Three tips for getting your softest skin
By Jo’Nae Earls
Being confident in the skin you’re in makes connecting with others come naturally. Self-care can make us feel like our very best selves, and that includes nurturing our skin. We’ve curated a guide to finding products with all the best hydrating ingredients to keep your skin feeling soft and glowing all throughout the winter months.
Exfoliation is extremely important in keeping skin soft, but during the winter months, it’s even more important to not overdo it. Scrubbing away at skin can cause premature aging, roughness and exacerbated skin. Licensed esthetician skin care therapist Debra Ann Charles recommends exfoliating your skin one to two times per week.
“Our body is covered with skin, our body’s largest organ, and is our body’s protective covering,” says Charles, owner of Artistry & Aesthetics Studio in Cape Girardeau. “The skin’s top layer is made up of dead skin cells and is the main barrier to penetration by external elements. Our body’s skin is in a constant state of regeneration, which replaces dead skin cells with new skin cells from below. How quickly new skin cells are formed and move to the surface is dependent upon metabolism and aging. Both factors cause the average rate of cell turnover to slow down and result in dead skin cells remaining on the surface for a longer period of time.”
Charles recommends looking for gentle, non-drying, hypo-allergenic exfoliants that contain organic and botanical ingredients.
The most vital step in skin care on this list is moisturizing. There are a few ingredients to look for in your moisturizer to keep winter from affecting your soft skin. Glycerin, ceramides and vitamin C are all ingredients found in moisturizers that aid in deep hydration. Ceramides are fats that naturally occur in our skin, so they help keep our skin soft and bouncy. Glycerin is a humectant, so it helps the skin draw moisture from the air while also maintaining emollient-like properties that help trap moisture in the skin once it’s there. To maintain the most hydration, remember to moisturize every time your face gets wet and apply moisturizer while the skin is still somewhat damp.
“The body is able to absorb 20% of Vitamin C, which is ascorbic acid,” says AnneMarie Miller, esthetician at Belladonna Salon & Spa in Cape Girardeau. “It also has a natural sun protectant in it.”
Miller also emphasizes that while Vitamin C will not replace a daily SPF, it can help your skin fight against harmful UV rays.
In addition, moisturizing masks are the secret ingredient to maintaining smooth skin during the dry, cold months. Miller suggests looking for natural, plant-based ingredients in moisturizing masks such as flower enzymes, shea butter or hibiscus.
What we put into our bodies plays a huge part in what our skin looks and feels like. When we make healthy lifestyle choices, that’s when skincare and self-care become intertwined. Eating nutritiously-dense foods containing Vitamin C, getting a full eight hours of sleep and staying hydrated are all amazing ways to keep your skin in its’ best shape all year long.
“True dehydration can lead to flaky, dull-looking, dry skin, but drinking more water is not always the solution,” says Ellen Gipson, MA, RDN, LD, registered dietitian and owner of Square One Wellness, LLC in Cape Girardeau. “Essential fatty acids must be obtained through the diet, and they work to maintain fluidity and flexibility of cells, leading to soft and smooth skin. Foods rich in Vitamin E and C like vegetable oils, seeds, dark leafy greens, meats, citrus fruits and vegetables support collagen formation, protect against sun damage and preventing wrinkles and aging. A healthy life goes back to basics: eat real food, sweat often, drink lots of water and go to sleep if you’re tired.”
These habits can also aid in maintaining good physical and mental health, which is even more important when winter comes and we’re less likely to reap the benefits of sunlight.
Touch is a connection, so make sure to give your skin some extra TLC this winter; you deserve to feel your very best — inside and out.