself. Make sure to include essentials such as cleanser, toner, concentrated serums, eye cream and moisturizer.
Why have a Facial?
The benefits of a spa facial are both physical and emotional. Physical because they visibly improve the appearance and texture of the skin, and can help slow the aging process, especially if done on a regular basis. Emotional because a good facial will relax and calm the individual receiving the treatment and will help to relieve stress and anxiety.
Each stage of the spa facial brings its own key benefits:
Deep Cleansing and Exfoliating- rids the skin of impurities, excess oil and make-up to prevent clogged and blocked pores, removes dead skin cells to reveal a new layer of skin.
Steam and Hot Towels- moist heat helps loosen and encourage skin to sweat out any impurities that may be caught in pores. Also, it feels fabulous!
Extractions- will unblock pores which remove blackheads, comedomes, blemishes and improving the aesthetic appearance of the skin.
Facial Massage- increases delivery of fresh blood to the area and brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells which help cell repair and renewal. Facial massage also stimulates the facial muscles and lubricates the skin. You may also notice that your sinuses feel clearer.
Masks- are highly specific and are formulated to treat different skincare needs. Hydrating face masks deeply nourish and smooth the skin bringing hydration and suppleness. Deep cleansing face masks will draw out impurities, absorb excess oil and have antibacterial properties to keep skin clear.
Moisturizers- work best in softening the skin and reducing dead skin cells. Moisturizers are an excellent way to keep the skin hydrated, replenishing the natural moisture elements in the upper layers and bolstering the barrier function of the skin.
While a facial can and should be a relaxing and stress relieving experience, facials also have many benefits for your skin at any age. Skincare in your 20's and 30's is all about prevention while skincare in your 40's and beyond is about managing the aging process. The core steps of every facial are the same, Cleanse, Tone, Exfoliate, Moisturize and Protect. Choosing the type of facial you want depends on your skin's needs. Some facial treatments target acne and oily skin by unclogging pores and extracting blemishes while other treatments target dry, dull skin by promoting hydration and elasticity.
The most common question I am asked by a client after receiving a facial is "How often should I get facials?" My answer is that it varies from person to person. Ideally, one should get a facial monthly because that's how long it takes the skin to regenerate. Try to have a facial at least 4 times a year, as the season changes. You may need it more frequently if you are trying to target a specific need. Otherwise once a month is plenty. To prolong the results of your facial, I recommend being diligent with your homecare regimen. Cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and protecting. Never skip on sun protection!
The quest for perfect skin is often an uphill battle, but here are your New Year's Resolutions to help you get your clearest skin ever.
Never sleep with your makeup on. I know it's tempting, seriously I do, but sleeping with your makeup on is just a bad idea. Think about all the products you slap on your face on a daily basis and then factor in all the dirt/grime your face is exposed to when you're out and about during the day and you will likely realize just how clogged your pores can get after even one night of not washing. So do your pores a favor and wash them each and every night before you go to bed.
Always wear SPF. There is a lot more to great skin than a pimple-free surface, beauties. Youthful skin is sexy skin and it's not likely that you're going to look sexy if you are racking up the wrinkles from all that time spent in the sun without SPF. Also make sure you have a dermatologist check your body once a year, even if you're diligent about monthly self exams. They look in more nook and crannies than you ever will.
Watch what you eat. You are what you eat, and your skin sure does show it. If you're constantly on a diet of junk food, your skin's going to look, well....junky. Your skin needs essential vitamins and minerals to nourish. Oh and water, water and more water! It will thank you by staying beautifully clear and glowing!
Don't pick your face! When you've got a pesky pimple or an annoying blackhead, it's pretty tempting to pick at your face and try to be your own facialist, but don't! Picking at your skin (face or body) can make it a lot worse than it is now, and old habits are hard to kick, so stop them before they start. If you are really in need of a good pore cleansing, visit your esthetician!
Did you make a resolution to get fit and go to the gym? You go girl, you rock! Just don't let your skin take a hit just because you discovered an amazing new workout. Utilize the facilities showers right after your sweat-fest or pack salicylic acid pads and swipe your face, chest and back.
Invest in a good facial. Before I started going for regular facials, my skin was not happy. After years of struggling with on and off acne/dry skin, I decided to give facials a chance and I've never gone back! Finding my fabulous esthetician was my best investment ever. I loved her so much I went to school to become one. A good esthetician (a licensed skincare specialist) can revolutionize your look and really get to know the ins and outs of your personal needs. Regular facials can clear up skin, make it appear more youthful and give it some much needed pampering.
Speaking of the spa, how about trying a new service this year. Glow Spa offers many services beyond facials and massages. Spa body scrubs that contain sugar or sea salt are an excellent exfoliant to slough off dry, dull and flaky skin. January is a great time to get on a schedule for regular body waxing, whether it is legs, under arms or Brazilians. After consecutive waxing every 5-6 weeks, hair starts to grow back fine and more sporadic. Have you ever heard of a back facial? It's a deep cleansing/nourishing spa treatment focused solely on your back. It starts with exfoliant and extractions for your unwanted acne and finishes off with a cool moisturizing mask to soothe sore muscles...Ahhh.
Sunscreen: True or False
1. The higher the SPF, the better the protection.
FALSE. It sounds right -- a sun protection factor of 100 should be twice as protective as SPF 50. But it's only a few percentage points more effective. An SPF of 15 screens 93% of the sun's rays and an SPF of 30 screens 97%. "But the number becomes irrelevant if you aren't applying enough in the first place," says Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Danbury, Conn., and an assistant clinical professor at Yale University dermatology department. Most people don't use enough, studies show.
"For better protection apply 1 to 2 ounces (the size of a Ping-Pong ball) of sunscreen on your body 30 minutes before going outdoors [so your skin can absorb it completely] and every two hours to any exposed skin after that," Gohara says. For your face, apply a dollop the size of a silver dollar every day, no matter what the weather. Note, too, that SPF refers to protection from UVB (the burning rays) only, not UVA (the aging rays). You need to guard against both since both can lead to skin cancer.
2. It's OK to use last year's bottle of SPF.
TRUE. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of about two years, says Jordana Gilman, MD, a New York City dermatologist. If you are using sunscreen properly, however, you shouldn't have any left, since it takes about 1 to 2 ounces of sunscreen to cover the entire body. A 4-ounce bottle should last for, at most, four applications.
3. Sunscreen only needs to be applied to exposed skin.
FALSE. The average T-shirt offers an SPF of about 7, notes Gilman. Darker fabrics and tighter weaves provide more protection, but it is much safer to apply sunscreen to your entire body before you get dressed. Or better yet, wear clothing made of UV protective fabrics. These have been specially treated with colorless UV-absorbing dyes, and most offer an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, which blocks both UVA and UVB.
Don't want to invest in a whole new summer wardrobe? Spike your detergent with a wash-in SPF product you can toss in with your laundry.
4. Using makeup with SPF is just like wearing regular facial sunscreen.
FALSE. Certainly, applying makeup that contains SPF is better than skipping it altogether, but it's not as effective as wearing a facial lotion with sunscreen underneath. Generally, most makeup cracks on skin, allowing UV rays through.
"For makeup to provide adequate ultraviolet protection, it would need to be applied in a really thick layer, which most women do not do," Gilman says. So unless you plan to spackle on your foundation, smooth on a layer of lotion with sunscreen first and then apply your makeup.
5. Sunscreen can cause cancer.
FALSE. The only way sunscreen could be hazardous to your health is if it is absorbed into the body, which does not happen, says Amy Wechsler, MD, dermatologist and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Reverse Stress Aging and Reveal More Youthful, Beautiful Skin. "UV rays break down the chemical molecules in some sunscreens relatively quickly, long before they can seep into skin."
Still concerned? Use a sunscreen containing physical blocking ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which stay on the surface of the skin as a protective barrier. Don't be tempted to use babies' or children's sunscreens, which don't necessarily contain physical blocks. Also, you should check the "active ingredients" section on the label to see what the bottle contains. Even the same product can vary from year to year.
6. "Water-resistant" sunscreen doesn't need to be reapplied after swimming.
FALSE. "No sunscreen is truly waterproof," Wechsler says. The FDA agrees. Sunscreens are allowed to call themselves "water-resistant" but not "waterproof," and their labels have to say how long the water resistance lasts. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours, and every time you get in and out of the water or work up a sweat.
7. Wearing sunscreen can lead to vitamin D deficiency.
FALSE. No doubt about it: You need vitamin D (which your body can make when exposed to the sun). But that doesn't give you a no-SPF pass. "You still get enough sun to make plenty of vitamin D through the sunscreen," says Brett Coldiron, MD, a dermatologist at the University of Cincinnati.
It can be harder to make vitamin D during the winter or when you're older. But you can still get vitamin D from fortified foods or supplements. The Institute of Medicine recommends that most adults get 600 IUs of vitamin D a day. Some people may need more, so check with your health care provider.
8. Sunscreen with antioxidants provides better UVA/UVB protection.
TRUE. While they aren't active sunscreen ingredients, antioxidants are great SPF supplements. Sunscreen alone does not block all of the damaging rays from the sun -- even an SPF of 50 blocks out only 98% of UV rays. "Antioxidants are a good way to catch the UV radiation that 'sneaks' past the sunscreen," Gohara says. Sunscreens infused with antioxidants, such as skin-loving green tea extract or polyphenols from tomatoes and berries, are proven to reduce the formation of free radicals (small chemical particles that wreak havoc on skin and can cause skin cancer) in the presence of UV light
By Ayren Jackson-Cannady