Yesterday evening, I ventured outdoors for the first time since the storm began. In addition to the mounds of snow that came up to my waist and slick ice waiting to trip a passerby, I noticed something else that is characteristic of Chicago winters, the freezing cold wind whipping in my face. Even when you're bundled up in the most Eskimo-like attire you own, the cold wind can still cause irritation and dryness for any skin that is exposed. And it's pretty hard to not expose your face.
Winter is the time when many people's skin starts to feel itchy, dry and flaky. I know...it sucks. Fortunately, there are things that you can do about it. As a Chicago native, I have had the rare opportunity to experience every type of weather known to man, all in one city. Over the years I have adopted some skin care practices that really help a lot during this frigid time of year, and I am going to share them with you here. Trust me, if these tips can help your skin stand up to the harsh Chicago weather, then they will work ANYWHERE.
First things first: Do you know how easy it is to get dehydrated in winter? How many people do you see toting around a big bottle of Fiji during the Winter months? In addition to that, any heating systems at your work and/or home that use forced air can dry the air out, contributing even more to the lack of moisture in your skin. To combat this, I made the following changes:
- Since I get sick of drinking room temperature water all day long (I am rarely thirsty enough to drink ANYTHING cold during winter months) I bought a non-caffeinated herbal tea that I really like, and so that I won't pack on hella weight from my tea drinking, I get flavors that taste good unsweetened. The non-caffeinated tea counts toward my daily water intake, and I also get the added benefit of antioxidants. So yeah. If you can figure out a way to make "Tea me" sound as cool as "Beer me," please let me know, because I think I'm ready to start saying that now.
- I have central air at home which dries the air out like nobody's business. To remedy this, I purchased a high quality humidifier. Not only does it keep moisture in my skin, but I get great sleep and I'm far less likely to wake up dying of thirst in the middle of the night and step on my cat on my way to the fridge. He really hates it when I do that.
Exfoliation is really important during this time of year. Needless to say, when you're enduring windy, single digit degree days, you're bound to acquire some dead skin cells. Exfoliating routinely improves the quality and tone of your skin by removing the dead cells. Oh...I forgot to mention...you still have to wear sunscreen, too. I use products that have a low SPF because I'm not really standing around in the sun much during winter. If you're one of those people who think it's fun to have snowball fights and go skiing and sledding, then you'll need a good quality sunscreen on your face before hanging out in the snow. Personally, I'll never understand the concept behind having fun in snow. To me, if it's not hot, it's not fun. (Giggedy.)
While pampering your skin during this frosty time of year, avoid using harsh masks and peels if your skin gets really dry during winter. It will only make matters worse. Instead, use a cleansing lotion or a toner with no alcohol since alcohol can strip natural oils from your skin. This might sound crazy, but I like to use apple cider vinegar as a toner on my face. It's gentle on my skin while dissolving dead skin cells and stimulating circulation. Click here to learn how you can make an apple cider vinegar toner at home.
Last but certainly not least, use foot lotions generously in winters. G-E-N-E-R-O-U-S-L-Y. Once you let your feel get bad, it's pretty much like you're throwing in the towel until Spring. DON'T LET WINTER WIN! (I hate that bitch.) During this time of year, you need stronger moisturizers for your feet, like the ones which contain vaseline or glycerin. I slather a ton of it on my feet and sleep in socks to keep my feet presentable. It totally works. Exfoliate your feet regularly to get rid of the dead skin OR treat yourself to a pedicure. Not only will the wait for a pedi at this time of year be far shorter than during other months, but many salons have a sale going on for pedicures due to the fact that business gets really slow in winter. If you're a Chicagoan, check out my favorite place for an inexpensive pedi, Fantasy Nails & Spa at 1743 West North Avenue. They do an amazing job and they give you a leg massage and everything. And they use high quality nail polish, none of that cheap shit that chips off in a few days. The polish on my last pedicure lasted for 3 weeks. It's also the place where I get my crazy nail art. When you go, ask for Jackie, tell her Nikki Lynette sent you. She'll hook you up.
I hope these tips were helpful. If you have any great winter skin remedies, PLEASE post them in the comment section below. Winter is all about pampering yourself so that you can be a thing of beauty by the time Spring rolls back around, so that you will command every eye in the room when you walk in and say "Tea me!" You know what...I don't think that's ever gonna sound cool. That is the one part of this blog that I would urge to to forget.