Skin care can be overwhelming. Trying to find products that work well for your skin type, dealing with breakouts, and learning what your complexion needs can easily become a source of contention. With the added pressure of unrealistic beauty standards, building a skin care routine can feel like an equation that you’re trying to solve for perfect skin. In reality, it should be an oasis. A routine just for you that brings relaxation and washes away the day, resetting you emotionally.
The past couple years helped a lot of people shift the way they see skin care, says Kaitlyn Nelson, a board-certified physician associate and trusted esthetician. “It felt like a simpler time without the hustle and bustle. We brought our GRWM routines back down to basics, shifting the focus from full glam makeup to healthy, bare skin,” she tells Bustle. “More time spent at home meant more time to indulge in a skin care routine. Thus, skin care evolved into self-care. For me personally, my nightly skin care is a time to unwind, decompress from the day, and do some creative thinking.”
Skin care has the ability to give you a much needed serotonin boost. Having a routine just for you is an act of self-care, and when you feel like you look good, you feel good. Who couldn’t use a little extra joy with the stress that comes with the holidays (and the mood shift that comes with it getting darker and colder)?
Here are easy ways to hulk up your routine this holiday season, while also keeping skin care a relaxing practice.
Always Wash Your Makeup Off
No matter what time you get home or how tired you are, you should always wash your face before you go to bed. Leaving your makeup on clogs your pores, makes your skin more prone to breakouts, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, which is never good.
Cleansing your face is imperative, says Dr. Zion Ko Lamm, MD a board-certified Internal Medicine physician. “Never go to sleep with makeup on…the minimum should be cleanse and moisturize before bed,” she tells Bustle. Nelson adds, “invest in a cleansing balm to remove heavy make-up and follow with a double cleanse.”
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Your skin changes with the seasons and colder temperatures lead to dryness, so adding extra moisture and using different products is key. Dry, flaky skin is left without the proper protection from the environment and a compromised skin barrier allows moisture to escape and potential irritants to enter the skin.
Swap your gel-based products for cream-based products with emollients, says Nelson. “Look for hyaluronic acid and ceramides, '' she tells Bustle. “Also, don't skimp on exfoliating rough, dull winter skin. One of my favorite ingredients that is both soothing and gently exfoliating is lactic acid. Perfect for a glowing complexion.”
Don’t Ignore What Your Skin Needs
Putting your skin into overdrive can cause breakouts, so don’t ignore them. Having a good spot treatment and pimple patches on hand can help keep your blemishes at bay. Make sure you’re incorporating ingredients that help with issues that arise from more makeup and cold temperatures. “If you're acne prone, a treatment masque can be helpful to combat sebum, inflammation, and breakouts during times of overindulgence,” Nelson says. “Sulfur is my tried-and-true favorite acne fighting ingredient.”
Also, make sure that you are washing your makeup brushes and towels. The more you go out, the more products you use — this means more bacteria is created that can negatively affect your skin.
Prep, Prime, & Protect
You know that washing off your makeup is important, but so is washing your face before you put on makeup. Prepping your skin by cleansing stops dirt from becoming trapped beneath your holiday glam and clogging your pores. Moisturizing keeps your skin from drying out underneath your makeup and priming creates a barrier to protect it.
Remember, protecting your skin also means nourishing your body from the inside out. It can be helpful to add vitamins such as collagen and vitamin C, giving your skin a boost without having to do much in terms of products. Nelson recommends staying hydrated as well. “Alcohol is dehydrating. For dry skin types, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and hydrating the skin when enjoying those holiday cocktails.”
Remember That Skin Care Shouldn’t Be Stressful
Holidays can be stressful, but your skin care routine shouldn’t be. It should be an escape from rushing around to different holiday parties and shopping in the cold weather. Find a routine that works for your lifestyle, Nelson says. “Don't feel pressured to copy the ultra pricey or multiple-step celebrity skin care routine we see on social media if that's not in your wheelhouse. Start with a regimen that feels right to you and practice consistency. If you fall off track, just pick up where you left off. Most importantly, give yourself, and your skin, some grace.”
Kaitlyn Nelson, board-certified physician associate and esthetician
Dr. Zion Ko Lamm, MD, board-certified Internal Medicine physician