by Kyle Bardouche

Between harsh, windy weather outside and central heat sucking the life out of your skin inside, winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin – but it doesn't have to. Your skin's microbiome actually plays a large part in protecting your skin against environmental damage and keeping skin plump and hydrated. By sealing in moisture and protecting your microbiome, you can keep skin smooth and fresh year-round.

 5 Steps to Protect Your Skin in Winter

1. Chill with the hot water.

It's tempting to take long, hot showers on cold days. But hot water drains your hair and skin of moisture that it needs for protection, especially in colder months. Opt for cold or at least cooler showers to keep your skin and scalp healthy and boost your circulation to start the day. If you miss the heat, hit the sauna or steam room instead and sweat out the toxins. Research says going to the sauna 4-7 times a week can have long-term health benefits.

2. Ditch harsh, drying ingredients.

Avoid soaps or skin products with harsh ingredients that mess with your skin's natural protective barrier and leave it vulnerable to damage (i.e. anything with the word sulfate, salicylic acid, alcohol, synthetic fragrances, etc.). That tight, "squeaky clean" feeling after using a harsh soap is actually your skin screaming for moisture. Instead, wash your face with a gentle, non-stripping cleanser like Cleanse+ to help strengthen your skin microbiome's innate ability to protect and hydrate your skin.

3. Up your moisturizing game.

Right after cleansing, follow up with a super hydrating face oil, like Super Face Oil. In fact, it's even better to apply while your skin is still damp to seal in moisture! If you're feeling extra dry, try applying both in the morning and before bed. Nightly Detox is a great addition to your nighttime routine if you want to hydrate while combatting blemishes and clearing your pores.

If you're using any other products on your face, like a toner, be sure to apply the oil last. Oils are emollient, meaning they'll seal moisture and the good stuff in and everything else out.

4. Hydrate from the inside out.

Be sure you're still drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids and colorful fruits and veggies. The right nutrition gives your skin the building blocks it needs to repair and hydrate itself naturally, no matter how harsh the conditions are.

You can also hydrate from the outside in by using a humidifier at night or at your desk. Bringing up the humidity level 

5. Don't skip the SPF.

Cold and gray doesn't mean there are no harmful UV rays - reflective snow and water can increase your risk of wrinkles and skin damage. Look for an SPF 15 or higher. (Pro tip: Super Face Oil is naturally SPF 15 thanks to camellia oil.