How To Get The Better Of Sad, January Skin
Put a pep back in your skin’s step by flooding your skin with gentle, brightening ingredients and all the moisture.
With cold weather; short, gray days and the depressing aftermath of the holiday season it’s no wonder January has officially been deemed America’s least favorite month of the year. And it’s not just your mood that can be affected by the aptly named January blues – your skin often feels it, too.
Reckon your complexion needs some extra love right now? Then read on for five simple ways to fix the most common winter skin woes…
1. Your Skin Is Dull As
Dullness is super annoying because its causes are hard to pin down. Skimping on moisturizer, poor cleansing practices, smoking (gasp!) and dehydration... the list is of potentials is endless. But whatever is causing your skin to look sad and weary right now (often a combination of the above), one solution is clear to anyone who knows anything about skincare. And that’s vitamin C.
Topical vitamin C is one of those ‘no BS’ antioxidants that gets the job done. And how. Need a quick reminder of the sheer brilliance of antioxidants? No problem. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize the damaging force of free radicals which form in your skin when it’s been exposed to things like UV radiation, pollution, stress, alcohol or a poor diet. If left to their own devices free radicals attack important proteins in your skin, breaking down collagen, screwing up elastin and even doing a number on your DNA. Of course, free radicals are around all year long but in January, after a month of food and booze excesses, they can really build up, making your skin look extremely sorry for itself.
This is why we say a big ‘yay’ for antioxidants like vitamin C which nix free radicals in the bud before they get time to do their dirty work. But that’s not all. Vitamin C is, for sure, one of the GOATs of the antioxidant world, but it also helps fade dark spots by inhibiting melanin production. Major result for patchy, dull skin. It’s also pretty safe and therefore ideal for most skin types.
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2. There's Never A Good Morning
If you’re feeling very familiar with dry, morning skin right now, you’re not alone. The combination of less humidity in the air, coupled with dry indoor heating is a real killer on your skin’s moisturization levels. Of course, keeping your skin well moisturized throughout the day is a major step towards softer, healthier skin, but it’s even more important to up your lotion game before bed.
At night, your skin’s sebaceous glands slow down, producing less sebum and leaving your barrier function slightly compromised. Without this protective layer of natural oils, water is allowed to escape more readily from the skin’s surface, leaving it open to dehydration and dryness. Your skin also becomes warmer and more permeable when you’re asleep which further allows moisture to escape. All in all, this is asking for trouble unless you get ahead of the curve by applying a deeply moisturizing night cream before bed.
3. Feeling Rough
Dryness often comes hand in hand with roughness, thanks to a lack of moisture in your skin which causes the surface to crack. But dryness isn’t the only offender of poor texture – dead skin cells also play an important role.
Your skin has a natural turnover rate in which cells are created in the deepest layers of your epidermis, travel to the surface and then naturally shed. This whole process takes around 28 days in an average young adult, but as you age the process naturally slows down to over double that. What does this mean for your skin? Well, when dead skin cells hang around at the surface they build up, blocking your pores and ruining both the texture and tone of your skin.
Exfoliation often feels a little ‘too much’ for winter skin that feels dry, dehydrated and sometimes even a tad sensitive. But, on the contrary, it’s still super important to encourage healthy cellular turnover, whatever the weather. In fact, gentle exfoliation can actually help reduce dryness by allowing your moisturizers and hydrating serums to work better. Who knew? The key, however, is to ensure you exfoliate with care and attention by avoiding harsh scrubs that can overstimulate your skin and weaken your barrier function. Instead, we recommend using gentler, non-abrasive exfoliating acids to reveal brighter, smoother skin. Simple as that.
4. Redness Is Your Weakness
Facial redness can be a regular occurrence in the winter – especially if your skin is naturally dry, sensitive or dehydrated. Fluctuating extremes of temperature as you move from forced indoor heat to the chilly outdoors is the obvious offender, but this is usually temporary as your body rushes blood to the surface of your skin in a bid to warm itself up. Then there’s washing your face in scorching water, taking hot baths or using too many active ingredients in your skincare regime. All these factors strip away your barrier function and leave it open to irritation.
A great way to avoid facial redness during the winter months is to a) cover your face with a scarf when you’re outside and b) rethink your cleansing routine. Stick with lukewarm – never hot – water, and take a stock of your face wash. Is yours laden with strong active ingredients and/or harsh surfactants or preservatives like sulfates and parabens? Then toss these aside and tone it down with more nourishing ingredients like oat and rice milk.
5. Where Has All The Moisture Gone?
It’s no secret that winter air contains much less humidity than that in the summer. This means there’s much less free moisture for your skin to grab hold of to help keep it hydrated. Artificially heated homes don’t help matters either because this sucks even more moisture from the air. Most people's home humidity levels drop to as low as 15 percent in the winter, which is way lower than HVAC’s recommended 30-50 percent.
To counteract this wintry lack of hydration and help your skin stay healthy and soft, you’re going to need to get your moisture from other means. First up, help reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your skin in low humidity, by treating yourself to a humidifier. Humidifiers increase moisture levels in your home by emitting water vapor or steam to counteract the drying air. They're honestly a great investment for your skin (and your overall health!), especially if you place yours in your bedroom – the room in which your spend most of your time.
Another way to increase moisture in your skin is through your skincare regime. If you love your moisturizer and don’t want to try something richer or heavier just because the weather has turned, we get that. But the good news is you don’t have to. Instead, add a hydrating treatment serum into the mix. This is an incredible way to boost the moisture levels in your skin without upsetting your routine too much. After cleansing, apply yours to damp skin to help lock in even more moisture, then apply moisturizer over the top.