by Celeste Hilling
You’ve likely transitioned your clothes, shoes and make-up for the cooler weather, so what about your skin? As your largest organ, the skin is a window into everything that’s going on in the body. Your skin also works hard by providing a critical immune-defense barrier, so be sure to give it proper attention this winter.
I urge you to use the change-of-season to inventory your skin care kit. You may have up to 20 products, but you really only need four or five. In the a.m., I suggest using three products: a mild gel cleanser, an anti-oxidant such as vitamin C, plus a sunscreen moisturizer. At night, use a product that contains resurfacing ingredients such as AHAs and retinols, plus a second product with restorative peptides. AHAs are great exfoliators and increase blood flow to the skin, which helps to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Retinols are fantastic anti-agers, and peptides signal your skin to produce collagen.
Your at-home skin care routine does not have to involve a lot of time or money. As a skin coach for the last 20 years, I work with clients to create effective and customized regimens that fit within their lifestyles and budgets.
Here are my seven secrets for healthy, sexy skin this winter:
#1 Winter brings dry air, heated buildings, scratchy sweaters and scarves, allergies and reduced exposure to sunlight, all of which affect your skin. To counteract the dryer air, take quick, lukewarm (instead of hot) showers and apply a hydrating body lotion as soon as you step out of the shower to seal in moisture. Look for products that contain Shea butter and/or coconut oil to soothe and soften skin.
#2 Time to bust a myth: You don’t need to exfoliate in winter. Regular exfoliation speeds up the cell turnover process, which allows the body to produce moisture-bearing properties like hyaluronic acid. Exfoliation also helps to plump the skin by churning up elastin and collagen production. I recommend using a natural resurfacing agent like glycolic acid. Commonly derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid gently dissolves dead surface skin cells. With nightly use, moisture can be increased by 33 percent over eight weeks. My favorite facial exfoliation product is, of course, from Skin Authority: Resurfacing Accelerator. I use it nightly.
#3 Not only is skin dry at this time of year, it’s also pigmented (brown spots caused, mostly, from all those hours spent in the sun over many summers). To brighten the skin, look for resurfacing products that contain glycolic acid (yes, again!) for a firm, natural glow. I also love peptides to brighten skin, plus they have the added benefit of boosting collagen production.
#4 Facial oils continue to be a skin care trend, and for good reason. Essential oils can be incorporated into any part of a skin care routine. They are particularly luxurious when included in masks and moisturizers to rev up moisture levels. One of my favorite essential oils is avocado. With its high concentration of fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, avocado oil is a go-to for soothing and moisturizing. Even including fresh avocado into your diet can help your skin.
#5 Limit your coffee intake. I know… not what you wanted to hear. Caffeine dehydrates skin. If you need alternatives to help you wake up and stay alert without caffeine, suggestions include upping your intake of vitamins B and D, adding more protein to your diet, or simply drinking more water.
#6 Load up on vitamin D. I suggest adding more of this happy hormone (yes, it’s a hormone) to your life. Most common in winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder affects as many as 10-20 percent of people (Source: American Academy of Family Physicians). D is a natural mood booster and skin brightener. When D hormone levels are balanced, a lot of skin conditions -including rosacea, eczema and heavy wrinkling – can be improved. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, liver, mushrooms and egg yolks are great sources of D.
#7 Practice safe sun. The beach bag may be stored until next summer, but the sunscreen definitely should not be. Whether it’s raining, snowing or the sun is shining, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or 30. UV rays penetrate glass – car windows, and those in your home and office – so, practice safe sun, even if you won’t be outside. Tip: if want to look as if you’ve just returned from a tropical vacation, add a few drops of foundation to a moisturizing sunscreen and mix together for a natural glow.
With more than two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority, a company respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing.