Chicagoans are no strangers to frigid weather. Cold winter conditions in the city are harsh on the skin, but while we are so desperately focused on just staying warm, it's easy not to notice the toll it takes on your skin until you are all dried out and flaky. Below we've got some simple everyday strategies for staying ahead of the cold weather and keeping your skin healthy all winter long.
Now is the perfect time to be your best self.
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Keep it moving
Exercise is great for your skin! Physical activity increases your circulation, bringing freshly oxygenated blood to your skin to help draw out toxins. Sweat pushes those toxins out of your body, and helps to keep your pores clear. Exercise also helps your body produce collagen, a protein essential for healthy, glowing skin. Of course, we can't include the benefits of exercise without mentioning the boost of endorphins you get when you work out. And why does that matter? Well, aside from just improving your mood and making you feel good, increased endorphins can lead to lower stress, and therefore lower cortisol levels - that dreaded stress hormone that leads to belly fat and skin breakouts. So especially in these winter months, keep a regular workout routine to keep your skin and your body healthy. Find your favorite fitness class and work out that frigid weather!
Steam it out
The ancient practice of steaming your skin serves multiple purposes. Aside from the relaxing experience and ability for steam to release muscle tension, the hot vapors also open your pores and gently draw out impurities, increase circulation and hydrates your skin. So after your next Ballet Burn class, take a few minutes to hop into the gym steam room and let the heat heal you from the outside in. Facial steams can also be an easy and relaxing addition to your home routine. Using herbs or essential oils include the added benefits of aromatherapy. Not to mention, steam is a cozy way to ward off that winter chill for your mind, body and skin!
Keep covered up
Our natural barrier to cold weather is also our most logical protector of its harsh effects! Especially in Chicago, those winds whip hard, and standing on the Belmont platform on your way home from Lakeview Athletic Club, you are pretty much at the mercy of full throttle Chicago winter while waiting in agony for your train. The less your skin is exposed, the more protected it will be, so bundle up! Opt for soft, natural fibers to keep your skin happiest. For example, silk base layers keep your body warm while also allowing your skin to breathe by drying quickly and wicking away moisture, while a lot of times wool can be scratchy and irritating for your skin. For scarves or any other materials around your face, cashmere is a warm and luxuriously soft option, but just be sure not to wear materials that are rough rubbing up against your face. Your skin will thank you!
Use lukewarm water for washing
Sure, a hot bath or shower feels soooooooo good when you are coming in out of the cold. But hot water can actually strip the natural oils from your skin, decreasing the protective qualities of those oils from the drying effects of indoor heating, low humidity and chilling winds. When possible, use lukewarm water to wash your face, using gentle circular motions and avoiding vigorous rubbing. Then pat dry gently with a towel to promote soft, happy, healthy skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!!
This one may logically appear to be a no brainer, but when we're running late in the morning sometimes this seems like a easy step to skip to save time. Don't skip it! Applying moisturizer to damp skin after showering will help skin retain that natural hydration. Try to avoid water based moisturizers and splurge on ones with healthy nourishing ingredients like jojoba, chamomile, cocoa butter or avocado oil. For deep moisturizing, you can apply baby oil to your skin while still in the shower. When you get out, just pat your skin dry gently to allow the oil to absorb into the skin. This with help keep up your healthy glow during the winter months.
Water is essential for healthy skin, but in these cold winter months we often turn to tea, hot cocoa, delicious ciders or indulgent mulled wines to take the chill away. Don't skimp on your H2O! Remember to drink at least 8 - 8oz glasses of water per day. To make it easier, don't go for the cold water right out of the cooler. Drink water at room temperature, and added squeeze of fresh lemon to help boost hydration. Bored with regular water? Try infusing your water to keep it interesting, and add different healthy and detoxifying benefits! Hydrated skin is happy skin.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and just the rigmarole of keeping warm in the winter, we can often sacrifice a solid night of zzzz's. However, sleep is essential for repairing our bodies, and that includes our skin! It is during the sweet hours of slumber that our cells are able to rejuvenate, repair and refresh. If you skimp on sleep, you increase those nasty cortisol hormones, decrease nourishing blood flow to your face, increase skin susceptibility to inflammation and will end up with more wrinkles faster! So get your solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night this winter, and keep healthy Winter skin all the way through to Spring!