Winter is here and so is the dry skin that accompanies winter.

Clients tell me all the time “I drink a lot of water” but that is part of what we are going to talk about today.

Drinking water is important for our body and skin, however, the dryness is caused by the skin cell itself. This is why you can drink water but your skin always feels dry.

A good explanation is that a healthy skin cell is plump like a grape. When our skin is dry, the water has been pulled out of the skin cell, which means the cell now looks like a raisin.

Once the cell is dry like a raisin, getting water back in the cell can be difficult, but not impossible.

Today we are going to talk about the different ways to prevent and minimize dry skin.

to fight dry skin in the winter, stop using a gel or foam cleanser

Dry Skin Rule #1 Stop Stripping the Skin

We hear the term “stripping the skin” a lot, but what does this mean?

Stripping the skin means you’re using a product that is drawing water out of the skin cells. You’re causing your skin cells to go from a grape to a raisin.

Our goal is to keep the skin clean, but not remove any water from the skin cells. However, most over-the-counter cleansers or any cleanser that foams or is gel-based can strip the skin.

In the winter, the dry air automatically sucks water out due to the lack of humidity (think of how puddles evaporate after a rain). Keeping a humidifier in your bedroom at night can help keep moisture in the air and prevent water loss from the skin.

Oftentimes, it’s our skincare products that strip the skin.

And it starts by using the wrong face cleanser, especially a cleanser that is gel-based or foaming.

While I am not opposed to these cleaners if they are formulated correctly, however, most of us should not be using these types of cleansers. Oily skin types, teens, or acne-prone skin are the only skin types that should be using a foaming or gel-based cleanser.

If you are using a gel or foaming cleanser, this is the #1 reason your skin is dry.

to fight dry skin in the winter, stop exfoliating often

Dry Skin Rule #2 Minimize Exfoliation

Another big mistake clients make is overdoing their exfoliation.

I’ve seen it in products and on social media to exfoliate constantly. Some products or influencers are telling us to exfoliate 1-2 times daily.

The biggest thing with exfoliation that I want everyone to understand, our skin is an organ. Our organs know how to repair themselves. Our job with our skincare products is to help the skin do its job.

Exfoliating too much is not a good thing for our skin, because exfoliation forces our skin to turnover creating microscopic tears (which lead to dry skin). You may think this is a good thing for our skin to turnover faster. This puts stress on our skin’s barrier and breaks it down because our skin should only turnover every 28 days.

I recommend exfoliating every 1-2 weeks, especially in the winter months.

The goal of exfoliation is to assist the skin in removing dead cell buildup on the surface to allow product penetration. If we don’t exfoliate, cell buildup can happen.

What is cell buildup?

Our cells naturally replace themselves every 28 days (in young, healthy skin), which we call cell turnover or a cell cycle. As we age, cell turnover slows down. This is why kids and young adults have plump, beautiful skin.

When this process slows down, dead cells can build on top of the skin, think of how the leaves pile on the sidewalk in the fall. When we have too much buildup, our skincare products don’t work properly because they can’t get to the skin.

This is where exfoliation comes in! Exfoliation acts like a broom to sweep the leaves off the sidewalk. This allows our products to work better and help keep our skin hydrated. This is why we exfoliate and the only time you need to exfoliate.

If you’re exfoliating 1-2 times a day, you’re damaging your skin which creates microscopic tears in the skin’s barrier. These microscopic tears allow evaporation of water from the cells to occur. Plus creates damage to the skin.

to fight dry skin in the winter, add hyaluronic acid and moisturizer

Dry Skin Rule #3 Add Hydrating products to your skincare routine

There are two products that you should be adding to your skincare routine in the winter months when your skin is feeling dry.

  1. Hyaluronic acid
  2. Heavier night moisturizer

Hyaluronic acid ONLY works if it’s in your serum. If you see Hyaluronic acid on a moisturizer, please avoid that product! Hyaluronic acid acts like a magnet, attracting water to it.

Remember I mentioned that when our skin is dry, the skin cell looks like a raisin, not a grape? Putting hyaluronic acid on top of the skin draws water out of the cell and up to the skin’s surface. Thus leaving our skin cells looking like raisins.

Dry skin is not surface level. If it was, putting on moisturizer would help solve the problem.

That doesn’t seem to help, does it?

For Hyaluronic acid to be effective, it must be encapsulated and in a serum form. This allows the large molecules of Hyaluronic acid to get into the skin cells and attract water to the cell itself. When hyaluronic acid is in the skin cell, it plumps up the cell to look like a grape.

THEN we seal that in with our heavier moisturizer.

Think of moisturizer like a sealant. It locks moisture in the skin, which is how you can get your moisturizer to hydrate your skin effectively.

We can use a heavier moisturizer during the winter months because these moisturizers have more hydrating ingredients that help hold water in the skin. Lotions are great for acne or oily skin types and even dry skin during the humid summer months, but during the winter, that water needs to get locked in so evaporation doesn’t occur.

Rethinking and shifting your skincare routine isn’t complicated, but can help out tremendously during the dry winter months. To check out a past blog that goes into detail about what skincare products are best for dry skin, click this link here.

If you have any questions or comments, please share them below.

See you next week with another blog

Skin Deep Esthetics Team

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