Tips, tricks and strategies to weather winter’s cold dry air gracefully.
Get your skin and hair ready for cold weather
MAKEUP Pay attention to lips Switch to lip products with treatment properties and sun protection since lips are continually exposed to the ravages of wind and cold air and have very little natural pigment to screen out the sun. The skin on the lips is very thin. It has few oil glands and no sweat glands, which means moisture evaporates quickly and is slow to be replaced. Lipsticks with hydrating and healing vitamin E as well as candelila wax will offer the protection lips need. HANDS Pamper dry cuticles It doesn’t take filing papers to rip brittle cuticles – they’ll do it on their own. Treat damaged cuticles with creams that contain conditioning and healing ingredients such as shea butter. Massage the cream into each fingertip and nail base. After a few minutes, when the cuticles become softer, gently push them back with an orangewood stick. To prevent cracking and ripping, which can lead to infection, apply a dose of cuticle oil to the nail bed. BODY Treat, moisturize and exfoliate Now is the time to start cosmetic dermatologic treatments such as laser resurfacing, peels, hair removal or sclerotherapy for spider veins, since lasers are attracted to darker pigments and may remove more melanin from those areas of skin. Dermatologists recommend waiting six to eight weeks after sun exposure before any type of laser procedure. Likewise, stay out of the sun for three to four months after laser treatment, when skin is extra sensitive and more prone to sun damage and undesirable changes of color. The less humidity in the air, the less moisture in your dermis. Replace soap with gentle shower gels that contain soothing anti-drying ingredients such as aloe, seaweed extract or lavender. In the shower, scrub skin gently with a loofah for five to seven minutes to slough off dead cells, then apply a light moisturizer with say, almond oil, paying special attention to problem areas such as elbows and heels.
Dermis The dense, rich layer of skin beneath the epidermis (surface), consisting of collagen and elastin fibres, nerve endings and blood vessels. Humectant A substance that draws water from the environment or the dermis into the skin to help it retain moisture. (Glycerin, for example, is a humectant.) Found in many “oil-free” products. Hypoallergenic Generally means a product is “less likely to cause an allergic reaction.” There are, however, no legal guidelines governing which ingredients can or cannot be used in these products. Lanolin (“wool wax”) A popular moisturizer and lubricant, which comes from the greasy coating on sheep’s wool. Commonly found in creams for dry skin but may be too heavy for oily skin. Noncomedogenic (nonacnegenic) These products should not clog pores and/or cause pimples ( comedo means “blackhead”). However, it’s similar to the term hypoallergenic in that there are no rules deeming which products will and will not be labeled noncomedogenic. pH The measure of acid or alkaline content in a substance (from 0 to 14, 0 being the most acidic). The pH of healthy skin is 5 or 6, while bar soaps have a pH usually around 10, which is too alkaline and may leave skin feeling uncomfortably tight. (To test the pH of a product, dip a litmus paper strip into it; the color change will indicate the pH level.) Surfactants Wetting agents that allow oil and water to mix so they can be lifted off the skin. They give soap its “cleansing action.” Titanium dioxide This physical sunblock effectively screens out both UVA and UVB rays by forming a layer that prevents them from reaching the skin. Tretinoin A synthetic derivative of vitamin A, it helps to loosen and remove the skin’s surface layer, unclog pores, increase cell turnover rate and counteract the formation of pimples. Brand names are Renova (for photo-aging) and Retino-A (for acne). Water-based (in foundation) Means there is more water in the product than there is oil -- although oil is still present. The formulation of a water-based product tends to be light-weight and sheer. Waterproof (in sun protection) Works up to 80 minutes underwater. Water-resistant (in sun protection) Works up to 40 minutes underwater. Zinc oxide This physical block effectively screens out both UVA and UVB rays by forming a layer that prevents them from reaching the skin. Years ago, it was opaque, but new formulations have made it nearly transparent.
FACE Lighten up on treatment products In cold, dry weather, skin’s outer layer becomes fragile and susceptible to irritation and redness. If you’re using topical prescription creams such as Renova, Retino-A or alpha-hydroxy- or beta-hydroxy-acid...