I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life, and the cold has never affected my skin. I’ve been a self-proclaimed pizza face since I was about 11 years old, dealing with mostly oily skin and a hint of dryness here and there. But I never experienced the dryness of my friends and colleagues until I moved to Chicago. What was once a normal skin type became irritated, itchy, red, blotchy, and tight the second the weather switched. It was typically a result of my allergies as the season’s changed, but the Windy City ain’t a lie, m’am—that wind blowing on your face every day is not particularly music to a dermatologist’s ears.
As Chicago natives, transplants, and general dry-skin people, our editors have a lot of insight to share on how to keep your skin in tip-top shape the second the season changes. Between our wellness tips to keep your hydration in check to reducing skin irritation to helping your scalp health, we’ve got it all covered. Smooth skin from your head to your toes, in seven steps:
1. Use a hydration multiplier
Did you really expect us to talk about hydration without a little H2O? While we all know to drink our water at this point, what you might not have in your arsenal is a hydration multiplier. Sometimes getting all of your water in just isn’t in the cards, and that’s where a product like this comes in. These products work to replenish electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, so if you find yourself feeling dehydrated (maybe after a cold, with allergies, or stress), these help bring your hydration levels back up.
2. Eat a diet high in water
Drinking water isn’t the only way to hydrate your body. Filling up on fruits and vegetables that have a high water content—like lettuce, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and cauliflower—does the job too. But that’s not the only way either; oatmeal, soups and broths, dairy, and plain yogurt contain high amounts of water too.
3. Limit hot showers
Dermatologists suggest using warm or cool water to shower if you’re prone to irritation and dryness. If you must shower in hot water, try to limit the time you’re under the water. Then, follow with a moisturizing cream or oil. You should also avoid showering every day unless you work out or get dirty in some way.
4. Blot your skin dry
Instead of getting out of the shower and immediately using your towel to rub your skin and hair dry, blot the water off as best as possible, including your scalp. You can even invest in a hair wrap or towel specifically made to keep your hair and scalp healthy while it’s wet. Ever get out of the shower and see your dead skin come off on a towel? Blotting keeps all the moisture locked into your skin and prevents further exfoliation.
5. Don’t forget your feet and hands
Just because pedicure season is on its way out doesn’t mean we can stop hydrating and exfoliating our feet. Give yourself a fall and winter-themed pedicure with a warm soak, an exfoliating mask, and sleeping with a thick moisturizer and some socks.
Notice your hands are feeling a little rough from all the hand-washing too? Do the same: soak in warm water, use an exfoliating mask or scrub, and sleep with a thick moisturizer on and some gloves.
6. Add hydration into every step of your routine
For those with severely dry skin, every product in your routine should have some element that adds to the moisture levels of your skin. Your cleanser shouldn’t be filled with acids; it should contain hyaluronic acid and oils that clean without stripping your skin. Your serums should contain peptides and vitamins (E and C are particularly moisturizing, and C is also brightening!) that keep your skin supple and soft. Focus on hydration with every step. This doesn’t mean you should give up on all of your exfoliating acids and retinol. Instead, invest in those products that don’t strip the oil and contain moisturizing ingredients. Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, for example, is a retinol suspended in a nourishing formula containing avocado, hyaluronic acid, squalane, and other ingredients that balance the drying properties.
7. Treat your scalp like your face
If you’re experiencing dryness on your face, it’s likely on your scalp too. Whether you suffer with dry or oily hair, there is likely build-up (hey dry shampoo!), oils, and irritation going on up there. To combat it, treat your scalp the same way you do your face, and create a routine. First, focus on moisturizing shampoos that hydrate your scalp from the start. Then, implement a deep conditioner that you can use from scalp to ends. We also love adding a scalp scrub to get rid of build-up too.
Aside from a routine, try to limit how often you’re scratching and touching your scalp. This only moves around the oils and causes further irritation.
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