What Your Skin Wants and Needs This Holiday Season
With the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes behind us, many of us have now turned our attentions to gift giving. You’ve probably started filling out your gift shopping list. Or maybe you’re busy drafting your own holiday wish list ––it’s hard not to do when you’re out there shopping for others. But have you stopped to think about what your skin wants (and needs) this holiday season?
Ok, ok, if that seems cheesy, just stick with me. The fact is, your skin is probably sending you a few hints in the form of itchy, irritated and dry conditions. It’s common this time of year and it’s not pleasant, especially if you live in particularly frigid or dry regions. Here’s a few ways your skin may be sending you clues about what it needs:
Hint #1: Tightness, itching, flaking, or dullness Tightness is typically a trait we want in our skin, but sometimes it can be accompanied by itching and flakiness. That is usually your skin’s way of telling you it’s thirsty. It might be dry or it could be dehydrated. We often use the terms interchangeably but they actually have different meanings. Dry skin, also referred to as alipoid skin, is skin that is lacking in oil whereas dehydrated skin is depleted of moisture in the stratum corneum –– the outer, or barrier layer of the skin. Skin that is dehydrated will often look dull and flake easily. Dehydrated skin is often a sign that dietary and lifestyle changes are needed - plenty of water and less caffeine and alcohol can help.
For both dry and dehydrated skin, don’t forgo the cleanse thinking you’re going to create more dryness. You still need to wash away the impurities daily. However, don’t over-cleanse either. Use a small amount of a gentle, yet effective cleanser, work it into the skin for a couple of minutes, then rinse. If you wash your face well in the evening, you can usually get away with a simple rinse in the morning before applying a moisturizer orday cream. A good mud mask, can go a long way in helping restore dry and dehydrated skin.
Hint #2: Acne, redness, and irritation Different types of blemishes are sending different messages. Cystic acne - the large, deep and painful blemishes that can hang around for weeks at a time - are typically hormonal. Something may be out of whack (which could mean a visit to the doctor). It can also be diet and lifestyle related. Try eliminating sugary foods and replacing them with fruits and veggies, ensuring you’re getting enough sleep, avoiding stressors you can control - you know, healthy living. The smaller, red pimples may be reactions to food or product sensitivities or excess stress. See if you can start to identify relationships between when you break out and what you ate, applied or did. That’ll give you a hint as to the causes.
Of course, blemishes are also trying to tell you that your skin wants some surface attention. A cleanser with salicylic acid will help clear current breakouts and prevent future ones. Carry cleansing pads in your gym bag and stash them in your desk for quick refreshes on the go. Keeping the pores clear and free of bacteria as well as debris is key to getting acne under control.
For both of these conditions, a gentle exfoliation once per week or so will help polish away the dead skin cells, and encourage the rebuilding of new healthy cells. A granular scrub with dragon’s blood will also help heal and soothe irritated skin. Plus, it just sounds cool, doesn’t it?
Pay attention to the messages your skin is sending you. After all, this season tends to be filled with weekly holiday parties and we all want to look our best whether it’s a social outing with colleagues or a dinner party with friends.