Time to Winterize

by Marie Veronique Nadeau

Winter Skin Protection and Hydration Tips

Winter Skin Protection and Hydration Tips

Winter weather calls for knit hats, cozy sweaters and a crucial modification of your skin care routine. Here are five tips to make the seasonal transition a little easier on you and your skin.

Use UVA protection every day, rain or shine. No excuses!

We now know that the best way to delay the visible signs of aging is to make year-round UV protection part of your daily routine. Ideally your UV protection will contain zinc oxide, proven to provide the broadest spectrum of protection, up to 400 nm. This covers the whole UVB and UVA range, i.e., from 280 to 400 nm.

Know when to use an SPF 25-30.

The earth orbits away from the sun during winter, especially in the northern latitudes, so an SPF of 15-20 is usually sufficient during fall and winter months. However under certain conditions, such as when engaging in winter sports, you'll want to use SPF 25-30 to prevent sunburn. UV levels are greater in wide-open spaces, especially when highly reflective surfaces like snow and sand are present. In fact, UV exposure can nearly double when UV rays are reflected from the snow.


The stratum corneum, skin's top layer, holds in moisture and protects against all sorts of environmental assault, including cold, wind, glare and UV rays. This lipid barrier requires almost constant replenishment because these assaults, as well as too much indoor heating, lead to lipid loss, which compromises the barrier's integrity. For most seasons, replenishing with a good oil blend rich in essential fatty acids—once at night (for oily skins) or twice daily, morning and night (for dry and normal skins), may be fine. However, winter's cold air and wind suck moisture out of the skin, requiring more frequent usage. Especially after outdoor activities, be sure to apply another layer of your oil blend to replenish those lost lipids.

Take your vitamin C.

We use huge amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidants during the winter months as our bodies fight off flu and rhinoviruses, to which we're highly susceptible at this time of year. In addition to taking vitamin C internally, apply l-ascorbic acid topically to ensure that your skin will have the vitamin C it needs to synthesize collagen and fight off free radical damage.

Other antioxidants are also vital.

Vitamins A, B complex, C and E all work to create your skin’s safety net—reducing the harm environmental assaults can do to the stratum corneum. In turn, everything is affected, from how much fluid your skin retains to how effectively waste products are carried away from cells.

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