This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
Snow is falling and warm summer days are in the rearview mirror. As temperature and humidity change throughout the winter, your skin is also subject to a big change. Whether you have dry, oily or rosacea-prone skin, adjusting your skincare ingredients to meet the demands of colder weather will help keep your skin feeling healthy and looking great.
Every brand out there will claim to protect your skin, but it’s less about the brands you use and more about ingredients — and these are the six you should be using for winter.
The Canadian Dermatology Association says that your chances of getting a double dose of the sun’s harmful radiation increases during winter, since 80 per cent of the sun’s rays are reflected back by snow. You’re also at a higher risk if you live in high elevations, as the air is thinner and blocks fewer of the sun’s rays.
Daily sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is recommended throughout the year. Though debates rage over whether mineral sunscreen is better than chemical sunscreen, zinc oxide has always been a reliable and safe choice for protection from UVA and UVB rays. This winter, look for a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide at the top of its ingredients list.
Vitamin C is one of the most popular skincare ingredients, especially in facial serums. This antioxidant hydrates skin and reduces the signs of aging over time.
However, it’s especially beneficial during winter, when air pollution is worsened by cold, dense air trapping harmful particles. Vitamin C supplementation helps protect you in high-pollution areas, and it’s an active ingredient in a wide variety of face serums at reasonable prices.
Though vitamin C is an excellent skin ingredient, it can irritate some skin types. If you are unsure whether or not you’re sensitive to vitamin C in skincare, testing it on a small patch of skin before applying it to your face is recommended.
Hyaluronic acid is an excellent humectant and emollient, meaning it retains moisture. It’s so good that it’s known to bind over a thousand times its weight in water, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
With harsh winter weather drying your skin, it’s vital to hold onto as much moisture as possible. Hyaluronic acid — often listed as “sodium hyaluronate” — can be found in facial moisturizers and serums. Look at the ingredients list of your favourite skincare products to see if they’re providing you with this essential winter skin ingredient.
Moisturizing tip: Be sure to apply moisturizer right after you shower to retain as much moisture as possible throughout the day.
Shea butter is a well-known nut fat from trees native to West Africa, and its positive effects on dry skin and anti-aging are well documented. So, what makes shea butter particularly great during the winter? In addition to its excellent ability to soothe dry skin and retain moisture, shea butter also contains linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to ease itchiness caused by dry winter skin. Applying a moisturizer rich in shea butter during the winter months can help soothe dry, irritated skin while retaining moisture and helping your skin heal.
Most products that contain shea butter will advertise it right on the front label, but just in case, here are a few options to consider.
Ceramides naturally occur in your skin and make up nearly half of the lipids between the cells in your epidermis, making them a vital part of skin barrier function. A healthy skin barrier protects your skin against environmental damage during winter and helps prevent moisture loss. A decline in ceramide levels can lead to dry, sensitive skin that is vulnerable to bacteria and other harmful irritants.
Moisturizers that supplement your skin with ceramides help boost your skin’s natural defences and keep your winter skin moisturized. Many moisturizers contain ceramides, but one that the Canadian Dermatology Association approves is preferred.
When you look at the ingredients in your skincare products, the first one listed is most likely water. Water is essential in moisturizers because it gives all those emollients and humectants something to hold in, but there’s another way to incorporate water into your winter skincare routine.
A humidifier is a simple and effective way to keep your skin from drying out during winter. Harvard Health Publishing found that setting a humidifier at around 60 per cent in your home effectively replenishes the top layer of your skin with moisture.
Humidifiers can be found at your local store and online, but here are a few great suggestions to nourish your skin when the cold winter wind attempts to dry you out.