As we move through autumn and coming up on winter, it can feel cold, dark, and lonely, or it can be an invitation to align with the season and appreciate the beauty of it. Find the warmth and experience this time of year with ease by going within and doing work to soothe your mind and body in nurturing ways with a hobby or a project or connecting with loved ones. Permitting yourself to move slower is essential to re-emerge in the spring, rested and rejuvenated. During this time of year, our skin can feel dry. This is because the humidity in the air outdoors drops with the temperature. We get a second punch as artificial heat in the house also creates a more dry climate. Below you will find my top tips to love on your skin and to enjoy the season!
1. Add Humidity to Your Environment.
Consider Using A Humidifier
One of the best ways to support healthy skin hydration is with a humidifier. Our skin has a natural layer of oil, lipids, and sweat on the surface that lubricates acts as a protective barrier and holds moisture. This layer needs extra love during the colder months when the air outside is dry. We have indoor heating, which can reduce humidity in the air as skin-supporting air in your home becomes too dry. As a result, the skin has a more challenging time holding in moisture.
A humidifier adds water moisture to the air. This added moisture supports the skin's barrier layer and improves sleep, reduces dry eyes, lubricates the nasal passages, and much more. Be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent bacteria and other microbes!
Adding Indoor Plants to Your Home
Introducing plants to your home is a beautiful and uplifting way to increase indoor humidity. After plants utilize water for photosynthesis to make the food they need, they release most of this back into the air. So adding an abundance of house plants is a fantastic way to help boost skin's moisture!
2. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Our body tends to crave more sleep this time of year. Unfortunately, for some, the change in circadian rhythms as the seasons change can increase insomnia. Practicing good sleep hygiene is crucial to healthy glowing skin. Skin can repair and regenerate the best as we are sleeping. Collagen production increases during the evening hours, and damage repair is activated. If we are not sleeping well, our body uses this regenerating energy elsewhere, and our skin suffers.
Ways to improve your sleep hygiene include:
- Getting bright light from the sun early in the morning
- Keeping your bedroom dark at night
- Avoiding blue light in the hours before bed
- Having a consistent sleep and wake schedule
- Avoiding caffeine after lunch
- Move your body during the day
- Drinking enough water (but not right before bed)
3. Seal in Moisture by Adding Oils
Oils are sacred and have been used for centuries to protect and lubricate the skin. Anointing oils in traditional cultures have been considered the dwelling place of the Gods. We have a long history with them because we know that coating our hide feels good, even on the most primal level! This coating feels especially good as the seasons change. Applying oil helps to hold in moisture. Different skin types benefit from different oil types, and some oils that help one skin type can be problematic for other skin types. As a rule of thumb, oily skin types naturally produce a fatty acid called oleic acid. However, they can be deficient in a fatty acid called linoleic acid.
In contrast, the opposite is true for dry skin types that are generally deficient in oleic acid. You can look up the oils' fatty acid profile in your skincare to see if an oil is right for you. It is essential to look at the overall formulation. For example, a moisturizer with avocado oil high in oleic acid may also pair with hemp seed oil high in linoleic acid and become a well-balanced formulation. This type of blend may not affect someone with oily skin like avocado oil alone would. Still, you know that overall, your oily acne-prone skin will respond better to linoleic acid. Adding appropriate oils to your moisturizer, or as a final step to seal or lock in moisture, can make all the difference during the winter.
My favorite oil for normal, dry, or mature skin is the Flora Elixer Serum
My favorite oil for oily or acne-prone skin is the Flawless Clear Condition Facial Oil
To get an outstanding seal, consider a solid oil or balm like the Night Regenerative Balm - which is excellent for day or night, especially this time of year!
Don't forget to moisturize the rest of your body! Just because you're wearing jeans and boots, it doesn't mean your legs should be scaley! I love daily body brushing, sugar scrubs (sparingly), and applying a good body oil right after the shower.
4. Protect the Delicate Eyes and Lips
The skin around the eyes and the lips is thinner and more vulnerable this time of year as the air's humidity drops. So protect them with nourishing products like Renew Eye Complex, Sun & Moon Eye Synergy Cream, or the Calm Lip Enhancing Balm with Sweet Vanilla and Lavender. Find all lip and eye products carried at Stratum HERE.
5. Be Gentle With Exfoliation
It may be tempting to want to remove "lizard skin" during the cold months. Still, I promise that overly exfoliating your skin too often or with harsh scrubs or acids will only make things worse. The skin may become even drier and more flakey; at this point, it's easy to think that you need to exfoliate even more. Our uppermost layer of skin cells is often discussed as a dead layer and seen as unnecessary. This thought isn't quite right, though. In reality, healthy skin sloughs naturally and releases the top cells as necessary. If this were true, the millions who have never exfoliated would be walking around with loads of excess skin on their bodies. (I'm thrilled this is not a thing) These "dead" skin cells that remain on the surface are pretty crucial for holding moisture in. Without them, the skin becomes dehydrated more quickly. My recommendation is not to exfoliate more than one time per week. This suggestion means you would not apply acid toners or use washes with AHA's, BHA's (both acids), enzymes, or another exfoliant. I like to use this honey mask once a week or even once every two weeks—raw Honey. Honey is the OG of face masks and truly benefits all skin types. Honey gently exfoliates without disrupting the barrier layer, draws healthy hydration, deeply heals impactions, and destroys unwanted bacteria that cause breakouts!
It is essential to understand that if we are adequately hydrated, our skin will slough off naturally and not build up. Water is the catalyst for the enzymatic action that naturally causes our skin cells to leave the top layer. It is so important that we do not over-exfoliate because much of our skin's immune system resides in the top layers. They are our first line of defense from the sun, pathogens, and other environmental assailants such as pollution. You can read an entire blog post about getting better hydration here.
6. Support Lymph Movement with Massage
We tend to move less in the winter, which can stagnate our energy and our bodies. Topical skincare is not enough for healthy skin. Moisturizers, serums, and eye creams can be very beneficial, but taking your beauty routine beyond skin deep is equally essential. The lymph can is like the waste management system of the body. Lymph is a colorless fluid that similarly flows through the body as the blood flows just below the skin's surface like a river. It intertwines with our immune system and our circulatory system. Unlike blood, lymph doesn't have a pump. We do things like moving, breathing, and self-massage to keep this waste management system flowing, rather than pooling like a mucky, dirty pond. It takes toxins and debris and filters them out of the body. 30% of this system is in our neck and our head that; 's a large portion of our body! Our skin can look dull, flakey, wrinkled, congested, dehydrated, and dry when this river isn't flowing. Moving lymph through 10 minutes of self-massage will bathe the cells in the fresh, clean fluid. Still, it will hydrate the cells and increase blood circulation below the skin, making the skin appear brighter, younger, and more glowy. All you have to do is apply a skin-loving oil and gently massage. The massage should move from the inside of the face to the outside of the face. DO whatever feels right to you, but if you still feel confused, head over to stratumaesthetics.com and check out my video tutorials!
7. Change Up Your Cleansing Habits
Surfactants are molecules that spontaneously bond with each other to form sealed bubbles. WUT?? These are ingredients in almost every cleanser that are a type of detergent. They break up oil to remove it from the surface and dry it to the skin. If your skin feels sensitive, tight, dry, one option is to skip cleansing and allow the skin to do its natural thang. I am not telling you to go to sleep with your makeup on, DO NOT do that. Instead, skip the cleanse step in the morning and swipe with a hydrating tonic or a hydrosol. I LOVE this clarifying tonic that does not dry for oily or acne-prone skin and this hydrating tonic for dry or mature skin types. Another option is to oil cleanse. Oil cleansing is a straight-up game changer. Oil attracts oil, so it acts like a magnet to pick up pollution, stale oils, sweat, makeup, anything on the skin's surface that you want to remove.
Additionally, oil cleansers are free of surfactants, so rather than breaking down the skin barrier, oil cleansers support the integrity of that barrier. You can find my favorite oil cleanser here. You may also use the Fresh Mild Rice cleanser. This surfactant-free cleanser works similar to oil cleansing but is a rich, vibrant cream.
8. Incorporate Hydrating Masks
Face masks can be a great way to infuse the skin with bursts of concentrated active ingredients. Face masks can be nourishing, moisturizing, detoxifying, or exfoliating. I enjoy increasing my skin's health and hydration with a nourishing and hydrating mask during the winter. Hydrating masks generally come in the form of a gel base or cream base. These masks can be beneficial for all skin types, but don't forget ingredients are essential. Check the ingredients to make sure they are suitable for your skin type. As a rule of thumb, gel-based masks are more appropriate for oily, acne-prone skin, and for mature or dry skin types, cream-based masks are more suitable.
Don't let the winter blues get your skin down. Anyone can easily incorporate any of these suggestions one at a time, and your skin will be sure to thank you for it!