Winter can wreak havoc on your face, which is a bummer since it might be the only skin peeking out from all those cozy layers.  The lower temperatures, cold wind, and dry indoor air cause the water in our skin to evaporate more, and as a result we get itchy, dry, painfully cracked skin.  To protect your face from the elements, follow these tips and get ready to put your best face forward through anything the winter weather throws your way!

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.  Believe it or not, when winter hits, you still need sunscreen. Even though the weather is cold and gray, the sun can still damage your skin. The damage is even worse if you’re hitting the slopes.  Snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s UV light, so the rays hit you twice when you’re out on a ski slope, further increasing the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing. The lower lip is a particularly neglected area and a common site for squamous-cell skin cancers. Apply a generous layer of SPF15 lip balm before heading out.

Use the right skincare products. If the cold weather is leaving your face feeling extra parched, swap the matte foundation and powder for a moisturizing formula, which will help soothe your skin without feeling greasy.  If you have really delicate or sensitive skin, watch out for products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which has been found to irritate skin and make it more permeable.  If you use a light, water-based lotion, switch to a more moisturizing cream or oil. WebMD suggests looking for “nonclogging” oil ingredients such as avocado, primrose, or almond oils. Or look for lotions with “humectants,” which attract moisture to your skin: glycerine, sorbital, and alpha-hydroxy acids.

Choose the right clothing.  Knit hats and earmuffs are nice, but a hood—especially one that’s insulated—will block the wind from the sides of your face. And don’t forget your scarf! It can be used to cover not just your neck, but also your nose and bottom portion of your face when it gets stormy.  Also, avoid scratchy clothing like wool, since it can disrupt the barrier on your skin that keeps in moisture.

Revise your indoor routines.  Staying hydrated is always important, including the winter when you want to save your skin. In addition to drinking lots of water, take warm rather than steamy showers or baths. Those extra hot showers feel good in the winter, but intense heat can break down the skin’s lipid barrier and your body will lose more moisture.  Turn on the humidifier, especially at night when your body is trying to repair itself.  Eat more healthy fats, like nuts, avocados, and fatty fish. Eskimos eat a diet very rich in seafood and healthy fats, which plays a part in their incredible skin.

Get a facial.  The winter is a great time to try out a facial treatment.  A facial works to counteract these effects in a couple of ways.  Improving circulation to our face to stimulate our own skin’s natural renewal is one of the best benefits to a facial in the winter.  A facial includes cleansing which helps unblock your pores and promotes healing and restoration. Our daily cleansing regime might be adequate for makeup and grime removal but for skin that is truly clean, a facial gives an unsurpassed result.  Finally, a facial helps us to relax and forget the winter blues.