Winter is the best season to layer up on clothes, snuggle up in a blanket, forget diets, eat comfort foods, cuddle up and hug your loved ones, and indulge in long hot showers. And it is also the season of ashy elbows, dehydrated legs, stretchy back, peeling skin, itchy shins, and wrinkled hands. Okay, you got it! The season of dry skin woes. Winter brings a variety of skin troubles that only a good moisturizer may heal.
The skin is like any prized possession of ours, the more we take care of it, the better it looks and performs. Liken that to your car, your home, your expensive wardrobe, or your leather wear. While we are quite sure of how to look after the latter, our bodies, the most prized possession of all, are often taken for granted. More so the skin, our first line of defense.
While the skin is howling for help, we are inundated with choices in the market for body creams and lotions. Here’s a ready reckoner to help you choose the right moisturizer for your skin.
The three most important components in a moisturizer should be a humectant, an emollient and an occlusive.
A humectant is known to absorb moisture. They attract water from the outer layer of skin onto the inner layer. They can also attract moisture from the environment if the humidity is high. Humectants range from natural ones like honey, aloe vera gel, to lab synthesized molecules ranging from the simple glycerine to clinically proven molecules like xylitylglucoside that retain moisture levels for up to 72 hours.
Emollients are ingredients that act as fillers, filling up crevices in the damaged skin barrier and giving it a slip, or a smooth feel after application. Emollients could range from essential fatty acid molecules or hydrogenated vegetable fats that nourish or even silicones that give the slippery appearance, although they have no role in healing or nurturing the skin.
When the lost water content has been replaced and the damaged skin barrier is repaired, what more do you need? Now, all you need is a protective layer to prevent the evaporation of moisture. Occlusives come in the form of waxes, vegetable butters, silicones and petroleum. These occlusives are usually quite dense and leave a protective coat on the skin thereby preventing trans epidermal water loss. Most clean beauty brands choose naturally derived alternatives to petroleum to do this job .
A good quality body moisturizer will have additional hydrating agents in the form of quick-absorbing vegetable oils like jojoba, wheatgerm, almond oil or essential fatty acid molecules. They may sometimes even have botanical actives that repair and nourish the skin. Also, products that slow down oxidation and enhance the appearance of skin are added in some of the best lotions. While the fragrance is a personal choice, they do nothing in terms of the efficacy of the product to keep your skin healthy and plump in the winter months.
Now, since you know much about moisturisation, there are other things you need to know to maintain your skin’s elasticity and glow!
The dip in the humidity is the reason for our skin getting scratchy and annoyed around this time. It is compounded by the fact that cold water doesn’t feel appealing, so we consume less water compared to the sweaty summer months. Ensure to keep your skin hydrated by maintaining your water intake. Sip on warm water if you chose to. Also, ensure to hydrate your skin with hydrating moisturizers.
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Soaking in a hot steamy bath or tub is so enticing on a cold winter day. But these hot showers can be super drying for your skin in the long run. This applies all year round too, not just in winters. Ensure to keep the showers at tolerably warm temperatures. Experts stress on applying a moisturizer within three minutes of stepping out of your shower to lock in the moisture well.
Continue to exfoliate and cleanse your skin as usual. If the nip in the air is forcing you to avoid your regular cleanse, hydrate, moisturize routine before bed, you are treading the wrong path this winter. Continue your skincare regime. It may seem painful but is an investment that will pay you back great rewards. Your skin is prone to lose its moisture more so in winters, don’t watch that happen before your eyes.
If you think staying indoors during the long holiday season means you can skip your SPF, we’re sorry ladies! SPF has no winter holiday. Longer nights in winters along with the bright indoor lights means that you are exposed to blue light more than ever. Not to forget the blue light from your devices while you are engrossed in your year-end splurges, greetings and rekindling memories. Invest in a good blue light protection face care product to shield your skin from damaging rays that have been shown to cause pigmentation and photo ageing.
Healthy skin gets its glow from deep within. Don’t skip your healthy diets and health regimes that cleanse your body inside out and give it your healthiest sparkle. Resist that urge to cuddle up and skip your daily sweat session. Not only does it boost your energy levels and perk your mood, it is the best way to detox your body and skin. Understand that it is tempting to pick up a hot spicy fry, teamed with endless cups of hot beverage over a plate of salad or a fruit, but you know what is going to benefit you eventually, so don’t fall into the temptation.