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Hey. It’s Fall/Winter here in Northern California and the weather is getting quite tricky. Usually, we refer to fall as winter because we are accustomed to great weather here, year round. But this time things are different. All of the wildfires happening this October has caused our air quality to be drier (and our temperatures a little warmer) than it usually is this time of year. So for those of us here in the Bay Area, it looks like we’ll need to switch up our skin care routines. The outside elements have changed as a result of the wildfires and though you may not feel any different, chances are your skin is changing. Every client I’ve seen this past week has had dry or dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin isn’t typically an anomaly, but every client having dehydrated skin is telling. There’s no reason why any of us should be experiencing dry winter skin while sun is still radiating 80º F warmth. So let’s kick those skin care routines into high gear and kick the dry and dehydrated skin to the curb.

Why is my skin suddenly so dry?

The seasons are still changing, even if you’re not in California. If you’re in an area that truly experiences four seasons, you are probably already familiar with the ways in which your skin can change with the weather. With the temperature drops come drier air which leads to dry skin. The fall and winter months lack the humidity that helps keep moisture in the skin. The cooler (and often harsher) winds that sweep across our faces further strip the natural moisture within the skin’s protective barrier. As we lose more moisture our skin gets a bit more sensitive to the elements. This is why our lips seem to get chapped more frequently or why a strong gust of wind can leave us with red patches in the colder months. If you have eczema or psoriasis, you are likely to see your conditions exacerbated during these dry winter skin seasons.

Your Dry Winter Skin Survival Kit

  • Cleansing balms/milks: I’ve found that cream cleansers are the real MVPs of dry winter skin. In particular, cleansing balms and cleansing milks are best suited for the colder conditions. Those with dry skin types may already be using these types of cleansers but I recommend them for all skin types during winter. These clean without removing the little moisture that may be left in the skin.
  • Exfolitone: Now is not the time for manual scrubs. If your skin is already tight and dry from outside conditions then manual exfoliation—yes, that includes those brushes too—is doing more harm than good. Using an exfoliating toner in the winter is a much better alternative. Exfoliating toners work to deep cleanse the follicles and gently remove dead skin. Look for toners with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)/Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and be sure you’re using the best one for your skin type. If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick with the AHA toners. Oily/acneic or combination can benefit best from BHA toners. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid toners are most common. You may also want to start a chemical peel regimen if you’ve noticed the dry conditions are also affecting your skin’s texture.
  • Hydrate: This one you’ll want to do internally and externally. We already know that drinking water is key to keeping the skin hydrated but we can also hydrate our skin from the outside. Once you’ve finished cleansing and exfolitoning, use a hydrating mist. Think beyond the typical rose water. Use a hydrating mist that includes glycerin, hyaluronic acid, jojoba, or avocado oils. Follow up your hydrating mist with a hydrating serum. Yes, hyaluronic acid is the hydrating humectant we all love but there are others too. Serums with B5, Vitamin C, and ceramides also help boost hydration.
  • Moisturize: In the Spring and Summer, you might be able to get away with making your sunscreen work as both a moisturizer and protectant. But just as you will be layering fall fashion, you have to layer your moisturizers too. Start with a facial oil your skin will love. There are facial oils for all skin types so make sure you choose one that won’t be irritating. Be modest when applying your facial oils since two more products will have to go on top of them. Next, you’ll want to use thicker moisturizers to ensure all day protection and apply liberally. If you’re worried about clogging your pores by using thicker moisturizers, try Vaseline or Aquaphor. They’re non-comedogenic and occlusive which means they lock moisture in. Lastly, don’t forget that you still need to use your SPF on top of your moisturizer!

Save your skin this winter by remembering these steps: Cleanse, Exfolitone, Hydrate, and Moisturize. You can also indulge in a weekly hydrating mask and collagen eye treatment. Book with me to learn more!