You’re probably looking forward to bright holiday lights, hot cocoa and the warmth of gathering with family and friends, but you probably aren’t looking forward to flaky skin, cracked heels or ashy arms. Winter is full of so much joy and happiness and if you use the right skin care ingredients, your skin won’t be a source of stress during these cold months. Between the lack of moisture in the air and the constant moving between extreme temperatures, your skin really does need some extra TLC during the winter. Using products that contain one or more of our four favorite hydrating ingredients will help to keep your skin smooth, supple and soft despite the harsh winter environment.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most widely used hydrating skin care ingredients because of its ability to retain moisture. This skin care superstar adds moisture to your skin and is a humectant, meaning that it retains moisture levels in your skin for serious hydration. One of the reasons hyaluronic acid is so popular is because it can hold about 1,000 times its weight in water and it gives the appearance of plumper, smoother skin. When you are looking to add some serious hydration to your skin, look for products that include hyaluronic acid near the top of their ingredient lists as high concentrations give you better results.
Like hyaluronic acid, glycerin is also a humectant. Essentially, glycerin acts like a vacuum and pulls moisture from the air to your skin. Because of this, glycerin is most effective when applied immediately after a shower while your skin is still damp. While some hydrating skin care ingredients are expensive, like hyaluronic acid, glycerin is an inexpensive ingredient which means that it is easy to locate products that contain a high amount of glycerin.
For several years now, oils have been a hot ingredient in skin care products and with good reason. There are oils to suit every skin type and skin concern and they are available at nearly any price point. When it comes to serious hydration, our favorite oils are meadowfoam seed oil and coconut oil. Meadowfoam seed oil is a nutrient rich carrier oil, similar to jojoba oil, that has both moisturizing and antioxidant properties. Meadowfoam seed oil also improves your skin’s barrier function, meaning that it can help keep moisture in your skin and it is suitable for all skin types. Cold-pressed, unrefined, virgin coconut oil is another excellent oil that can address a range of skin care concerns. This oil can be used as a face and body moisturizer and also makes an excellent deep conditioning treatment for your hair.
Ceramides are lipids that are found in cell membranes and they are found in abundance on your outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. Ceramides are linked to your skin’s barrier function, meaning they keep useful things like moisture in while protecting against harmful or damaging environmental elements. Your ceramide levels decline naturally with age and using products containing ceramides add these ingredients to your skin once more. Ceramides absorb quickly into your skin and prevent your skin from losing necessary hydration and moisture.
These four ingredients all have some serious hydrating properties and help to seal moisture into your skin to prevent future moisture loss. To make these ingredients most effective, use on skin that is still slightly damp; your skin absorbs moisture better when it is still a bit wet. Keep your skin from losing unnecessary moisture by using warm instead of hot water. While hot water is so comforting and relaxing, it is also very drying to your skin. Remember to drink plenty of water, wear protective clothing like scarves and gloves and don’t forget the sunscreen even in the darkest days of winter.