Winter has officially arrived, and though you may be feeling the blues, your skin does not have to reflect your state of mind. Your skin can surely use some extra pampering, especially during these trying times.  A harsh winter can be far worse for the skin than a bad summer.  Between low temperatures, cold winds, bone-dry indoor heating systems, and the daily stress, your skin loses lots of moisture. 

Most winter woes can be attributed to a climactic change from indoors to outdoors and a complete drop in the air’s moisture level. Humidity, which is a nightmare for the curly-haired, is actually a plus for the face and body.  Humidity affects every type of skin - be it dry, oily, or combination. Actually, certain pre-existing conditions like eczema, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea are also exacerbated by excessive dryness. 

The most effective ways of combating skin dehydration are maintaining a proper diet (food and water) and incorporating a good daily skincare routine, which includes the following: 1: Cleansing your skin daily with a product that’s appropriate for your particular skin type; 2: Using a mild exfoliant or hydrating mask twice weekly; 3: Incorporating a mild toner that won’t dry out your skin and will restore your PH level; 4: Adding a rich eye and facial moisturizer which hydrates your skin.

It is a common tendency to apply heavy creams to comfort the face. This alone will not do the trick. Products containing occlusive ingredients create problems by clogging the pores, thus giving a waxy appearance to the skin.  No cream can replace the skin’s natural protective oils, especially when it is not even penetrating the deeper layers of skin. Imagine Saran Wrap! What does it do?  It seals our food tightly and does not allow anything to penetrate.  Your skin acts similarly.  During winter, your skin is dry, chapped, rough, and flaky. You must therefore stimulate the natural production of the skin’s oils, but first you must reach the message center.  This cannot be done when the outer layer of skin is sealed shut. Therefore, the best way to get through the inner layer of skin is by exfoliating, via a natural process, i.e. using a scrub.  Once you have reached the dermal layer, you may use a hydrating mask to further lubricate the skin and eliminate flakiness. This type of exfoliation can also prepare the skin for any products you apply afterwards, thereby enhancing the results.  Since the path is now cleared, your skin will be ready for a moisturizer which will be able to work more effectively. 

Once the acid mantle is brought under control, we are ready for makeup, which will go on more smoothly and evenly. Liquid and cream foundations with an SPF are a good choice for winter skin.  If your skin is extremely dry, you can opt for cream blush and use pressed powder sparingly to set your creams.  

Chapped or cracked lips are also caused by exposure to the cold.  Because of the pandemic and the usage of masks, most of us are not wearing hydrating lipsticks or lip gloss, and thus finding our lips to be much drier this winter.  Adding a Vitamin E stick (a clear wax or petroleum-based product) will help protect your lips without staining your mask.  

Hands can also get severely chapped during winter months and need to be properly moisturized with strong emollients. Between the harsher weather and frequent handwashing, excessive dryness may result in skin that forms cracks and fissures.  If this continues untreated, severe skin conditions and infections may occur. By applying a cream that contains lipids, collagen, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid right after handwashing, and always making sure to wear gloves, hands can be well protected and look lovely. 

Since the skin is a wonderful canvas for makeup, treating it properly will certainly reap benefits.  Your makeup can only look as good as the skin underneath.  With just a bit of common sense, practical procedures and technical know-how, you can weather the storm and have beautiful skin all winter long.

Risselle Naimark is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist and Skincare Consultant. She carries an extensive line of personalized skincare, cosmetics, and anti-aging products. Risselle is also available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, makeup lessons, and all of your beauty needs. She can be reached at 718 263-5517.