It’s that time of year again! And no, I’m not referring to the glamour of the holiday season. Although it happens to overlap with ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, it’s also the season for incredibly dry skin. Yuck. No one likes that. So here are my tips for how to beat dry skin this winter.
Having dry skin isn’t fun. Whether your skin just gets ashy or it gets covered in red splotches, it’s highly unpleasant. It’s uncomfortable and it can make you almost as self conscious as a new blemish on your face. The worst part is that once you have dry skin, it takes extra effort to get it back to its most hydrated state. And if you think it’s just going to go away on its own, you might find it gets worse. So what do you do?
Being a recent Midwest transplant, I spent my first month or two in Chicago with extremely dry skin. You know those red splotches I mentioned above? That was me. It was uncomfortable and borderline painful. It was also extremely unsightly. Thank goodness Matt was still living in California! Kidding! So here’s what I found worked.
Get ahead of it.
When the calendar turns to “Fall”, start ramping up your routine I like to think of it similar to working out. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Similarly, by the time your skin is starting to cry for help, you’re already behind. If that sounds like you right now, don’t worry. It can (and will) be fixed.
Find the right body wash.
I used to use Dove Body Wash. I’d been using it for years and told myself that nothing else would keep my legs from peeling off like a lizards. Well, I moved to Chicago and I was oh-so wrong. My legs didn’t survive. I did a little research on safe beauty products and turned over my bottle of Dove to find that it contained SLS, an ingredient that causes skin dermatitis (AKA irritation). Go figure.
Tip: read the back of your body wash, shampoo, and conditioner for these ingredients: Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). They are commonly found in shower products and often cause everything from dry skin to seemly incurable dandruff (until you stop using it). If you’re looking for really good alternatives, try this shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
Matt actually found our body wash off Amazon. Having heard me talk about why you need to read ingredients on labels, he found this option on Amazon. It’s formulated without a bunch of toxic chemicals and states that right on the label. Yes please. It also helps wash away the causes of skin irritation and even BO. He nailed it!
When you first start using this body wash, it will be a little bit of an adjustment. A little goes a long way. It doesn’t suds like normal body washes (the chemicals that cause things to ‘suds’ are often toxic as well). It also gives you that minty fresh feeling all over your body. When I first tried it, I was skeptical. I thought there was no way this would fix my skin. But after 2 weeks, my skin had adjusted to this new product and I saw major improvements.
A body scrub isn’t just for the spa.
Yes, you can be using one at home. People swear by dry brushing, a good loofah, or expensive trips to the spa. I swear by this sugar body scrub. It smells amazing while the large sugar particles exfoliate away all your dead skin.
Before our wedding, Matt got extremely sunburnt. When his burn started to peel, he joked he was getting new skin for our marriage. While not terribly amusing to me at the time (I’ve never let him forget sunscreen since), I always think of exfoliating like this: a much healthier way of “getting new skin”.
Use this body scrub once a week at the end of your shower. I usually do it before I wash out my conditioner (hair also gets damaged with the cold so I have a post coming up on that)! Gently rub over your body – especially in problem areas. The oils in the product leave you feeling silky when you come out of the shower. The lemongrass scent is also really lovely!
When it comes to lotion, less is more…
Less on the ingredient label, that is. Everyone has their favorite lotion. Whatever it is, keep in mind that less ingredients actually have more of an impact. Sure, there will be a few things on the labels you can’t pronounce but just reference this list to make sure they aren’t toxic. A lot of those difficult to pronounce chemicals and “fragrance” actually end up irritating your skin more than helping it. You might also want to up your game with a body butter right about now. Or just go for a jar of regular old coconut oil (the kind you buy at the grocery store). Both will help make your skin… well, buttery.
Oil is a must have.
Oil is the holy grail of effortless beauty. You need body, face, and hair oils in your medicine cabinet. I still haven’t found a body lotion that I swear by but I have found a body oil! You guys know how much I swear by face oil. It is the miracle product for your face. It does everything from help reduce fine lines to keep your skin hydrated and plump. Not sold? Here’s why you need to be using face oil as well as a bunch of myths I busted. Think of body oil as equally magical. In a way, if your body lotion is only average, body oil can take it to the next level. Your legs will look runway ready. And actually stay that way instead of going back to ashy an hour after running out the door. I promise.
I use 1 pump of body oil in the summer and 2-3 in winter mixed into my lotion. Same goes for the face oil (more details here)! I base it off what my skin needs though so some days might be more and some days might be less. You’ll get the hang of it. Both products last 3-6 months depending on the time of year it is. So while it’s a more expensive product, both the miracle it works on your skin and the fact that it has a deceptive amount of product make it worth it.
Let your skin breathe.
This was something that surprised me about winter. I wore boots every single day last year. All day. After being cooped up under thermal leggings and thick socks all day, I found that my lower calves were getting aggravated. They needed to breathe!
This year, I have switched it up. I now wear boots to work but switch into pumps or mules once I get to the office. But if you’ve watched my morning OOTDs, you already know that. So far, so good (this time last year my legs were already splotchy)!
I hope this post helps you keep that gorgeous summer glow going! From a girl with sensitive skin, these are the things that truly helped me survive winter. PS. if you’re looking for how to fake a summer tan, you’re in luck!