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Keep your skin looking and feeling its best this winter

Winter is a challenging time for our skin. Cold, dry air can make maintaining a healthy complexion difficult, but it’s not impossible with proper care. Here are some of my best expert tips for keeping your skin looking (and, most importantly, feeling) its best during the winter months.

Moisturize quickly

Applying your moisturizer within 60 seconds of washing your face or exiting the shower ensures maximum hydration. After just one minute lapses, bare skin will begin to dehydrate as dry air extracts its moisture. To best protect your skin, give it an instant boost with a hydrating toner immediately after washing. Toners that include ingredients such as lactic acid can hydrate and help ingredients penetrate better, while brightening and helping to restore the skin’s pH after cleansing.

Increase essential fatty acids (EFAs)

They’re the building blocks of healthy cellular membranes, which help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier. Critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper and younger looking, EFAs are easily obtained by consuming foods like avocados, Brazilian nuts and fish or fish oil.

Intensify hydration

You may need more than what you’re getting from your moisturizer. If your skin feels tight and dehydrated, consider a gentle enzyme exfoliant a couple of times each week. It’ll address dead skin cells and brighten your skin, while allowing your product to better absorb into the skin. I also recommend adding a serum to your regime. Serums are applied directly to the skin after cleansing and toning. They contain more active ingredients that address specific individual skincare concerns, and they can be tremendously impactful. Oh, and you’ve heard it before, DRINK MORE WATER! It aids in detoxification, keeps skin clear, hydrated and reduces fine lines and wrinkles too.

Use a humidifier and/or diffuser

If you heat with a wood stove or if you feel the air in your environment is dry, a humidifier is a great way to add moisture into the air and improve breathing. As an added treat, I love putting essential oils in a diffuser to help relax and unwind. Just remember to clean humidifiers and diffusers frequently with vinegar.

Implement vitamins as antioxidants

There are two levels of cellular damage that occur from free radicals that aggravate many skin conditions: oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation. Oxidative stress is the loss of both oil and water-soluble antioxidants with the immediate environment around the protective membrane. Vitamins A and C are essential as the building blocks of collagen. Collagen is major part of the weave of the skin, its principal function being to help maintain resilience, skin density and structural integrity in the tissues.

Beware of fragrances, dyes and fillers

Most synthetic fragrances and preservatives are derived from petroleum distillates or coal tar. A majority of these individual ingredients can cause a variety of reactions in the skin. Along with essential oils, all of these ingredients can be a real concern for those with sensitive skin. Carefully review the ingredients in your skin care products or speak to an expert for guidance.

Switch it up

As the climate changes, so will your skin care needs. The dryness of winter air requires more intense moisturizer and supporting products, while in the humidity of the summer you may want to switch to something lighter.

Don’t skip sunscreen

The reflective surface of the snow can intensify UV rays, increasing your exposure. UV damage is responsible for degrading cellular DNA in the skin, thus causing premature aging. This winter intensity is often stronger than the midday summer sun. Without fail, a moisturizer with the formulation of UVA/UVB protection should be applied to your skin every single day to protect your skin from the damaging rays. SPF should be applied to both the face and the neck every two hours when outside.

Practice proper product order

Products are most effective when properly applied in the correct order: cleanser, toner, serum, eye serum and then moisturizer morning and night. During the day, follow the moisturizer with a SPF.

Skin care is complex, and with such a wide variety of available products, it can be overwhelming. That’s where the expertise of an esthetician can be your best skin care ally. During a facial service, estheticians can guide you how to care for your skin at home to maintain healthy skin for a lifetime.

Jenn Ross-Boshes is a licensed master esthetician, certified health coach and the owner of Beauty Mark with locations in Camden and Portland. Jenn is passionate about the skin care industry and continuing education for both herself and her team of estheticians. She lives in Yarmouth with her husband, two children and dog, Domino.

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