While I love most aspects of Christmas & winter, I am not a fan of the freezing temperatures-much less the severely drying effects that they have on our skin and hair. Cold air, freezing winds, home heaters, and a lack of humidity reduce the water content of the skin leaving it dry, cracked, and uncomfortable.
A sufferer of eczema, my skin reacts even worse to winter dryness; cold dry air majorly increases eczema flareups and severity. I have tried a lot of products in attempt to remedy this dry skin problem, and feel as though I’ve finally found products and a routine that work for me.
Some general tips for helping dry skin:
- While hot showers/baths feel amazing and are super relaxing, the hot temperatures for longer periods of time zap the moisture from the skin as they strip the skin of its natural moisture and oil barrier. Try to take fewer hot baths and shorter/less hot showers-and if you’re like me and love your baths, use bath oils/products that have moisturizing properties (Lush has amazing bath bombs that leave your skin feeling soft and silky!)
- DRINK WATER!!! I cannot stress enough how important this is, and yet so many people neglect to drink enough water. Your body NEEDS water to help keep its moisture levels balanced
- Invest in a humidifier: a humidifier puts moisture back in the air, which can be a miracle if you live in extremely dry areas. This can help reduce dehydration in the skin, thus reducing dryness and discomfort!
- Try to avoid products that contain fragrance, sulphates, alcohol, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide-these ingredients can often dry out skin
- Opt for gentle facial and body cleansers-foamier doesn’t always mean cleaner; products that lather/foam a lot typically contain sulphates, which can strip the skin of its moisture barrier.
- For haircare, go for products that have more natural ingredients, like macadamia/coconut oil, vitamins, etc. A lot of products out there have so many chemicals that they really don’t do much for the hair other than cause build-up. Also look for argan oils/coconut oils as leave in conditioners; these are life-savers for hair!
- Exfoliate! A lot of people underestimate the importance of exfoliation. Exfoliation, when done properly, helps to remove dirt and dead skin cells that may be on the surface of your skin, helping to reveal softer, healthier skin, as it promotes cell renewal and turnover.
- For severely dry skin, try a serum/oil in combination with your moisturizer. Argan Oil is great for the skin and hair!
- Moisturize daily-this is crucial! Most people’s skin needs extra external moisturizers, as the environment has become harsher and most skin cannot regulate its moisture balance sufficiently enough. Moisturizing at night is especially important, as this is when our skin cells do the most renewing and healing.
Which brings me to another point: the moisturizer controversy. I’ve heard a lot of skepticism regarding whether or not moisturizers work. I’ve read articles claiming that we only use moisturizers because we think that we need them, when in reality we have only become accustomed to using them and now our skin relies on it.
While this may have some truth to it, for many people relying on the skin’s own moisture barrier to completely regulate itself is not enough. Our climate and environment is harsher than it was many years ago, when moisturizers were not as widely used and/or needed. The reality is that for a lot of people, we need the extra help. Sure, in some climates that have high levels of humidity and moisture, the needs for moisturizers might be significantly less. However, in dry, or extreme climates, the skin usually just cannot regulate itself. For sufferers of eczema like myself, the skin has an especially hard time regulating its moisture levels.
That being said, a lot of moisturizers out there aren’t necessarily good for your skin, so it’s important to know what to look for and what to avoid.
Here are some products that I love/recommend:
For the Face
- Clinique 7-Day Scrub exfoliator: This stuff is phenomenal. The problem with a lot of exfoliators on the market is that if the micro-beads are not perfectly circular, they can actually cause small cuts in the surface of the skin. The 7 Day Scrub was formulated with dermatologists to ensure that this would not be the case. It’s gentle enough to be used everyday, but if you’re very dry/sensitive side like I am, I suggest using it every 2 or 3 days, before your usual skin-care routine. It helps remove all the gunk and dead skin that can form on the skin, encourages the cells to renew themselves, and can help to heal scarring! My skin feels so amazing and soft after, I honestly don’t know what I was doing before using this.
- Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial: This is a 5-minute exfoliating mask with results comparable to professional facials and microdermabrasion, but is much more gentle! You apply it liberally to your face after cleansing, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for about five minutes, wet your face with warm water, and gently massage the product as you would with a regular exfoliator. Then rinse off, and gaze at your brighter, immensely softer skin! This stuff is absolutely incredible! I use it once a week instead of the 7 Day Scrub. It increases cell turnover on multiple levels, improving the radiance, texture, and evenness of the skin.
- Clinique Moisture Surge Intense: This moisturizer is pretty much the moisturizer of all moisturizers. My facial eczema and dry skin has completely cleared up, and using this has been the biggest reason for that. It’s a rich, fragrance free, and oil-free cream. It helps to repair and fortify the moisture barrier in your skin, leaving your skin so beautifully soft and hydrated. I would honestly be lost without this.
- Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask: This creamy overnight mask sinks into the skin for overnight relief of really dry skin-a life saver in the winter time! It’s oil free and helps the skin hold on to moisture. Apply this after your usual skin-care routine, gently massaging it into the face, and leave on overnight!
- Vichy Laboratoires Thermal Spa Water: A face mist is great for a quick pick-me-up! This one is rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper and zinc. These come in small bottles, so they are super portable and convenient to keep in your bag!
- Clinique All About Eyes: A lot of people forget to hydrate the eye area! Dehydration can cause water retention in the eye area, causing puffiness and all of that unpleasantness! This light-weight gel-cream moisturizes the eye area, reduces puffiness, and also works as an under-eye primer. Marcelle also has really great eye creams!
For the Body
- Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash: This is really gentle, so unlike a lot of body washes out there, it doesn’t irritate my skin. Sometimes I switch between this and the Clinique Deep Comfort Body Wash-I like both and have a hard time choosing between the two!
- Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion: I’ve always loved Aveeno products. This cream contains colloidal oatmeal and emollient-rich ingredients. I usually use this all year round! It’s gentle and good for sensitive skin.
- Clinique Deep Comfort Body Butter: While I do love the Aveeno lotion, during the cold winter months it is not always enough. I love to layer it with this body butter on my especially dry days. Body butters are so lovely and luxurious, but most of them contain some sort of fragrance. This Clinique one is fragrance free, and helps my skin feel moisturized all day long! It’s glorious after a bath!
- RoC Enydrial Hand Cream: One of the main areas I suffer from Eczema is on my hands, thus it is crucial for me to keep them hydrated. This hand cream is light but super moisturizing, and causes no irritation on my extremely sensitive hands. It contains Glycerin, Shea Butter, and Vitamin B5 to help nourish and protect the skin.
- Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliating Cream: This stuff deserves its own photo because it is basically a godsend. Its a super luxurious exfoliating cream that helps to smooth out dry skin and spots. You use it in the shower on wet skin, gently massaging it in circular motions, focusing more on the areas that need it the most. I have always had dry elbows/underarms, so I am not exaggerating when I say that I noticed a visible difference after the first use. It has mint in it, which gives a cooling/tingling feeling to the skin and feels so invigorating! I have become absolutely obsessed with this. It has already SIGNIFICANTLY reduced even the worst of my dry spots, and helps my skin feel so smooth and soft!
For the Hair:
- Hair Chemist Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Masque: I only recently discovered the magic of hair masks, and they are exactly that: magic! This one has macadamia oil, which is fabulous for the hair. I use this 2 different ways: I apply it all over my wet hair, leave it in for about an hour, and then wash it out (with shampoo and conditioner) about every week and a half, OR I mix a little bit of it with my conditioner every second shower. My hair has gotten SO much softer, and I really haven’t been having a problem with dry hair this winter!
- Zotos Hairtrition Macadamia Oil Shampoo & Conditioner: I talked about this is in a monthly favourites video a few months back, and I am still using it religiously! My hairdresser was so impressed when she saw my hair since it had been over a year and a half since I’d had it cut. Not only does this stuff help repair and moisturize damaged hair, but it also reduces breakage! I am seriously convinced that this is what helped my hair grow so fast! It has so many good ingredients: macadamia oil, raspberry extract, and more!
- Renpure Argan Oil: Argan oil is all the rage now, and there are so many different kinds out there. This is the one that I’ve been using for months, and I’m really liking it! I work it throughout my damp hair, focusing on the ends. It has really helped my hair and even helps it to dry more smoothly and reduce frizz!
What are your favourite products to help fight dryness?