Top Skin-Care Tips for Winter
It’s not what you might think
Dry indoor air combined with frigid outdoor temperatures and icy winds can really take a toll on your skin. So just moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, right?
“The solution is found in two words – moisture and protection,” says Liliana Dutka, president of the Canadian Aesthetics Association and founder of the Toronto-based Natural Anti-Ageing Clinic. “But knowing when to do which one is the key,” she emphasizes. “Most people moisturize during the day, which is a mistake.”
Dutka’s solution to helping your skin weather the winter is quite simple really: use a protecting cream during the day and a moisturizing cream at night.
“This is an extreme season so we need to pay more attention to our skin care,” she says.
Dutka suggests a morning routine that begins with washing your face with a natural oil-based soap, followed by a toner that will soothe the skin and restore its normal pH balance. Look for a toner that is alcohol-free, uses distilled or spring water, and contains natural ingredients like avocado, camomile, lavender, fruit enzymes or witch hazel.
After the toner, apply your protection for the day, which Dutka says should be a good base cream that holds in moisture but creates a breathable barrier. It needs to be more lipids-based (organic compounds, which are oily to the touch and help keep flaking skin soft) than it is water-based. Choosing a cream that contains a humectant (which attracts and preserves moisture) with an emollient (which softens and soothes the skin) is also important.
“If you use a water-based moisturizer during the day, when you go outside in sub-zero temperatures, it will freeze and crystallize and, when you come inside, it will simply evaporate and dry out your skin even more,” she explains.
Before going to bed, she advocates using an oil-based soap (that won’t strip your skin’s natural oils) and then applying a moisturizing cream that contains hyaluronic acid. It’s a natural compound found in the skin that’s reported to hold moisture, help repair tissue, aid in holding together skin structure and create a protective barrier. It also decreases with age, which is why it’s added to so many serums and creams.
Dutka says you don’t have to be a chemist to find the right products, but understanding the ingredients and simply being able to read the tiny type can be challenging for the average consumer. And don’t assume the more you pay the better, the product will be. That’s why she recommends consulting someone who knows their stuff.
“I always advise people to buy from a knowledgeable person at a spa or from a clinic that has professional people who can offer advice,” says Dutka. “I understand there is a certain prestige that goes with buying expensive French or Italian creams, but these are not necessarily enough for us here with our harsh Canadian climate. Their climates are very different. Even the difference between Toronto and Edmonton requires us to adjust our skin regimens.”
Dutka is an advocate for all things natural in skin-care products and recommends staying away from anything containing parabens (which are widely used preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products), as well as mineral oils and petroleum products. “These are for greasing your car joints, not your skin,” she says.
As for men’s skin-care regime, Liliana suggests that after shaving, they use a cream that contains fruit enzymes (acids like lemon, apple and pineapple) which, she says, will both moisturize and disinfect the skin and help reduce razor rash.
“And when the warmer temperatures arrive your cream regime should change again,” says Dutka.