Don’t be a Flake: How to Hydrate
By Gretta Monahan
You can jog through all the -10 degree mornings you want; after that cardio-induced, rosy-cheeked glow’s faded, you’re going to have the same dull, pasty skin you have all season if you don’t switch up your regimen to accommodate winter’s frigid elements.
You’ve heard it 100,000 times before, but it’s no joke: Winter dries us out. We have to work harder than ever this time of year to stay hydrated. And moisturizing lotion, while helpful, only goes so far. You’ve really got to treat the body as one package, and hit it with water from lots of different angles. Here are some essential tricks to keep your skin glowing even in the depths of winter:
The obvious: Drink water. We’ve all heard the eight-glasses-per-day rule, but if you tend to get bored drinking water (as some do), add a squeeze of lemon, lime or grapefruit. If it’s freezing out, drink it in the form of non-caffeinated mint tea in your to-go mug instead of coffee; drink a big glass of it to get your body going first thing in the morning; and make sure to put a glass of it with ice on your bedside table every night. Those moves alone will help you knock out four of the eight glasses you need to have covered.
Don’t over-exfoliate. Doing so can rob your skin of the oils it needs, and it can have a reaction you don’t want: a breakout. Follow your exfoliant product’s directions to the letter (whether it’s a scrub, a mild peel or a drying ointment) about how often it should be used, and make sure to use a light moisturizer before bedtime.
Don’t dally with the body lotion or oil when you get out of the shower. Moisturize immediately with a great body lotion like June Jacobs’s cranberry body balm. Otherwise skin dries out quickly — but you can seal in the new dampness of your skin by keeping your favorite lotion handy in the bathroom. Give yourself a quick toweling until you’re still just damp, and then bring on the hydration.
Buy a humidifier. All that dry air is the reason your skin starts feeling itchy and sometimes even flaky. Humidifiers do wonders for both; turn it on when you get home at night and leave it on as you sleep. You’ll see positive changes in your complexion within just a week or two.
Get your vitamins on. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. So what I’ll tell you right now is that I see huge improvements in any skin that gets enough support from a healthy diet filled with vitamins and minerals. Eat foods full of omega-3 fatty acids, and skin cells become better lubricated — the likes of salmon, olive oil, navy and kidney beans, and walnuts. Likewise, foods high in water are a booster to keeping you hydrated: melons, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery.
Cozy up to the sunscreen. You just knew this one was coming, right? But we all sometimes forget. Not only is it not just for summer, it’s almost more vital in the winter if you’re on the slopes. Put on (at least) an SPF 30 every morning after your moisturizer (or combine the two in a blend that you buy or mix together yourself).
Believe me, your winter skin will thank you. And you’ll thank yourself — with a happy smile every time you look in the mirror.