Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If the flakes on your nose didn't fall from the sky...Winter Skin Tip #1

Winter is here, and if you have dry or combination skin, you may be noticing the effects of the season on your face as well as in the air. Many factors can lead to dryer, flakier, less radiant winter skin. Less humidity in the air outside, indoor heating, even that spiked punch at the company holiday party can add up to changes in your skin that can be very frustrating (especially with so many cameras around!) Here are some tips to help you care for your skin.

Remember, I am not a Dermatologist, so if you have allergies or sensitive skin, test somewhere other than your face (I usually try new products on my belly or the inside of my elbow) for 3 days before moving on...I have extremely sensitive, fair skin and consider myself a good acid test (if I can use it, you probably can too) but, everybody is different- there is NO SUCH THING as allergy free, so if in doubt, test first.

To look fresh faced in the winter, you have to have fresh skin; that means exfoliation. In my opinion, this area of skin care is often misunderstood. Skin cells constantly renew themselves, but this process slows as we age. There are tons of products out there to help speed up or mimic this process, and many are great, but since I'm out of the retail game, here's a simple solution to the problem:

Sugar. Regular, granulated table sugar. All you have to do is mix a teaspoon or so into your normal facial cleanser before you wash, and you've created a gentle scrub safe enough for even most sensitive skin. Mix the sugar and cleanser until you've achieved a gritty creme consistency- not quite a paste- and rub onto skin using your fingertips and a light touch. Move in a circular motion for ONLY about 30 seconds. The sugar will dissolve as you use it, which will help prevent tearing at the skin (which can happen with scrubs that use ground nut shells, sand or pumice). Sugar is also a humectant, meaning it helps to draw moisture into the skin.

The important, and often misunderstood aspect of exfoliating the skin is that less is more. You don't want to sand off the top layers, you simply want to loosen dead cells so that they wash away. Even the oiliest skins don't need daily scrubbing. In my opinion, 3 times a week is the max for oily skin, combination skin twice a week, and dry and sensitive skin should be exfoliated NO MORE than once a week. I understand you'll want to do it more often, but resist. Trust me, your skin will thank you!

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