Winter skin is a strange phenomenon. At first it seems pretty clear; cold weather equals dry skin. But sometimes we don’t live in icy or snowy climates. Winter temps can be cool at best, and still our skin reacts like we are being whipped in the face with an unforgiving torrent of Nordic ice wind. We’re looking at you, sunny LA.
It can be due to tons of other factors: drier weather, artificial air from heaters, or extra stress around the holidays. But we aren’t just plagued with a little extra flakiness or subtle dry patches. Effects can manifest themselves in the form of redness, rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis.
One of the most common forms of dermatitis during this time is perioral dermatitis, which appears like little red bumps around the mouth that aren’t quite pimples but close. It can range from mild to severe and sometimes is triggered from the use of extra heavy moisturizers during this time. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… what’s a girl to do?
Your best bet is to go heavier in the evenings and lighter during the day with products and stay light around any inflammatory rashes, especially with essential oils or acne products. The next best thing you can do is defer to gentle, anti-inflammatory ingredients in your skincare products. Here are some of our favs.
This mild extract from the oil of sweet and sunny marigold flowers is a superhero during the winter months. It’s antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial, which is great news for eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis flare-ups and will keep things clean so you don’t get blackheads from over-moisturizing. While it is an essential oil, it’s more soothing than astringent. It also improves blood flow to the surface of the skin which speeds healing and induces collagen production.
Besides being like, really pretty, blue tansy is also very soothing. It’s actually a yellow flower, and the aromatic chemical chamazulene turns into a vibrant blue color during the distillation process as if to remind us of its cooling effects. Some radiologists even use it as a hydrosol to spray on their patients to soothe burns from radiation therapy. Sabinene and camphor are other chemical components in blue tansy, which are well-known for having antihistamine-like effects and promoting skin healing and calming inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory properties of rose are time-tested. Not only is the fragrance light and timeless, but this ingredient is amazing for rashes and flare-ups and can even reduce redness. It’s perfect year round due to its light nature and anti-aging compounds.
“Your best bet is to go heavier in the evenings, and lighter during the day with products.”
Turmeric is a golden ingredient for tons of skin concerns. This naturally antiseptic spice is mostly known for calming and preventing inflammation, which makes it super soothing for rosacea and eczema. It also reduces redness which makes it a great spot treatment for pimples and red rashes. The curcumin compound that makes turmeric yellow also helps to minimally color correct red spots, so you don’t need to scrub it off too hard.
Licorice root is an excellent herb for soothing inflammation both inside and outside the body. It’s a great tea for sore throats and is often found in lozenges and natural cough remedies. It contains powerful antioxidants to soothe, hydrate, and work against the aging effects of over sun-exposure. It also contains a compound called licochalcone, which helps regulate oil production. This is important since we can often under or overproduce in the winter due to dry conditions. Glycyrrhizin, yet another active compound found in licorice root, is not only anti-inflammatory but works similar to steroid products for itchy skin irritations like eczema.
This lesser known ingredient is sometimes referred to as Centella Asiatica, cica, or gotu kola. It’s best known for evening skin tone but the properties responsible for that beautiful witchcraft is of course, anti-inflammatory. It encourages the production of collagen and new cell growth all while being incredibly soothing. While it does wonders for the complexion all year, winter skin reaps the most benefits.