how to get (and keep) healthy, glowing skin year round

My deep obsession with skincare has continued well into 2021 and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and interesting products to try, different actives to introduce into my routine and really making sure I am taking care of my skin the best way I know how. One thing about my mom that I always admired was people were so astonished by her actual age – she never looked it. I remember watching her morning and night skincare routines as a kid but it wasn’t until I was well into my late 20s that I really took skincare seriously.

Up here in Canada, the different seasons bring different challenges when it comes to keeping my skin healthy-looking year round. Global warming seems to be shifting the seasons up. It’s not usually 20+ degrees in mid-October, but I know the cooler temperatures on on their way. My skin used to get so dry in the winter months; the winter winds are unforgiving and the running furnace inside keeps my house incredibly dry (so much so that I get shocked turning on the lights). It’s taken some trial and error, but I’ve finally figured out what works for me to skin looking its best all year.

How to keep your skin healthy and glowing all year round

Hydrate
No, but seriously: Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! This probably helped the most to improve the look of my skin, so much so that I was getting compliments from my friends asking what my secret was – turns out, it’s pretty simple…. I was making a conscious effort to drink about 3-4L of water a day. I know that sounds like a lot (I mean, it is) but I after about a 4-5 weeks I could really start to notice a difference. Remember to be mindful, however, as you can actually consume too much water.

Get Outside
Fresh air is so good for you in so many ways. Since I’ve been stuck at home since last March, I’ve always tried to get out for at least a 30-60 minute walk after work. I’m lucky to have ravine trails right behind my house so it really feels like I’ve left the suburbs and wound up on some remote trail. They say getting outside can reduce stress, and since stress can show up on your face – we’ve all had those stress-related breakouts – lowering our stress levels can never be a bad thing, right? The only time I don’t get outside is when it’s raining, crazy hot/humid or when the windchill is too cold.

Watch Your Products
Did you know that skincare products can also expire? On the bottom of the product, you’ll find a number beside the letter “M” – that tells you how long the product will last once opened (6M = 6 months, etc). Products can also turn rancid if not stored properly – should it be stored in the fridge? Out of direct sunlight? It’s always important to know how to properly store your products and learn what they look like once they turn bad… at that point, it’s time to toss ’em.

Understand Your Products
Are you using a product because it targets a specific concern? Or simply because your favourite influence uses it? This one does take a bit of research but understanding what a product or active does to your skin or what skin concerns they target is really important. Certain products are more suitable for dry skin, but if you naturally have oily skin that might not be the best product for you to use. Also, it’s important that you are using a product correctly – when I first started using retinol, I started with a pea-sized amount once a week and built up to eventually every other night over a few months. I read reviews where people said they felt like a layer of their face came off because they used too much and too frequently. Using the wrong product, or applying a product incorrectly, can lead to breakouts or other reactions.

Seasonal Product Changes
I’m not a huge fan of clay masks in general, but I definitely stay far away from them in the winter. I personally find clay masks incredibly drying and during the dry winter months, they really don’t do anything for me. In the winter, I look for more gel-based masks or other hydrating masks. I also switch to a more creamy/rich moisturizer to help combat the natural dryness in the air. During the spring and summer I lean towards lighter creams. Switching up your products based on the seasons can be helpful to keeping that glow.

SPF
Use SPF everyday – it’s as simple as that… even in the dark winter months, even when it’s raining, even if you’re not able to get outside that day. SPF is super important for healthy-looking skin. If you’re a natural light lover like me, you likely have all your blinds open as much as possible, and even though we won’t get a sunburn from the light coming through our windows, the UV rays can still pass through and cause damage over time. Even if your moisturizer or makeup contain SPF, it’s always good to use a separate product.

Limit Your Concerns
There are a ton of products out there that can target a wide-variety of concerns. We won’t be able to treat everything, and I try to limit my specific concerns to two or three. For me the big ones are fine lines/early signs of aging and dullness, so I gravitate towards products that target those two things. If they happen to help with something else, great!

Eat Those Fruit & Veggies
Eating lots of nutrient-dense foods can help to maintain that healthy glow year round – we are what we eat, after all!

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