Some people have come around to the idea that SPF isn’t necessary during the darker days of winter, and that their skin may actually benefit from taking a break from sunscreen. At some point, unfortunately, these individuals were misinformed.
You need to continue wearing SPF in the winter. Full stop.
I know that sunscreen isn’t a particularly sexy part of any skincare routine, but its necessity is both boring and enduringly true. You should wear sunscreen every single day that the sun rises. Daily sun protection is essential to aging gracefully, and many of the skin concerns I see in my practice could be mitigated with daily sunscreen usage—everything from redness and uneven skin tone to wrinkles and loss of volume.Find a sunscreen that you enjoy using, even if it means splurging a little. A product that’s a pleasure to use is one you’ll never skip in your routine, and when it comes to the single greatest product for maintaining skin health, you really shouldn’t skip it.
As with nearly all facts of life, there are some notable exceptions to the rule. If you live in parts of Northern Alaska, Greenland, or Scandinavia where the sun may not appear for weeks on end, you could probably do without SPF for a bit. Likewise, there have been times when I’ve spent the entire day indoors in a windowless room and skipped sunscreen for the day. But for the majority of people reading this advice, you really should take protective measures when it comes to sun exposure all year round.
In more practical terms, these shorter days mean that most people who work indoors could administer a thorough application of SPF in the morning and have it protect them against incidental sun exposure all day long. That includes UV protection during their commute and through any windows near their workspace. The caveat is that you need an ample base coat to get away with skipping reapplication later in the day. There’s some debate over how much sunscreen will provide the 2 milligrams per square centimeter required to meet the testing conditions for sunscreen safety, but ¼ teaspoon should deliver sufficient coverage for the face and neck on most people. A quarter teaspoon sounds small, but I’d recommend measuring it out some time—it’s a lot more than you’d think!
Happy Holidays! This is a busy time of year for travel, and I’ve been asked a lot of questions about how to keep skin looking fresh and glowy all winter long—especially when traveling.
Airline travel is the enemy of hydration. Air in plane cabins tends to be exceedingly dry and depletes your skin’s moisture reserves, so the trick to flying with gorgeous skin is making sure you lock in hydration before you fly. Pre-flight, I do a full routine with a gentle cleanse and several hydrating layers.That can include a mist, a hyaluronic acid serum, an oil, and maybe even a balm to top it all off.
During the flight, don’t touch your face. There’s a current trend of performing extensive in-flight facial routines, of which I’m not a fan in most instances. Trying to work through a full routine on a flight gets messy and complicated. Unless you’re lucky enough to fly first class on a long haul or intercontinental flight, you probably don’t have access to the amenities necessary for a thorough cleanse. Plus, the interior of a plane is covered in the bacteria of everyone who rode before you—Purell can only do so much. Your best bet is to avoid touching your face to prevent spreading germs from your environment to your skin.
Once you reach your destination, go through your full skincare routine and feel free to supplement it with an additional hydrating gel mask. And don’t forget to rehydrate! Drinking plenty of water is a good habit to practice every day, but it’s especially important on travel days.
A lot of tips for travel apply to general winter skin woes, as well. Cold wintry air doesn’t hold as much moisture as warm air does, and running a heater dries out the air inside your home even further. Using a humidifier maintains moisture in your environment and helps to counteract winter dryness.
As far as products go, a lot of people gravitate towards heavier cleansers and creams in search of replenishment. I find that adding more layers (rather than richer products) works well for all skin types. If richly textured products are appropriate for your skin type, then that’s absolutely fine! However, a wider range of people can benefit from layering hydrating mists, toners, serums, or facial oils. Apply each new layer when your skin is still damp from the previous product to ensure maximum moisture, and apply an oil as an occlusive last step to lock in all of that hydration. I’m a big fan of using an oil after a lotion or cream to seal it all in.
Lastly, stay away from foaming cleansers in the winter. A true oily skin type may be able to get away with it, but even they would benefit from a non-foaming gel cleanser. Dry skin in particular should seek out cleansing balms, oil cleansers, or cream cleansers during these colder months.
Tell me about your winter skin-saving strategies in the comments below, and I hope you travel safe this holiday season!
Despite my decidedly trend-averse philosophy on skincare, I’ve been delighted to see the booming popularity of jade rollers over the last couple of years. I love jade rolling and believe it can have a place in virtually any skincare and self-care routine.
How Jade Rolling Works
One of jade’s best properties as a skincare tool is that it has poor thermal conductivity, which means it tends to remain at a stable temperature. Rather than heating up with your skin’s warmth, it stays at room temp and feels cool to the touch. Jade, rose quartz, amethyst, and other popular gemstones for rollers are all poor thermal conductors and retain that chilly feel. For skincare fanatics on a budget, glass is also nonconductive and commonly dyed for use in cheap “jade” rollers. If you want the real deal, my personal favorite is the Spa model from Jade Roller Beauty.
The cooling effect helps to constrict blood vessels near skin’s surface. This can calm skin inflammation that arises for many reasons—overcleansing, overexfoliating, overuse of active ingredients, and those blistering hot showers that feel so good in winter but can wreak havoc on your skin. I like to double up on the cooling sensation by using my jade roller over a hydrating gel mask.
What to Expect
Jade rollers don’t perform miracles. It’s important to manage your expectations for what an at-home jade rolling routine can accomplish. It will feel fantastic and relaxing, which I firmly believe affects your outward appearance. When you feel good, you look good! It can increase circulation, which brings more nourishing, oxygenated blood to your skin. When used as part of a lymphatic drainage routine (more on that below), it can help reduce facial puffiness. It will not, however, have a dramatic effect on signs of aging or iron out facial wrinkles.
How I Roll
One of my favorite uses for my jade roller is lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump, so light pressure (such as through massage) and muscle or joint movement (including exercise) are necessary for lymphatic flow. Remember to use a light touch with your jade roller. Lymph vessels are right under skin’s surface, so even very gentle manipulation will provide sufficient stimulation. There’s no need to get super aggressive with it. A delicate touch is especially important around the eye area!
For lymphatic drainage, roll from the centerline of your face outwards. You can start from the center of the forehead out to the hairline, the center of the chin out to the jaw, or outwards from the center of your neck. You’ll get the most benefit by rolling in one direction with each stroke, so don’t apply back-and-forth pressure. Working in zones, go over each area 3-6 times.Check out the video below for a quick demo on how to perform light lymphatic drainage at home with your jade roller!
The area under the eyes, on the cheeks, and just outside of the nose feels particularly amazing—both for calming heat in the skin that tends to present on the cheeks, as well as providing some cooling relief on top of the sinus area. It feels especially wonderful if you’re experiencing any nasal or sinus symptoms during this wintry cold and flu season.
Aside from lymphatic drainage, I also use my jade roller to aid in product absorption. To do this, simply warm your jade roller by placing it in warm water or running it under a hot faucet. Jade’s innate thermal stability means it will hold on to this warmth and impart a warming effect on the skin. Warmth helps to soften skin and make it more receptive to any products you apply. By using a warm jade roller on top of serums or facial oils, those products will penetrate a bit better. This warm treatment feels heavenly during these colder months.
To benefit from both of these application methods, you can start off with a warm roller and a serum, then pop your jade roller in the fridge for a quick cool-down. After a few minutes, pull your jade roller out and finish off with some cooling lymphatic drainage.