Many people, against my advice of course, strive to keep a year round bronzed glow to their complexion. Pretty easy to do in the summer time when its warm, humidity keeps your skin moist and the sun helps you tan whether you want it to or not. But when the cooler months approach, I can't say cold because it's Florida, keeping that sought after glow can be difficult. Instead of resorting to tanning beds, let's think of 3 other tips you can do to keep a truly healthy glow this winter.
Apply your sunscreen- Of utmost importance at all times, summer, winter and those seasons in between, apply a daily sunscreen! Sun damage takes its toll on your skin in more ways than one. It can dry your skin leaving you with a dull and lack luster complexion, not to mention its harmful rays predispose you to signs of aging such as wrinkles, brown spots and heaven forbid, skin cancers! Sunscreen may seem silly when our daylight hours are so much shorter this season, but you get a cumulative effect of sun exposure throughout your day, week, month and year. It is important to protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays everyday to prevent further signs of photodamage, so put on your sunscreen to show off your glow!
Hydration- This is also very important for the health of your skin, after all it is the largest organ you have. Oral and topical means of hydration give you the boost you need to take your dry, flaky, perhaps even dull appearing hue to healthy and radiant skin. Hydration is best accomplished from the outside in AND the inside out; a two step approach will guarantee better results quicker. It is recommended to drink 64oz of water daily. This is an important goal to strive for. If you are more physically active, adjust your water intake to meet your body's needs. If you're drinking plenty of water already, you can now focus on proper hydration with the topical application of moisturizers. Moisturizers play an important role in the health of your skin and should be separate from your daily routine. Applications in the morning, preferably with a moisturizer containing some SPF, and nightly applications work best. With so many moisturizers out on the market, it can be challenging to know which one to purchase. I recommend keeping it simple. Find a non-comogenic, fragrance free, oil free, sensitive skin product with a short list of ingredients to ensure you're not exposed to unnecessary chemicals. Excess fragrance and chemicals can cause irritation to the skin which results in redness, irritation, and you guessed it, dryness! Stick with a simple product with recognizable components; be careful not to fall for fancy packaging or smart marketing.
Exfoliate- For your final tip for glowing skin in the winter time, consider more aggressive forms exfoliation if your skin is not sensitive or acne prone. Mild exfoliation can be accomplished with a soft face brush or with topical applications of a retinoid, which chemically exfoliates the skin. By removing build up of excess skin cells, your skin will appear brighter and more radiant. It is important to start with a mild exfoliation regimen during the winter time as you may see an increased incidence of peeling or dryness from these more aggressive exfoliation techniques. The soft facial brushes used today for mild exfoliation should not be used daily to prevent irritation. Consider using these products 1-3 times weekly at most, perhaps just once weekly to start out or if you are more sensitive. If you prefer to try a chemical exfoliating method, see your healthcare professional to discuss topical retinoids. There are different strengths and formulations to choose from and it is important to find the right medication for your skin type. You may think the stronger the better, but the potential drying side effects may be more irritating than beneficial. Because the weather is dryer in winter, it might be best to start by using your retinoid every other night until your skin adjusts, then you can consider increasing your application timing as long as you are not experiencing too much dryness or irritation. You can apply your moisturizer at the same time as your retinoid to help combat some of these unwanted adverse effects.
Let's say you've tried the simple stuff, now it's time to dig a little deeper to find the right moisturizer for your skin. You can try to moisturize and remove dead skin cells at the same time by trying moisturizers containing ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, commonly, lactic acid or glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is the smallest molecule of the different alpha hydroxy acids and penetrates the skin the best. These active ingredients help to moisturize by thickening your top layer of skin so that you retain more moisture and will gently exfoliate the very top layers of dead skin cells, which, upon removal, reveal a fresh revitalized complexion. Over the counter products contain equal to or less than 10% of these acids, rendering them safe to use on a regular basis with minimal adverse effects. It is still important to consider your skin type and application schedule as you may experience excess dryness, redness and irritation with overuse. If you have acne prone skin or a more oily complexion, consider using a beta hydroxy acid topical therapy, otherwise known as salicylic acid, as this active ingredient will penetrate the lipid layer of your skin getting deeper into pores for cleansing and exfoliation. Again, dryness, redness and irritation are potential side effects. Because of the exfoliation process you are inducing, it is important to wear a daily SPF to ensure the protection of your fresh skin cells once they surface.
If your skin is still too dry for your liking after trying all three tips in combination, then it's time to see your local dermatology provider for a full evaluation. There are some skin conditions that can cause difficult to treat dry appearing skin, ensure you aren't in need of further treatment. Expect your skin to experience an increase in dryness and irritation during winter months due to weather changes, but be proactive in keeping your skin healthy and moisturized to reveal the healthy skin you strive to keep!
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