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We’ve all heard the warning; winter is coming. Well, winter is here, and it’s gone from kinda cold to harsh winds and mega temperature changes. What suffers first? Your skin! If you’re cuddled up inside under a bunch of blankets wondering how to combat this climate, our friends at Milk Makeup have all the tips to prep for your skin for a polar vortex!
Growing up in Ireland, our mothers and grandmothers would often declare, “Ah, sure ‘tis great drying weather out there.” This was seen to be a good thing – the crisp, chilly temperatures were optimal for airing out freshly washed clothes and bed linens. However, living on the East Coast of America, I’ve come to fear “drying weather” as a different beast altogether.
While the cooler season brings with it many delights—lookin’ @ u, faux fur coats and spiked hot cider— the shift can also wreak havoc on our skin. Skin tends to be driest in the winter as temperatures plummet, and the reliance on central heating, roaring fireplaces, and hot, steamy showers can further reduce humidity in your skin as natural oils dry up.
The same grandmother who preached the importance of drying weather when I was a kid had no shortage of golden nuggets of advice up her sleeve. You know, sensible stuff like rubbing a gold wedding ring on sore eyes to calm them and using flat soda as a drinkable cure-all for any illness. One of her other pearls of wisdom was that I should never stay in the bath long enough to turn into a “wrinkly prune.”
While some of her questionable tips I still adhere to, I turned to Dr. Loretta Ciraldo MD FAAD, a Miami-based dermatologist and co-founder of Dr. Loretta skincare, to get a pro’s advice on how to handle winter skin woes from AM to PM.
When it comes to luxurious winter baths, Dr. Loretta says to avoid the urge to soak in scalding water, even if it’s cold AF outside. “Only bathe in tepid water. Warm and hot water dries you out much more.” Once clean, she recommends patting instead of rubbing yourself dry with a towel to avoid irritation and applying a moisturizing product while your skin surface still feels damp. You know that phrase “trap in the moisture?” This is how it’s done, folks.
“For your face, be sure to use a sulfate-free cleanser, and preferably one with hydrating essential oils and peptides,” she continues. “Then apply a water-trapping serum with a lipid-rich base to lock in moisture for at least six hours after a single application.”
Irritants and drying agents are also a no-no, according to Dr. Loretta. Instead, she recommends singling out “formulas that use hydrating essential oils, marine ingredients that have proven hydration boosting benefits, and bioidentical skin lipids which are the main moisture-trapping element in skin.”
Just like après soak, moisturizing is an essential part of your routine before you catch some Zzzs. According to Katie Sobelman, also known by her online alias The Organic Esthetician, skin is more permeable while we sleep, particularly around midnight.
“Your skin is also more dehydrated during the night due to elevated body temperature and moisture loss through perspiration,” she notes. “Using a richer moisturizer in the evenings ensures your skin is reaping all the benefits of this added moisture.”
Not all moisturizers are created equally, though, so she offered some tips on what ingredients to look for. First up, hyaluronic acid.
“Hyaluronic acid is great for skin that is dehydrated from heaters and cold, dry climates. This humectant holds up to one thousand times its weight in water; pulling moisture from your environment and locking it into your skin,” she says. “Look for low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, also known as hydrolyzed hyaluronate, as this offers a deeper, longer lasting hydration.”
Milk Makeup’s new glow-boosting Watermelon Brightening Face Mask, a solid-clay mask in a stick, contains this *wunderkind* ingredient, alongside watermelon fruit extract, Vitamins C and E, and Matrixyl, a biomimetic peptide, to help simultaneously hydrate and smooth while evening skin tone.
Sobelman also preaches the importance of regular, gentle exfoliation. This is something we should be doing “at least” twice a week.
“Dead skin tends to accumulate in the dryer, colder months – sloughing off dead skin allows for products to penetrate deeper and be more effective,” she says. “For those with more sensitive skin, opt for an acid rather than a scrub. The physical abrasion of a scrub, even a gentle one, can cause irritation and lead to broken capillaries.”
She recommends looking for products containing lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid which penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and increase hydration. “It’s fantastic for dissolving dead surface skin while also leaving it plump and dewy,” she adds.
When it comes to ~ scrubbing up your act ~ Milk Makeup’s new Matcha Detoxifying Face Mask should whet your appetite for a wellness moment without facing the ten-minute wait for a matcha latte.
In half that time, this mask delivers a fReSh complexion thanks to matcha green tea, organic cactus elixir, witch hazel, salicylic acid, and kombucha — because, hey, we did say it’s as much a ‘moment’ as it is a mask.
Finish off with a slick of Milk Makeup’s new Kush Lip Balm, infused with conditioning, hemp-derived cannabis oil. This soothing and softening daily hydrating balm contains shea butter as well as jojoba and olive oils. In short, you can kiss your winter skincare woes goodbye.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.