Canada’s dry winters can cause many skin concerns. Having struggled with dry or flaking skin for years, I’ve looked to strategies to better manage this dryness for the last two decades. Depending on your particular skin type, there may be various ways to help replenish the lack of moisture in your skin. I’ve recently discovered a process that works well for myself and may work for you too! If you have dry skin or, worse yet, eczema or other skin-specific issues, starting a skin routine can help reduce any conditions such as inflammation, itchiness, or scaling that may occur from the dry Canadian winters.
Washing may seem self-explanatory, however there are many ways this can go wrong. Did you know that over washing your skin can dry it out even further causing cracking and loss of moisture through the surface layers of the skin? Hence why sticking to a morning and evening face washing routine (and no more than once daily showers) is adequate for removing dirt and grime off our faces.
Step 2: Tone
While this is not a must-have step. One of the ways that has worked for helping retain moisture in my skin is adding a toner. The purpose of a toner is to help correct any pH differences from the ideal pH of your skin. Because of the acidic nature of the skin, washing our faces with tap water causes a change in pH that can cause some to break out with acne. Acidity is important for keeping out certain bacteria that cause skin inflammation or acne. I like to use a non-alcohol-based toner as it helps reduce dryness after application.
Step 3: Serum
This extra step is also not a mandatory step for everyone however it does help correct problems your skin may have. For example, if you’re looking for long-term anti-aging care, the best product to use should include retinol—a form of vitamin A that helps speed up the cell-turnover process (Kafi, 2007). It promotes healing and reduces wrinkles in the long-term. Other serums have vitamins and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Remember however that at the heart of good skin nutrition is intake of healthy food. For example, eating antioxidants and vitamins through fruits and vegetables is just as important if not more so than applying nutritious serum to our skin.
Step 4: Moisturize
While Step 2 and 3 may be optional for some people, moisturizing is a must in the intensely dry Canadian winters. Different types of moisturizers help retain water in the face and other areas of dryness. I like to apply them to my skin, hands, and feet as I find the flaking and itching happens most often in these areas. For others, you might find entire arms, elbows, legs, and calves are dry over the course of the year. In this case, applying moisturizer to these areas is optimal. For those with eczema, the type of moisturizer is particularly important. For example, whereas lotions are more liquid heavy, creams are more well tolerated and thicker in consistency. For those who have oilier skin, gel may be an effective option. (Junginger, 1992)