With the winter storm dropping temperatures in parts of the US to be colder than anything seen in the last few years, staying warm in your own home has never seemed so appealing. The cold harsh air is probably wreaking havoc on your skin and there's nothing like a snow day to show your skin a little TLC. But before you jump into your skincare routine, it's time to figure out which steps are actually working for you and which ones are not. Despite what the latest health trends may boast, some things may work for you and others may actually be doing your skin more harm than good. So let's look into three of the biggest "must-dos" for skin and figure out if they are in fact a must do for you.

 

The first beauty trend has been praised by beauty gurus and professionals alike: steaming. They praise the process because the steam can help to open up your pores which not only helps when trying to remove blackheads and dirt but can also enable better product absorption. On top of that, the heat can help blood circulation which might be nice if you're looking to get a rosy glow. But while all of these benefits make it seem like steaming is an absolute go-to, it's not always all good. A lot of the effects of steam can be dependent on your skin type. Steaming your face too often can actually lead to negative side effects such as dryness and excessive redness. If you have sensitive skin or suffer from a condition such as rosacea or eczema, it's better to cut down your sessions or just nix them altogether since steaming can further aggravate the skin. Another thing to consider, is the effect on collagen which helps to maintain your skin's firmness. It's recently been found out that heat actually destroys collagen strands in the skin. This can lead to premature aging with loose and wrinkly skin. Unfortunately, steam brings heat into your face which means you'll be exposing yourself to heat that can be damaging your collagen. You may not necessarily have to stop steaming altogether but it's recommended that you limit the amount of times you do it and how often you do it so that you can experience the benefits without the cons. After steaming, it's important to apply your moisturizers and serums quickly so you can lock in the moisture from the steam. An anti-wrinkle cream can be a good option to help offset any possible aging from the heat.

 

If you've ever heard an influencer talk about skincare before, chances are you've heard them mention the importance of exfoliating because of all the benefits. But how much of what you've heard is true? The reality is that exfoliating too often can actually be worse off for you. The point of exfoliating is to remove dead skin and dirt while making way for a fresh and clean layer of skin. But the problem is that exfoliating doesn't discern between healthy skin and dead skin cells and it can often cause more aggravation to the skin. You don't want to be exfoliating every single day as that can actually cause dryness, irritation, and even excessive oiliness. The top layer of your skin is the first line of defense against the environment and it can't do its job properly if you're removing it on a daily basis. While it varies between skin type, you should only be exfoliating a maximum of a couple times a week or waiting even longer between sessions. On top of exfoliating sparingly, make sure not to use too harsh of an exfoliant when you do use it and be sure to moisturize you skin immediately afterwards. Because you'll be exposing a "raw" layer of skin after scrubbing away dead skin cells, it will need protection from the elements asap. When you do choose to exfoliate, consider a natural recipe so you can avoid any drying ingredients that can cause additional aggravation to the skin. 

 

Speaking of the elements, the last must-do we want to look at is sun protection. If you really want to protect your skin, sunscreen can't be skipped so we're not here to argue that. No matter what skin type or skin tone you have, the sun can and still causes damage and premature aging. That being said, we are here to debunk the idea of makeup with SPF. Here's the deal, while any product labeled to have SPF is tested the same way as regular sunscreen, it's simply not very effective. When you apply a foundation or powder that has SPF included, it's very unlikely that you'll be applying a thick enough layer for the product to actually do its job and yes, even if you love to cake that makeup on, it's still rarely actually thick enough for the protective benefits! For this reason, you just can't skip the step of applying actual sunscreen. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use those products. In fact, using them along with sunscreen will just mean added protection which is always a good thing. Just be sure that all your products provide a minimum of SPF 15 and remember that just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that you don't need sun protection. UVA and UVB rays are present even when it's cloudy outside so if you're going to be stepping outside, make sure it's with sunscreen on. If you struggle with looking chalky, you might want to consider a chemical sunscreen which is usually thinner and can help prevent the chalkiness or just shop around for a physical sunscreen until you find one that works.

 

Everyone has different skin and so even the most popular of trends won't necessarily mean they'll work well with your skin. If you're going to show your skin some TLC during your snow day, or any other day for that matter, just make sure that it will actually benefit your skin instead of hurt it. Remember that with any beauty trend or health solution out there, the most important thing to consider is you.