Just in Case: How to Prep Your Skin for Six More Weeks of Winter
If Punxsutawney Phil’s track record is to be believed (he predicted six more weeks of winter 103 out of the last 130 times), we’re in for more life-sucking, moisture-depleting assaults on our skin. But it’s not too late to prep your skin for six more weeks of winter. We’ve got some easy tips you can follow to protect that moisture barrier (including one involving Vaseline!).
We have a lot of weird holidays in America. Some are offensive (Columbus Day), some are well-meaning but useless (Arbor Day), and some are bizarrely cute like Groundhog Day. Every February 2nd, they do a big production in Pennsylvania and trot out a darling little chubby groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil. If he sees his shadow and is scared, he’ll duck back into his den, signaling six more weeks of winter. If he’s a brave dude and the day is overcast and shadowless, he’ll come out and herald in spring. While his predictions are only about 39% accurate, it’s a fun way to guess if we’re doomed to more cold, dry weather or not. Adorable!
But I’m a pretty pessimistic person. The glass is always half empty, and I’m always thinking worst case scenario and the sky is falling. The bright side of that is I’m usually prepared for the worst.
So if that little furry bastard can’t man up to his shadow the way we all had to man up to the hellscape that was 2017, you should be prepared. Let’s fortify our skin against disaster, like a Doomsday prepper stocking his insane cabin up for the end times.
I’ve got four tips to help you prep your skin for six more weeks of winter.
Step 1: A gentle or even no cleanser
If your skin is oily year round, I envy you. The comfort and lubrication of your oil is the envy of us dry mummies. However, even the oiliest of folks will see a slowdown in their oil production during the harsh winter months. Now is the time to really baby your skin and ensure cleansing doesn’t overly strip your skin. A gentle cleanser is a must here so if you’re not already using a low pH cleanser, now is definitely the time to use one.
I have heard the argument from a lot of overly oily people that they need the stronger (high pH foaming) cleansers for summer months, so now’s the perfect time to give a low pH one a whirl. The Innisfree 5.5 Blueberry Cleanser or the COSRX Low pH Gel Cleanser are excellent low priced cleansers to introduce you into the low stripping, low pH world.
If you’re of the dry skin persuasion, you have all my empathy and sympathy. During this time of year I usually give up morning cleansing all together. Instead I just go straight to my moisturizing toner. In my case it’s the SanDaWha Liposome Skin Softener. Without all that water and cleanser taking away my precious moisture in the morning, my dry skin is kept at bay for a lot longer throughout the day. However, if you currently have dry skin and acne, it’s best to maybe continue on with the low pH cleanser until you get it under control. Just make sure you’re not overly drying out your skin as that can make acne much worse. Once your acne is handled, try skipping your morning cleanser again. You’ll notice a huge difference in how your skin feels throughout the day.
Step 2: A hydrating toner
At this crucial time of the year, after your skin’s been beaten down by wind and dry recycled air, it’s time for a more substantial toner, as I alluded to earlier. What you want is a thicker, less watery product. Think of it behaving more like a pre-serum than a toner. This is going to give your moisture levels a bigger boost, especially if you combine it with the 7-skin method.
SanDaWha is obviously my favorite. There’s also great options from Blithe, which makes the Vital Treatment Pulp Essence that I’ve used as a toner before with great results. Really, it’s just about what product is going to pack in as much moisture and goodies as it can, and the thicker the better. I also had success with my CELLNCO Rose Therapy Nutrient Boost Ampoule used in my toner step. I didn’t think too much of it as a dedicated ampoule, but it smells great and works well as a layering, hydrating toner step.
Step 3: Oil, oil, oil
Oil is essential for extended dry periods. There’s nothing better than oil to lubricate and soothe your skin. Even if you’re oily, you can still use a lighter oil like jojoba on your drier cheek areas. Squalane is another great option for the oily as it sinks in almost immediately and is one of the “drier” oil options. Point is, you need an oil, especially now. We’re looking to build up our reserves here. If your heating system at work or home is especially harsh, I would even suggest misting yourself every couple of hours with a spray oil like SanDaWha Camellia Whitening Oil Mist. Anything to keep your skin happy and hydrated! Pretend you’re the Tin Man, ‘cause baby, you need oil to keep running. Trust me.
Step 4: Seal it in!
Extended winters are so nasty. Did you know that one of the best ways to keep all of the skin-ravaging dryness out is to seal in all the good work you’ve done at night? Do you know one of the best and cheapest ways to do that? Petroleum jelly. Yep.
I know what you’re thinking: “Surely that’s going to clog my pores!” Nope! There are no comedogenic properties in Vaseline or other 100% petroleum jelly products, so you have no worries about clogged pores. You can read about it here (in French or use Google translate). And as an informative Lab Muffin IG post pointed out, Vaseline is not just a plain old occlusive sealing in moisture. It actually has its own benefits and can change skin function for the better:
“Petroleum jelly does actually sink into the outer layers of your stratum corneum and helps it reorganise so it forms a better barrier. Additionally, in a study on patients with atopic dermatitis, petroleum jelly increased the production of antimicrobial peptides, thickened the stratum corneum and changed the way skin cells differentiated (for the better).
And even if it only occlusive, it’s underestimated how important this can be! Your skin processes respond to hydration levels, so lowering TEWL [transepidermal water loss] and keeping the water content of the SC high can make a huge difference to your skin.”
All of that for like $5? Sign me up. Go ahead and make a run to your drugstore aisle and grab a jar of Vaseline. Coupled with the steps I listed above, it’s one of the best defenses you have against an unusually long winter. Hell, if it’s not fancy enough for you, craft one of these during one of the bitterly cold, long days you’re snowed in:
So come at me, groundhog! I may be salty about the potential cold, but my skin is going to be sweet until the spring thaw.
How are you going to prep your skin for six more weeks of winter if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow? And will you actually give Vaseline a try now? Let’s talk about it!