Rehabilitating your Dead Winter Skin

Oof. Your skin has taken a beating over the past couple of weeks, hasn’t it?

Environmental factors in Downtown Toronto are less than ideal; clogged roadways host a seemingly endless progression of cars, each contributing nasty pollutants into the air. The weather, swinging between “sunshine and snow” and “I can’t feel my face!”, also takes a hefty toll on your body. Shivering while walking up Bloor street contributes to those achy muscles you can’t stop complaining about. You’re bundled up, head to toe, in luxurious like down, fur, and cashmere, but one body part is left out, to nakedly face the cold.

It’s your face! 

Skin dry, runny eyes and nose wreaking havoc, stinging tears, wind scraping at raw, angry tissue. 

Luckily, you’ve survived your exams, you've enjoyed your holidays and now it back to routine, back to the cold. Here are some tips, restorative and preventative, to get some life back into your skin this winter.

Image Credit: Jenna Hamra



Moisturizer is an essential all year round, but is even more crucial during these long, bitter winter months. Apply moisturizer in the morning and at night, after washing your face. I like to dot a small amount on my forehead, nose, chin, and both cheeks, then rub it in gently with my clean fingertips. 

Product Recommendation: 

  • Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, $

  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+, $$

  • Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream Moisturizer, $$$

Image Credit: Burst

Face Masks

Face masks are a great “treat” for your skin and can help it perk up quickly. Look for a mask that has moisturizing qualities built-in - hydration is your friend! I recommend using a sheet mask, or a mask that your skin will absorb, rather than a peel-off or rinse-off mask, during the Winter. Pulling at your skin, or scrubbing a mask off can be hard on your damaged skin, and may lead to further irritation.



Time to get rid of those flakes! Exfoliation is extremely beneficial when done in moderation. Scrubbing your face with an exfoliant involves rubbing your skin with small, solid particles, which will help to remove any dead skin, and make room for new, healthy skin. If you are under 30, your skin probably has no trouble renewing itself, and you shouldn’t exfoliate any more than once a week. 




You need to be wearing sunscreen throughout the year! Regardless of your skin tone, or your personal tendency to burn, unprotected skin is vulnerable to UV rays, which can cause hyperpigmentation, skin cancer, and other issues. Don’t risk it. These days, many beauty products, including moisturizers and foundations already have SPF built-in, so you have no excuse.

Moisturizing Foundation

If you're a makeup wearer, you are in luck! Foundation is becoming more and more efficient; in addition to having SPF built-in, some foundation formulas are designed to hydrate your skin while you wear it! For my combination skin, I use matte foundation in the summer, when I’m an oily mess and moisturizing foundation in the winter when my skin is super dry. From personal experience, Maybelline foundations have both of these options, for a low price, and can conveniently be bought at most drugstores. 

Image Credits: Daria Shevtsova

Make Sure You're Drinking Enough Water!

Keeping your body hydrated is so important! Drinking enough water can do great things for your insides, and your outsides, too! How much? At least 2L a day or 8 glasses at home. Trust me; it's one of the best things you can do for yourself, as practical (and free!) self-care. It's one of those things that might be hard to get yourself into, but will seriously make you feel great once you're in the habit. Consuming adequate amounts of water can help to clear your skin up, and will also hydrate it, making it look and feel more supple. 

Image Credit: Craig Adderley

Shower Temperature

Aha, the skin-bullying culprit you weren’t expecting! After a day of bearing the cold and getting s*** done, as soon as I get home, the first thing I want to do is jump into a scalding shower, to warm myself up, as, I’m sure, do you. Unfortunately, we need to find another way. Exposing your skin to water that is too hot can lead you to a host of skin problems, and worsen the ones that you’re already dealing with. Hot showers damage your keratin cells, cause skin conditions, like eczema, to flare up, and cause general irritation. Turn the temperature down, and stick to showers that are moderate in heat and length.