Winter is rude. This is what many Black people call "ashy weather".
ash·y /ˈaSHē/ adjective 1. of a pale grayish color; ashen. 2. covered with, consisting of, or resembling ashes.
You know that nook in between your thumb and index finger and how it gets really dry during this time of year? If it looks dry and cracked, you are ashy. Ashy can also refer to your behavior, but this is not a roast blog post. This post is all about how to avoid getting dried out this winter.
1. Avoid extremely hot showers. Dermatologist recommend avoiding extremely hot showers, especially in the winter. The hot water causes itchy, dry skin and prevents the skin from retaining moisture. Excessively hot showers can lead to inflammation of the skin. Instead, opt for a warm shower, which is kinder to your skin.
2. MOISTURIZE. I cannot stress this enough, but moisturizing is important year round, but even more so in cold and dry winter months. The best time to moisturize is as soon as you get out of the shower. Assuming that you listened to tip number 1, your skin will lock in the moisture and leave you feeling extra hydrated. I recommend Biossance 100% Squalene Oil, which is a vegan, cruelty free, and sustainably resourced oil. Our skin naturally produces squalene oil but starts to slow down production in our 20s, using this oil will help keep skin feeling hydrated, soft, and soothed from redness. I suggest adding a few drops to your fragrance free moisturizer, such as Cetaphil, Eucerin, or Shea butter.
3. Invest in a humidifier. Humidifiers are great because they restore moisture into the air in your home. Place one in your bedroom for use at night while you sleep. This will also help to avoid that dry, parched feeling you have in your mouth and nose when you wake up in the morning.
4. Adjust your skin care routine. Winter calls for a revision to your skin care routine. Try using a cleansing oil or a cleanser that boosts your moisture and hydration, avoid cleansers that strip your skin. Use gentle exfoliation if your skin is getting flaky, but keep in mind that too much exfoliating can cause irritation. You can also exfoliate using gentle acids like products containing AHA or BHA, I recommend The Ordinary AHA 30% + 2% BHA peeling solution, which contains glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid, all of which are good for reducing fine lines, wrinkles, uneven, and dull skin.
Sheet masks are also great during the winter and give you a boost of hydration. I am a big fan of the pūrlisse Blue Lotus + White Tea sheet masks, which are perfect for anti-inflammatory and anti-redness protection from harsh UV rays.
5. HYDRATE. This is not a drill! DRINK. YOUR. WATER. Carry a water bottle or an adult sippy cup, whatever will keep you hydrated. Make sure you are drinking enough for your body weight, level of activity, and the climate that you live in. Read more here for tips on the right amount to drink. But a general rule of thumb is 8 x 8 or 8 ounces of water, 8 times a day. Please remember that you can drink too much water, so make sure you find the right amount for you.
6. Wear sunscreen. This along with Tip #5 should be a given, but wear your sunscreen. Especially on those gray winter days. I recommend anything 30 SPF and above.
7. Adjust the temperature at home. You may find it hard to resist the urge to crank up your thermostat to combat the low winter temperatures, but think twice (and grab a sweater) before doing so, your skin and heating bill will thank you. The hotter the house, the drier the air and the ashier the skin. Heating and cooling experts recommend keeping your home between a comfortable 68 - 70 degrees.
8. Take care of your lips. Please be good to your puckers. Your lips are not safe from being ashy, in fact, they can get down right cracked, dry, and painful. To avoid that, make sure that you are exfoliating your lips with a gentle lip scrub, using a moisturizing and hydrating lip balm, and a night lip mask. I recommend Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask and BITE Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub to smooth away rough patches. Beauty guru, @MakeupByDenise recommends some of the best products for dry lips at all budgets.
9. Avoid itchy fabrics. Wool may keep you warm but it can also irritate the skin. It is best to wear soft, breathable layers that don't cause itchiness or irritate the skin.
10. Protect your skin from the cold. When your mother bundled you up with scarves, hats, and gloves she had the right idea. If you absolutely must go outside during the blistering cold, make sure that your skin is protected and that you are not exposing too much skin. The UV rays, wind, and sub-zero temperatures can cause red and sun-burnt skin. But equally important is to get out of those damp layers as soon as you get indoors.
Hopefully these tips help you avoid being ashy and if all else fails, move to Miami.
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