September 5, 2020
Hi, everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog. I have been using my time during this uncertain time of COVID and during quarantine to really focus on practicing and learning new techniques for styling hair and applying makeup. I am of the mindset that we can always use opportunities to learn more and grow. This has helped me really prepare for what there will be of wedding season this fall.
Speaking off fall, its right around the corner! Once the kids go back to school, it seems like it’s no time until we are putting the Christmas tree up! Time really does go by so fast!
With fall and winter upon us, I decided it would be a good time to talk about what the colder weather can do to our skin and hair. Have you noticed that, during the colder months, you skin is drier and your hair is more brittle and full of static? There are several reasons for this and many things that we can do to prevent this from happening. Do you want to know how you can still have healthy hair and glowing skin despite the cold weather? Read on!
First, we will take a look at our skin. Skin can become dry, dull, and even itchy during the winter months. Skin loses up to 25% of its ability to hold moisture during the winter months. (1) The outermost layer of the skin consists of dead skin cells embedded in a mixture of natural oils that are made by underlying sabeceous glands. These natural skin oils keep the water inside of our body and prevent it from evaporating into the air and also keeps irritating substances and germs from entering the body. Both the skin oils and the dead skin cells hold a certain amount of water that helps keep the skin soft, pliable, and hydrated. Dry skin results when there is not enough water in the top layer of the skin for it to function properly. (6) The cold, dry air in the winter months steals moisture from the skin leaving it looking dry and lifeless. Not only that, but many comforts we naturally seek in cold weather such as long baths, hot showers, and even the heat sources in our home, all contribute to the further drying of the skin. (1)
The following are a few things that you can do to prevent the drying of your skin and keep it healthy during the winter months:
1. Exfoliate: Exfoliation is the first crucial step to quenching dry, thirsty skin as dry skin build up on the surface of the skin can prevent moisturizers from penetrating the skin. By exfoliating away the dead skin on the surface, moisturizer is able to absolve into the skin better. (1) “If your skin is really dry, then you certainly don’t exfoliate”, explains Dr. Same Jaber at Washington Square Dermatology in New York. “You are going to exfoliate less than you would normally, because your skin barrier is going to be a little bit more compromised. This is due to the dryness and the cold air”. It is recommended to exfoliate only once a week to help speed up the skin’s regeneration and allow better penetration of the moisturizer. (2) My favorite exfoliator is the Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash by Philosophy. It combines two steps into one-cleansing and exfoliating which cuts down time on your skin care routine. It is priced affordably at only $29 for an 8oz bottle. If you only use it once a week like Dr. Jaber suggests, it will last you quite a long time. I suggest using this product in the shower because it is easier to rinse off.
2. Keep moisture in the air: Invest in a good humidifier to run during the winter months. This helps combat the dry air produced by running the heater in your house by keeping moisture in the air. (2)
3. Use gentler products: Dr. Jaber also suggests using a gentler cleanser for your face such as Cetaphil. This product was also recommended by my dermatologist. For the body, Dr. Jaber recommends using a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil, Dove, or Vanicream instead of the frangranced body washes which she says are ok during the summer months. (2)
4. Avoid hot showers and baths: “In the winter months, taking hot showers and not moisturizing can create cracks in the surface of the skin. Hot water evaporates fast, and if the skin is not moisturized, the cracks in the skin let the skin nerves get exposed to air, resulting in what feels like lots of paper cuts and eczema, or “winter’s itch”,” explains Dr. Purvisha Patel. Dr. Melda Isaac suggests keeping your bathroom door closed, if possible, and moisturizing immediately following. She recommends using products with ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid to keep the barrier of your skin from losing a lot of water. (2)
5. Moisturize: this seems obvious but it must be discussed. Application of a nice, thick moisturizer as soon as you get out of the bath or shower and then one more application during the day is recommended to keep skin fully hydrated during the winter months. Layering an oil on your face and body before moisturizing can help trap in the hydration. Dr. Farber recommends using a body oil such as coconut oil because “that can really hydrate your skin and protect your skin barrier before getting into a warm bath.” She also recommends, instead of coconut oil, to use essential oils such as argan oil, tea tree oil, rose oil, or rose hip oil for those who are more acne prone.
Dr. Jaber says that one common mistake people make in choosing a moisturizer is choosing a lotion instead of a cream. “Lotions are a common moisturizer, and they come in pumps. The issue with lotions is that they are not as moisturizing as creams. When your skin is dry in winter, it is important to use creams, which come in jars and ointments. You also want to avoid fragrances, as these can irritate the skin.” When choosing a cream for your face, Dr. Jaber also suggests choosing one that contains ceramides that are noncomedogenic and fragrance free so it won’t break your face out. (2) Another ingredient to look for is a vitamin B derivative called niacinamide. Niacinaminde supports the skin barrier, increases its resiliency, and improves skin texture by making pores look smaller. It also helps balance oil production. (3)
My favorite moisturizer for my face is Murad’s Nutrient Charged Water Gel. I also use Confidence in a Neck Cream by It Cosmetics for my neck and chest area.
6. Don’t go out in the cold weather with damp skin: This will cause the skin to chap more easily. (2)
7. Seek a specialist: If you go to your local drug store or beauty counter, it may be hard to find a salesperson that can help you choose products that will help to target your specific skin issues. A dermatologist can analyze your skin type, trouble shoot your current skin regimen, and offer advice on skin care products that you should be using. (4) If skin becomes red, inflamed, irritated, or unbearably itchy, it may be also time to see a specialist if it isn’t resolved with thicker, richer emollients. Inflammatory conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, and an inherited type of dry skin called ichthosis usually require a prescription to treat. Fungal infections can also look like dry skin. If you suspect you have any of these conditions, you should seek medical attention. (9)
8. Use sunscreen: Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, snow, and fog. Even on cloudy or overcast days, choose to use a sunscreen that has a SPF factor of at least 15 with UVA and UVB protection. (5)
9. Use a lip balm: Don’t forget about your lips! Use a lip balm with a sunscreen with a SPF 15
Here is a short list of foods that can help keep your skin hydrated and moisturized during the winter months:
a. spinach-rich in vitamin A and C which can help restore skin cells. It is also a great source of iron. Iron deficiency can cause your skin to look pale, weak, and unhealthy.
b. carrots- high in vitamin A. Not only does vitamin A help restore skin cells but it also helps prevent signs of aging such as wrinkles, pigmentations, and uneven skin tone.
c. avocado-a good source of vitamins A, C, and E along with monosaturated fat. Avocado can help “lock in” your skin’s moisture. It also contains potassium, magnesium, and folic acid, all which are important for good skin health.
d. olive oil-rich in vitamins A and E as well as a number of other minerals so that it can help hydrate the skin and maintain the skin’s elasticity and softness.
e. Water-when it comes to treating dry skin, the first and foremost factor is water. Water rehydrates your cells, prevents aging, maintains homeostasis, and keeps all your cells active and functioning.
f. nuts-almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, ect. are all loaded with essential fatty acids which help maintain cell tiridity, improve circulation, and hydrates the cells. (8)
These are just a handful of foods that can help dry skin during the winter months.
These precautions and remedies seem pretty easy, right? Now that we have discussed dry skin and what you can do to prevent it, let’s take a look at what the effects that winter weather can have on your hair and how you can keep your hair healthy during the winter months.
During the winter, your hair starts to find it harder to retain moisture, making it brittle and prone to damage. Your winter wardrobe also can cause static and frizziness. These can all be avoided if you have the proper hair care routine in place. (10)
1. Fight the flakes: Your scalp is drier and flakier during the winter months due to a lack of moisture in the air. This is when a humidifier will not only help your skin but also your hair. Also, an easy home remedy for this is to mix a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Massage it into your scalp and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse out with shampoo and conditioner.
2. Frizz control: Static caused by wearing hoodies, scarves, and beanies can leave your hair a frizzy mess. To prevent this, use a vented hair brush that has a combination of plastic and boar bristles. Wash your hair with lukewarm water, not hot water as the hot water can strip away the natural oils that protect and nourish your hair. Apply a leave in condition to keep it smooth.
3. Blow drying: The best way to dry out your hair after a shower is to squeeze out the extra moisture with a towel and then blow dry on the cool setting. If you are using the hot air setting, make sure you are holding it at least 15 centimeters away from your hair.
4. Condition: Your hair needs all the moisture it can get during the winter so make sure you don’t skip this step. It is a good idea to use hair oils and deep conditioning packs at least once a week. (10)
5. Wear a hat: It is important to wear a hat during the winter months to shield if from the moisture robbing dry air. The elements dry your hair out making it prone to damage and breakage. Wool, cotton, and other fabrics can cause breakage as well. Make sure that your hat has a silk or satin lining to prevent damage. Fight static under your hat by using a dry oil spray on your hair.
6. Get regular hair trims: Trimming your hair every 4-8 weeks is a good way to maintain the health of your hair. A good rule of thumb is to take half and inch off of the bottom.
7. Don’t go outside with wet hair: This will cause the hair to freeze and break.
8. Avoid frequent hair washes: Over washing the hair will strip it of its natural oils that help to keep the hair moisturized and protected. (11)
9. Change your diet: Here is a list of a few foods that can help prevent dry hair and scalp:
a. Egg whites-are full of the same amino acids that make up collagen, the building block of over 90% of your hair, skin, tissues, and organs. Collagen levels begin to decline rapidly after the age of 20, so incorporating egg whites into your diet could help support your body’s natural production of collagen to restore elasticity and hydration of both the skin and hair.
b. Plant based super foods-Adding plant based super foods to your diet such as spirulina, chia sees, and aloe vera will help promote thicker, fuller hair by providing essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can also restore moisture to skin and hair.
c. Legumes-Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and split peas contain a specific strain of pre biotics that help feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. Consuming pre biotics regularly has been shown to help keep hair and skin hydrated and healthy. (12)
d. Guava-packed with vitamin C which protects your hair from breaking.
e. Sweet potatoes- they are filled with the antioxidant beta carotene. Your body turns beta carotene into vitamin A which helps protect against dry, dull hair. It also encourages the glands in your scalp to produce an oily fluid called sebum that keeps hair from drying out. You can also find beta carotene in other orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and mangos. (13)
This is a just a small list of dietary changes that you can make to ensure that your hair and skin stay healthy this winter season.
Doesn’t it feel good to now have a few tools in your tool belt to help combat dry skin and hair this winter season? Now that we are more prepared for this season, bring on the fun fall and winter activities and weddings!
1. “Winter Skin Care Tips”. www.ponds.com
2. “Six Winter Skin Care Tips from Dermatologists”. Julia Brucculieri. www.huffpost.com.
4. “10 Winter Skin Care Tips”. Susan Davis. www.webmd.com
5. “Winter Skin Care: 6 Tips for Dry, Chapped Skin”. Wendy C. Fries. www.webmd.com
6. “9 Skin Care Tips For Winter (To Avoid Dry Skin)”. Simone Sydel. www.theskincareculture.com
7. “Best Foods for Dry Skin-8 Nutritious Foods for Skin”. Lien Nguyen. www.vcool.com
8. “Diet for Dry Skin-15 Best Foods that Lock Moisture Naturally”. Charushila Biswas. www.stylecraze.com
9. “How to Prevent and Treat Dry Winter Skin”. Julia Calderone. www.consumerreports.org.
10. “6 Winter Haire Care Tips You Should Definitely Follow”. Meenal Rajapet. www.stylecraze.com
11. “10 Winter Haire Care Tips”. www.hairclub.com
12. “Top 5 Foods for a Radiant Complexion and Gorgeous Hair”. www.consumersurvey.org
13. “Top 10 Foods For Healthy Hair”. Stephanie M. Gardner. www.webmd.com