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Winter is Coming: How to Protect Your Skin The Right Way

vitamin c serum for winter

1. Try a Moisturizer or a Serum

Since the winter air is so harsh and dry, you'll need to do something to add moisture back to your skin. If you decide to use a moisturizer, make sure that it is cruelty-free and that it doesn't contain any toxic ingredients before you apply it to your skin. However, you should know that moisturizers mainly serve as band-aids for dry skin; they don't actually make your skin more fortified against the winter chill, they just add moisture that is quickly absorbed into your skin or rinsed off the next time you wash your face.

If you want a topical solution for dry winter skin that actually addresses the root reasons why your skin is reacting negatively to its arid environment, you might want to try a serum. While even the best serum can't change the weather, these special types of cosmetics can add nutrients to your skin that will help it resist the abrasive effects of the cold winter. Certain common serum ingredients, such as vitamin C, are also packed with antioxidants, which are special types of compounds that protect your skin from inflammation, which causes the redness that you may associate with staying out in the winter cold for too long.

Unlike moisturizers, which only have temporary effects, serums are like multivitamins for your skin; they bolster your skin's defenses from the inside out, which makes your face and neck more capable of fending off the attacks of the winter air. Most serums also absorb into your skin within minutes, which means that you won't have to worry about going out into the cold with wet skin if you simply take enough time to properly put on your shoes and jacket before going outside.

2. Set Up a Humidifier

Maintaining a humid home environment in the winter is incredibly important. Your skin won't get the moisture it needs from the outside air during this time of the year, which means that you'll need to keep your home moist to ensure that your skin will stay soft and relaxed all winter long. It's important to run humidifiers in every room of your house, but if you do nothing else, you should use a humidifier in your bedroom while you're sleeping. This practice won't only keep your skin smooth and soft; it will also help keep your airways clear and healthy. The winter chill does a number on your skin, but it can also do serious damage to your respiratory system, and a humidifier helps keep every part of your body as healthy as it was during the height of summer.

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3. Stay Hydrated

Since the air gets so dry in the winter, it's extremely important to stay properly hydrated if you want to keep your skin looking as glowing and soft as it does in the warmer months. You should drink water in copious quantities all throughout the year, but staying properly hydrated becomes even more important as the outside air gets drier. Experts disagree on the exact amount of water that you should drink every day, but as a general rule of thumb, you should drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water in each 24 hour period, and you may want to up your consumption during the winter months.

Many people only drink water when they are thirsty, but this practice is a recipe for disaster. Your body doesn't always tell you when you're dehydrated, but the effects of this physical condition harm your well-being even if you don't notice them consciously. One of the most common signs of dehydration is dizziness, and you may also have trouble forming clear thoughts if you're dehydrated. If you let your dehydration go on for too long, your skin could also suffer, and this condition has very serious effects as it approaches its ultimate stages. Severe dehydration can result in dark-colored urine or extreme thirst, and you can become dehydrated even more easily during the winter.

Drinking plenty of water isn't the only way that you can stay hydrated; lots of foods also contain high concentrations of water that releases slowly through your digestive tract. Fruits like watermelons, strawberries, grapefruits, and oranges have high water contents, and vegetables such as cucumbers, celery, zucchini, and bell peppers are also filled to the brim with the water your body needs to stay healthy. If you drink plenty of water and eat lots of water-rich foods, the drying effects of winter will pass you by as you approach the balmy climes of spring.

4. Use Exfoliating Products

Exfoliating is always important, but this practice becomes even more vital during the winter months. When dead skin builds up on your body, it makes it impossible for new skin cells to take their rightful place, which leads to a dull complexion. In extreme circumstances, excessive numbers of dead skin cells can even discolor your skin or make it irritated. If you want to exfoliate your skin gently, you can try using a serum that has lots of antioxidants. Unlike scrubs, which can damage your skin as they slough off dead cells, serums simply stimulate your face and neck to fulfill their normal functions of cell death and growth. You can also try an exfoliating mask that you leave on for about 20 minutes, and since your hands are often directly in harm's way during the winter, you should treat them just as carefully as you do your face when it comes time to exfoliate.

When you exfoliate, just remember not to overdo it. If you exfoliate too much, your skin will become irritated, and it will become more prone to redness and other winter-related skin maladies. While you should always stick to gentle exfoliants that don't hurt your skin, this practice becomes even more important during the winter when your skin is exposed to many more natural stresses than during any other time of the year.

5. Always Use Sunscreen

During the winter, it can seem antithetical to use sunscreen. After all, in most places, the winter skies are cloudy, and you may find yourself begging for a ray of sunshine as snow or sleet pours down on your head. However, while bright, beautiful sunshine often doesn't make its way through in the winter, UV rays pound down on your skin despite weather conditions that make things dismal or damp. Since your skin is already under assault from a variety of other sources during the winter months, you don't want to add UV damage to the mix. Therefore, keep using sunscreen in the same way that you did during the summer. If you do, you'll find that your skin becomes less red and irritated after you've been outside for a while in the winter cold.

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6. Cover Your Skin as Much as Possible

No matter how many precautionary measures you take, there's nothing you can do to completely mitigate the effects of the winter air when it makes direct contact with your skin. Therefore, it's best to stop the winter chill before it ever makes landfall on your face or hands; wearing a scarf or even a ski mask may be the right choice as the weather gets frigid. Whatever you do, make sure that you cover your arms, chest, and legs to the fullest extent possible. The less that cold air makes contact with your skin, the less you'll have to deal with the inevitable consequences later.

7. Always Carry Lip Balm

Don't forget about your lips when you go outside in the winter. Your lips are just as sensitive as the skin on your face, and some people's lips can be the most sensitive parts of their face areas. Whenever you venture out into the winter cold, you should make sure that you have a tube of lip balm in your pocket, and if you really want to make sure that your lips are protected, pick a balm that doesn't have artificial ingredients. Pro tip: Add a layer of vaseline over your lip balm to give your lips an even greater degree of protection.

8. Do Not Overheat

When you come inside to take refuge from the winter blasts, it's only natural to want to counterbalance your chilliness with an excessive degree of heat. However, when things get too hot inside your house, the dryness issues associated with winter can get even worse, and you may damage your skin if you get it too hot. Even so, you'll definitely want to use some forms of heat in your house, so you should simply make an effort to stay a significant distance away from heat sources once you come inside after a long winter day. While the iconic image of curling up next to the open fire might be emblazoned in your mind after decades of Christmas carols, getting too close to fires, furnaces, or space heaters can actually dry you out and damage your skin.

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9. Keep Your Clothes Dry

In many areas, winter is the wettest time of the year. Whenever you go outside in these places, you risk the possibility of getting wet, and wearing waterproof clothes can only get you so far when it comes to keeping moisture off your body during the winter. If your skin becomes wet in the winter, it will quickly become irritated, and it may take hours or even days to get rid of your red, itchy skin inflammation. Whenever you go outside during the winter, wear clothes that are soft and comfortable to mitigate this effect, and if your clothes do become wet, make sure to take them off as soon as you go inside.

10. Use Safe and Natural Cleansers

If you're still using cleansers that are packed full of artificial ingredients, now is the time to stop. Many "organic" or "all-natural" cleansers also contain lots of potentially toxic ingredients, which is why the only way to make sure that a product is safe for your skin is to examine the ingredients label thoroughly and do your research about each ingredient. Many popular cleansers made by major corporations contain artificial ingredients that irritate your skin, and your skin can't take any more of a beating after you come in from the winter chill. Ensuring that your skin doesn't experience any excess irritation based on the products you're using is incredibly important during the winter, so you may need to go through your medicine cabinet and toss out products that aren't gentle enough to your face, hands, and neck.

11. Protect Your Hands

While many people understand the importance of keeping their faces and necks protected during the winter, they commonly overlook the importance of their hands. While your hands are slightly less sensitive than your face, the skin on these appendages is still highly prone to damage from cold, dry air, so you'll want to take extra precautions to make sure that your hands don't get damaged. One of the best ways to protect your hands is to wear gloves or mittens, but you shouldn't stop there when it comes to defending your digits: When you moisturize your face, make sure to give your hands the same treatment.

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