5 Tips for more hydrated winter skin

Autumn has arrived, and while we in the Northwest are welcoming the wettest season of our year, the moisture in our skin is starting to evaporate and will become drier and drier as winter approaches. Due to the increased use of artificial, forced-air heat that we begin to rely on this time of year and the natural inclination to hop into a hot shower to warm up, our skin is set to become as dry and brittle as the leaves crunching underfoot.

This is the number one concern I hear from my clients as winter approaches. And so, to help guide you to your best winter skin yet, these are my top 5 tips for keeping your skin hydrated and happy during fall and winter.


  1. Turn down the heat

    My brother and I used to crank the heat when we got home from school in the winter, and when my mom came home she would yell, “Why can’t you kids put on a sweater?!” And while I know her concern was more about having to pay a gigantic heating bill, she was right.

    The water in your skin evaporates much more quickly in a hot, dry environment. If you’ve ever vacationed in the desert, you know what I’m talking about. (where my Coachella heads at?)

    So try keeping the ambient temperature in your home, car and office on the low side of warm. 55 - 65 degrees should be just about right for most people, and once you do what mom says and put on a sweater (and maybe socks) you’ll feel plenty warm without adding super dry skin to your list of wintertime complaints.


2. Cool down your shower

Let me paint you a picture. You get out of bed and the minute your feet touch the floor a cold shiver runs up your spine. You run to the bathroom and turn on the shower as hot as it will go, then you turn it down a *little and hop in, grateful to be warm. Does this sound like you? I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this myself. But trust me when I say that you aren’t doing your skin any favors when you do it.

Hot water causes scalding and massive evaporation of moisture in the skin. It can take hours for the skin to cool back down again, and it causes broken capillaries in the process. Try getting in the shower after turning it down to a medium-warm temperature and gradually turning it down as you warm up. Tepid water is optimum, but the low end of warm is totally fine too.


3. Moisturize your skin. ALL of it.

Do you have a skincare routine? Do you include your body skin in that routine? If not, you definitely should. Even in the summer months, when air conditioning is drying out your skin, it’s very important to moisturize your body. Our faces get all the attention and care, but moisturizing your body literally only takes a couple of minutes and the rewards are massive. Get into the habit of moisturizing your entire body at least once a day.

Choose products that are free of silicones, parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum and phthalates. These can give a smooth feel to the skin, but they have no benefit whatsoever and can cause further dryness as well as having a toxic load that goes right into your bloodstream. Yikes!

Look for ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium PCA, both of which will help bind moisture to the skin. Natural moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter and cocoa butter and natural oils such as jojoba, sweet almond, coconut and amaranth are ideal for maximum hydration and absorption.

Do you shave or wax? Moisturizing will help prevent ingrown hairs and keeps the skin supple and strong. This allows your razor to glide smoothly across the surface, and for waxers, it allows the hair to release more easily (and less painfully) as well as allowing the wax to adhere better to the hair itself, not to the skin.


4. Use a humidifier

Humidity is your skin’s best friend. Also your sinus tissues and fragile, thin tissues such as the lips and eyes require it, otherwise they need SERIOUS protection to prevent dryness and irritation. Steam rooms are wonderful, if you can find one, but placing a small humidifier in your bedroom at night while you sleep will do wonders for your skin and sinuses.


5. Get a facial

Facials feel great. I think we can all agree that relaxing on a warm massage table while someone rubs your face for 90 minutes is the best nap ever. But the true benefits are-

  1. increased hydration

  2. smoother texture

  3. clearer pores

  4. increased cell turnover

  5. better oxygenation and circulation

  6. better absorption of your at-home skincare products.

The long term benefits are pretty remarkable as well, just ask anyone who’s been getting facials monthly for a decade or more. You’ll look positively radiant and ageless. I’ve been a Skin Therapist for 20 years and my friends always comment on how little I’ve aged.


So hopefully you can see that suffering through winter with dry, sensitized skin is not your destiny. And now that you know my secrets to happier, more hydrated winter skin, here’s a list of my favorite products to help you achieve your best body skin ever.

The Tranquillity line from our favorite italian skincare brand, Comfort Zone, contains a gorgeous blend of essential oils of rose, vetiver, sweet orange, sandalwood and cedarwood to alleviate the states of stress and tension and rebalance body and mind.

Tranquillity Body Lotion

An aromatic, silky body emulsion with a light, hydrating texture that leaves the skin velvety and soft.
Particularly suited to those who love products that absorb quickly and for hot, humid climates.

For those who love light, hydrating lotions which absorb quickly. Suited to hot and humid climates, ideal at the end of the day to calm and alleviate stress.

$46

Tranquillity Body Cream

A rich, nourishing, aromatic body cream that is extremely enveloping and makes the body skincare routine a true ritual of beauty and wellbeing. The rich and precious texture fuses with the skin, bestowing silkiness, profound hydration and a sensation of comfort. 

For all skin conditions, in particular those which are very dry and in temperate and cold climates. Ideal at the end of the day to calm and alleviate stress.

$69

Tranquillity Shower Cream

The creamy texture with a silky effect cleanses even the most delicate skin, thanks to nourishing amaranth oil. The exclusive blend, with its reassuring aromatic notes, alleviates the state of stress and tension and rebalances body and mind.

$33

Tranquillity Oil

This versatile formulation transforms when in contact with water: applied directly to the body, it is a nourishing oil, which bestows a silky effect to the skin without leaving the skin oily, diluted in the bath it transforms from an oil into a milky fluid. 

$91

Tranquillity Hand Cream

This light hand cream absorbs quickly into the skin, bestowing a silky effect and leaving the skin soft and pleasantly scented. The nourishing non-oily texture repairs and protects the hands against environmental aggressions and skin aging.

$27

The Body Active line from Comfort Zone is a unisex, thermogenic body line designed specifically for use pre- and post-workout.

Body Active Booster

This cosmetic gel treatment for the body with a thermogenic ingredient, pure caffeine and carnitine, is recommended to improve the results of fitness activities. (Think cellulite) The practical roll-on applicator makes it very easy to apply to specific areas of the body in need of remodeling.

$49

Body Active Shower Scrub

The natural particles of Black Rice, Green Tea and Silica have differing granular dimension, which is ideal for both a gradual and delicate exfoliation. The delicate natural aroma of Tea Leaves harmonizes with the blend of essential oils of Mint, Eucalyptus, Sage and Rosemary, with a base of Patchouli and Cedarwood, chosen for their energizing action. 

$49

Body Active Cream

Ideal after physical activity, to promote a toning and antioxidant action. The maca polyphenols, from the Peruvian plant with adaptogenic properties, combined with a blend of energizing essential oils, results in an invigorating, firming action.

$67

Sacred Nature Cleansing Oil

Exclusive concentrate of organic oils with a nourishing and elasticizing action. Very effective for improvement of the appearance of stretch marks. Suitable for all skin types, even the most delicate.

Certified cosmetic ECOCERT SAS F-32600

Chemical vs. physical sunscreen- which one is better?

There are a million options when looking at sunscreens. Different formulations, tons of brands, and lots of hype. Most people just grab something convenient that seems to resonate with their beliefs, what they've read online or heard from friends, while a lot of people just grab whatever is on sale at the drugstore. 

No matter which one of these best describes you, I'm willing to bet you still have questions regarding which SPF will work best for you, what ingredients to look for, and the basic differences between mineral and chemical sunscreen. So let's start there...

What is mineral sunscreen?

Mineral (or physical) sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which mainly work by sitting on top of the skin, deflecting and scattering damaging UVA rays away from the skin. They're more commonly referred to as physical blockers.

Pros-

  • Protects against both UVA and UVB rays and is naturally broad spectrum

  • Instantly protects from the sun immediately after it’s applied, no wait needed

  • Lasts longer when in direct UV light but NOT when doing physical activities, getting wet or sweating)

  • Better for sensitive skin because it's less likely to cause a stinging irritation on the skin.

  • Heat-activated skin (like those with rosacea and redness) respond better since the heat and energy given off by the sun is deflected away from the skin

  • Ideal for blemish-prone skin types since it's more likely to be less pore-clogging

  • Longer shelf life

Cons-

  • Can rub off, sweat off and rinse off easily, therefore requiring more frequent reapplication

  • Some formulas can leave a chalky finish on the skin, not always ideal for darker skin types

  • Certain chalky and opaque formulas can be hard to use under makeup

  • Tend to be thicker, requiring more effort to absorb

  • Can tend to cause white drips to show on the skin when sweating

  • Can be less protective if not applied generously and accurately since UV light can penetrate through its molecules

What is chemical sunscreen? 

Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin. They are often referred to as chemical or organic absorbers.

Pros-

  • Tends to be thinner and, therefore, spreads more easily on the skin, making it more wearable for daily use

  • Less is needed to protect the skin because there is no risk of no spaces between the sunscreen molecules after application

  • Formula is easier to add additional treatment ingredients, such as peptides and enzymes, which offer other skin benefits

Cons-

  • Can possibly cause an increase in existing brown spots and discoloration due to a higher internal skin temperature (Over-heated skin can make brown spots worse.)

  • Requires 10 minutes after application to create a protective barrier over the skin

  • Increased chance of irritation and stinging (especially for those who have dry skin with a damaged moisture barrier) due to the multiple ingredients combined in order to achieve broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection

  • The higher the SPF (such as formulas of SPF 50 or greater), the higher the risk of irritation for sensitive skin types

  • The protection it offers has a limited lifespan in direct UV light, so reapplication must be more frequent

  • Increased chance of redness for rosacea-prone skin types because it changes UV rays into heat which can exacerbate flushing

  • The chemical ingredients oxybenzone and oxtinoxate have been banned in Hawaii for posing a risk of degrading coral reef when worn while swimming in the ocean. (This applies to water-resistant beach sunscreens only and not daily use sunscreens or makeup with sunscreen.) Pro tip: When at the beach, wear long-sleeve UV protecting swimwear such as a rash guard to lessen sunscreen getting into ocean waters.

  • Can be pore-clogging, depending on the formula,

  • Can cause stinging if it drips into the eyes from sweat

So, which one is the best choice?

The answer is, it depends. If you have sensitive skin, easily overheated skin, hyperpigmentation, or freckle easily, stick with mineral sunscreens. If you have pretty normal skin that's not easily irritated, or if you're not swimming in the ocean, you could opt for a chemical sunscreen.  If your main concern is negative impacts on the environment, you can't go wrong with the mineral option.

My personal choice is from a brand that's made locally in Issaquah, WA called Hydropeptide. We carry both the non-tinted SPF 50 and tinted SPF 30 varieties. They contain antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, which allow for better hydration and helps the product melt easily onto the skin without the thick or chalky finish. I personally vetted this brand on my skin during my monthlong trip to Hawaii in February/ March this year, and I absolutely LOVE it. I can also personally recommend LaRoche Posay Anthelios line which comes in a mineral and chemical version, both face and body specific formulas, and both are lovely and melt beautifully into the skin. 

Of course you want to be sure to reapply frequently during times of sun exposure, especially after swimming or sweating.  About every 2 hours is usually a good rule of thumb, but if you're traveling closer to the equator you'll want to reapply every 50-60 minutes. 

Introducing Hydropeptide, our new mineral sunscreen locally made in Issaquah, WA.

With a light texture and silky feel, these sunscreens are the most delicate formulation I’ve ever tried.

I took the non-tinted version with me on a monthlong trip to Hawaii along with 5 other brands, and this was the only one that made the grade. It’s so fresh and hydrating that it was completely functional as a moisturizer, and it felt light enough to layer throughout the day. No bad beach days!

Solar Defense Non-tinted

Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | Titanium Dioxide + Zinc Oxide | Acai + Green Tea | Aloe + Hyaluronic Acid

This advanced sunscreen protects from UVA, UVB and Infrared damage with a combination of physical blockers, weightless hydration and a smooth, scent-free finish.*

  • Helps to protect against free radical damage that lead to fine lines and wrinkles 

  • Replenishes hydration without feeling heavy

  • Helps promote a clear complexion

  • Matte, sheer finish for a natural look

$60

Solar Defense Tinted

Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | Titanium Dioxide + Zinc Oxide | Acai + Green Tea | Aloe + Hyaluronic Acid

This color-adjusting sunscreen offers flawless coverage and a luminous finish with UVA, UVB and Infrared protection. (Same formula you love, we've just updated the packaging!)*

  • Helps to protect against free radical damage that leads to fine lines and wrinkles 

  • Replenishes hydration without feeling heavy

  • Camouflages minor imperfections while promoting a clear complexion

  • Matte, tinted finish for a luminous glow

$60