6 professional skin care strategies for the winter months

For many skin care clients, winter weather brings a whole new set of problems and concerns. Dehydration, dryness, chapping, and itchiness are common complaints.

Some winter skin woes can be fixed with minor adjustments and some are so severe that they can really derail your clients' skin health for the season. Read my expert strategies below to help your spa clients conquer the harsh side effects of winter skin during the cold months to come.

1. Prevent dehydration

Let's face it, once the hot, humid summer months end, the urge to drink water can go along with it. Hot weather makes us sweaty and thirsty and the opposite can happen when we are exposed to colder temps: we lack to desire to drink water.

Be sure to check-in with your clients and encourage them to stay on track when it comes to internal hydration. Even if the craving to drink icy cold beverages has waned, supplement fluids with warm herbal teas and broths.

Dehydrated skin is unhealthy skin prone to redness, flakiness and more clogging oil and congested pores so be sure to see the signs and inquire about this common winter skin outcome.

2. Balance out the effects of dry heat

Like many of our clients, when we turn on the heat in our homes we create a very dry environment in our habitat. Wood burning stoves and radiators, for example, deplete the moisture out of the air. This lack of natural water in the air can cause dry lips, skin, sinuses and take a toll on our lungs.

If your clients are suffering the side effects of dry heat, then recommend a humidifier for their living and sleeping spaces. It's also a good idea to tailor products such as day and night creams to supplement the drying environment of the colder months.

Lotions and lightweight moisturizers that are sufficient during the spring and summer may not be doing an adequate job in the winter so don't be shy about changing things up a bit and consulting with clients frequently.

3. Expect diet changes

Some clients' diets change drastically from summer to fall and winter. In the warmer months, cool salads, raw veggies and green juices go down easy and provide a lot of hydration, vitamins and minerals that benefit the skin.

However, in the cold months, we tend to crave warmer and richer carbohydrate-based foods to satisfy our bodies natural hibernation mode. Don't fail to see that changes in your clients skin can come from dietary changes during the winter season.

Persuade them to get those vitamins and minerals in other ways like soups, vegetable sautés and fortifying and filling slow-cooked chilies and stews. These types of dishes will keep them warm and satisfied but also offer the skin nurturing support of healthy plant-based choices.

4. Consider optimizing immune function

When the days get shorter and our time outside in the sunshine decreases, we may feel less healthy and prone to illness. Advise clients to ask their doctors about testing their vitamin D levels and consider supplementation if levels are low. Vitamin C is also very important for immune function as well as magnesium.

Warm and hot baths with epsom salts and essential oils are a great way to increase circulation and invigorate the lymphatic system. Dry brushing at home is also sensational for the lymphatic system and can help detoxify the body.

Think about offering warming, hydrating and cleansing body wraps at your spa during the chilly winter months and have ample herbal teas on offer in your reception area. As we know, the health of the skin is dependent on the overall health of the body so it's important to assist clients with their overall health and wellness during the winter season.

5. Promote UV protection

Though we don't feel the heat from the sun it doesn't mean we should skimp on daily UV protection. Many clients have a misconception that UV protection is only for the pool, beach and hot summer months.

But we, as skin care practitioners, know that UV protection is a year-round commitment that helps protect the skin from skin cancer and many signs of aging including hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity and wrinkles. Talk to your clients and make sure that they have a daily, physical (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) SPF that they will reach for daily.

If their skin is dry and thirsty, then offer up an emollient and hydrating formulation. Moreover, keep in mind that some clients like to ski and partake in other winter sports that will increase their UV exposure and expose them to other harsh elements like wind and frostbite.

Don't be shy! Be their ultimate skin care source for their winter UV needs and they will appreciate your dedication and professionalism.

6. Encourage corrective and aggressive treatments

Some of the major advantages of winter weather include that the lower temps and less UV exposure are great environmental factors for more aggressive and corrective skin care treatments at your spa.

I like to encourage my clients to invest in a package of chemical peels, laser resurfacing and/or micro-exfoliation treatments this time of year. The winter months are a great time to address the damage caused during the summer and correct it.

Exfoliation, as we know, is also crucial for alleviating dry winter skin. It seems contradictory to our clients, but consistent, professional exfoliation will help them stay hydrated and supple during the dry, cold, winter by removing the thick keratin barrier that could be preventing moisture from entering their skin.

Follow my expert tips and help your clients have skin care success all through the year — but especially in the harsh winter months. Skin care is not a one-size or one-season-fits-all care plan, so be their ultimate source of sound advice and inspiration.