Between the brisk outdoor weather and the indoor heating, winter can make a royal mess out of just about anyone’s skin — dryness seemingly spares no one. But how do you come up with a skin care plan that suits all of the different skin types in your family?
More: Cold weather causes of dry skin
We asked two skin care experts to offer some insight into skin care tips for the entire family. Here’s what they shared with us.
1. Start with a gentle cleanser
No matter what age you are, you want to avoid anything that will leach any more moisture out of your already dry skin. Skip gel cleansers and beeline for something more moisturizing, says beauty guru Jonny Sherwood, owner of Jonny Cosmetics and Studio M in Charleston, South Carolina. If your skin is extremely dry or irritated, you can look into cleansers labeled “sensitive” or “for dry skin.”
Because washing in and of itself can dry skin further, take it easy. In general, cut tub time down for the kids to less than half an hour. Adults should streamline their showers to the tune of 10 minutes or less. Water should be lukewarm and, for those suffering from severely chapped or peeling skin, facial cleansing should be limited to once per day.
2. Quench your skin (then quench it again)
If there is one resounding sentiment echoed by all skin care experts we’ve ever polled, it is to keep your skin hydrated. Or, as Sherwood emphatically puts it, “Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!” He suggests going a natural route, recommending that you “moisturize with fractionated coconut oil in the morning, and use a heavier emollient like grape seed oil at night — preferably cold-pressed.”
More: Get healthy-looking skin for every skin type
For kids, consider working moisturizer in immediately after they get out of the tub. To keep the lotion from getting all over their sheets instead of their skin, turn the ritual into a relaxing pre-bedtime massage. Not only will they sleep better, but their skin will stay hydrated, too! Another pro trick? Slather a heavy moisturizer on your family’s feet at night, slip on a pair of socks and let the lotion do its thing while you sleep. Plus, it’s super cozy.
3. Look for products that do double-duty
It can be tricky keeping up with different products for every member of your household, especially when you’re part of a big family. For cosmetologist Robin Rast, the key has been in researching and pinpointing products that work for more than one member of her household. “As a mother of three — two with extremely dry skin, one with combination and myself with normal to dry — I have found the Philosophy brand a top choice for my girls and I,” Rast explains, adding, “Their body washes and lotions are gentle enough for my girls’ skin, so they don’t irritate, but rich enough to hydrate.”
4. But don’t neglect specific needs
If you’re lucky enough to find a skin line your entire family loves and that works with everyone in the household’s unique skin chemistry, count your lucky stars (and pray they never discontinue the line — ha!). But don’t overlook products that tailor to age-specific skin care needs, either as an add-on to the family-friendly product you found or as a stand-alone. For adults, Sherwood points out the anti-aging component of winter skin care for adults. “To help with fine lines,” he suggests, “add a couple of drops of 100 percent pure grade frankincense.”
5. Wear sunscreen
Yes, sunscreen. Too much exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging, sunspots and even skin cancer. And ever though it may not look like the sun is out, that’s exactly why you are more susceptible to sun’s damage in the winter — you don’t expect it! However, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays and, even in non-snowy areas, up to 80 percent of UV rays reach the ground on a typical cloudy winter day. Kids should use formulas with a minimum of SPF 30 when they’re playing outdoors. Since kids with dry skin need a daily moisturizer anyway, opt for one with SPF built in. Moms and Dads, you should be using a daily SPF 30, too.
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