If you're like most guys, winter cold means dry, tough skin. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer from it. Harsh soaps and long hot showers to fend off the bitter chills can remove too much oil from your skin. Start by showering in lukewarm water and use a mild soap infused with natural oils to avoid dry, flaky skin. There are some more simple things you can do to keep your skin healthy, bright and ready for anything the season throws your way, especially when it comes to your face. It's all about helping your skin repair and recover.
Daily cleaning gets out all of the dirt, excess oils, and grime that your skin picks up from your times indoors and outside. But cleansers also strip your skin of the natural oils your glands produce to protect it. So how do you find a balance?
Tone and Moisturize
After you clean your skin (using an actual facial cleanser or African black soap or shea butter, using a natural toner like witch hazel or rose water refreshes the skin, tightens the pores and adds balance to that "oily vs. squeaky clean" ratio. Then you should always follow up with a moisturizer (either light or heavy depending on your skin type). Colder weather usually means biting winds outside and really high heat inside. The shifts in temperature inevitably throw your skin out of whack and that's why it's important to seal moisture before you leave home.
A 'part B' to this would be to also use a sunscreen. Yes-- even in the winter. Just because it's cloudy doesn't mean that UVA and UVB rays aren't still breaking through. To protect your skin against things like hyperpigmentation or even skin cancer (melanin helps of course but there still is a possibility with unprotected exposure over time), add a broad spectrum sunscreen to your face care regimen.
Exfoliation stimulates good blood flow and clears away the dead skin cells and debris that can interfere with proper hair growth and clog your pores. Even using a facial scrub twice a week can help to relieve issues with ingrown hairs (more on those in a bit).
Again, always be careful of overuse to avoid drying the skin excessively. And of course follow up with a moisturizer to seal and protect your skin from the elements.
Proper Pre- and Post-Shave Care
It may sound simple, but if you're rushing in the morning it's easy to skip a few steps in a proper shaving routine. You should always use a fresh, sharp blade on clean skin. Use warm water or a pre-shave oil to protect the skin from burn and to encourage razor glide. Then use a shaving agent, like a lubricating cream or a moisturizing gel, to raise the hairs for a smooth shave.
Try your best to limit the number of strokes as to avoid irritation. And make sure to shave in the direction of your hair growth to avoid things like ingrown hairs or razor bumps.
These occur when hairs get trapped in the follicle or grow and curl their way back into the skin, leaving unsightly burn and bumps that can be red and painful. Resist the temptation to pick at them (we know the feeling) and apply a post-shave lotion that has anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce and prevent irritation from shaving.
Use these three tips to keep your skin fresh, smooth, and moisturize all throughout winter. Making good habits is the best way to look your best, all the time.