Winter: It’s the best of times (hello, cute coats and vacation time) and the worst of times (hi, stress and icy temperatures!). The season can do a number on our skin: Think dry patches, redness, and irritation etched across our complexions, even when we religiously follow our usual regimens.
So what gives? “It’s as much about what you don’t use on your skin as what you do,” says Hemali Gunt, head of clinical and scientific affairs at Burt’s Bees. Read: You just might need to tweak your cleanse-exfoliate-nourish routine this time of year.
We know you guys can relate, so we turned to our Instagram to ask about your biggest winter skin woes. And guess what? We’ve got answers. Er, Gunt has the answers, including souped-up products from Burt’s Bees that’ll see you through the cold spell. Read on for solutions to your top winter skincare concerns.
Let’s be real: The freezing temperatures outside and the dry heated air inside don’t mix well—especially for those of us with sensitive skin. If dry, flaky skin with a reptilian texture comes to mind, you’re not alone. “Indoor heat has less moisture content, which translates to less moisture on our skin,” explains Gunt. “A humidifier can help counteract this, along with drinking plenty of fluids and consuming high-water whole foods like fruits and greens to help hydrate the body and provide it with antioxidants.”
But what you put on your skin is equally as important as what you feed your body, says Gunt, who recommends staying away from harsh cleansers, exfoliants, and overly hot water, which can strip the skin of moisture and further expose it to the less-than-desirable elements. Instead, focus on products that nourish and hydrate the skin. “Hydrating products help to deliver moisture to the skin but they may or may not also nourish the skin, depending on what ingredients they contain,” Gunt explains.
”Ingredients from nature have complex nutritional profiles, and are often known to be vitamin- and antioxidant-rich,” she continues. “Many of these ingredients—such as butters, oils, waxes from nature—are not only hydrating but also provide essential fatty acids, and others like honey and sugars act as humectants and attract water, meaning you don’t have to choose between hydrating and nourishing skin. With the right formula, you can achieve both.”
If you spend any time outside during the winter, you’ll likely suffer from “wind rage.” You’ll know you’re a victim if you have more than a flushed cheek or rosy glow after being out and about. If windburn happens to you, it means your skin has gotten so dry that it has reached the point of irritation, and restoring the moisture while calming skin is crucial. But obviously, the goal is to not let your skin get to that level of dryness.
“Prevention is always the preferred first line of defense,” explains Gunt. “Protect your skin with hydrating and physical barriers, like a moisturizing day cream paired with a scarf and sunglasses.” (This is especially important for anyone with rosacea or eczema, as the skin barrier is already more susceptible to disruption than the average person.) In terms of moisturizers, we’re all about Burt’s Bees Daily Moisturizing Cream ($15), made with ingredients like aloe, cotton, and rice extracts to soothe sensitive skin while providing a breathable barrier to restore skin health.
When the air outside is cold and dry, the moisture in your skin evaporates more quickly, which leads to skin tightness—that unpleasant feeling where you feel your skin is going to crack at any movement. But as long as you’re keeping yourself hydrated, using a humidifier and incorporating hydrating skincare—like Burt’s Bees Sensitive Skin Care line—you’ll notice a huge difference. The products are made with ingredients like aloe and rice, which are known to hydrate and soothe skin while decreasing signs of inflammation. Another tip from Gunt? “When you’re in the car, try to keep the heating directed at your covered feet to avoid the hot, dry air flowing directly onto exposed facial and hand skin.”