No matter what time of year, it’s important to commit to a proper skin care routine. There are scientific reasons why we should all (read: women and men) take care of our skin. But good news, there’s no need to spend countless hours — and dollars — on your beauty regimen. In fact, there are only 3 things (we’ll get to that) you need to do to show your skin you care. Note that proper skin care becomes even more important as temperatures drop, mainly because cold air, central heating and hot showers can wreak havoc on our skin. But this doesn’t mean that you can drop all those great habits the moment the snow finally melts next spring. It simply means that there are certain little extras you should take into account when it’s cold outside. Why it’s so important to care for your skin 365 days a year First things first, never forget that our skin is our literal shield —it helps us battle the elements, like hot showers, strong winds, and even toxins in the air. But in order for our skin to be effective at its job, it needs to have a healthy, well-preserved outer layer. Why? Because dry, itchy, acne-prone skin is more likely to experience cuts and tears that are an open invitation to germs, infection and more. And, surprise surprise, the colder the temperature, the more dry our skin. Luckily, keeping our skin healthy doesn’t have to be hard work. Below are 3 simple ways to keep our skin at its best, year-round. The trick is, you need to be consistent! 1. Hydrate your skin. Start with our 7 Days to Hydration Health Program, and you can redeem the points you earn as you work towards achieving a healthier lifestyle in our Marketplace! 2. Protect your skin from the elements (e.g., the sun, wind and cold). 3. Avoid skin care products that contain harsh chemicals and perfumes (e.g., parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrance and more). A simple skin care routine your face will love! When it comes to taking care of your skin, routines are important. But not to worry, we’re keeping this simple too. In fact, there are only 3 simple steps you need to follow every morning: (1) wash your face, (2) moisturize, (3) apply sunscreen. Then repeat steps 1 and 2 before bed. Yup, that’s it! And here’s why… Step 1: Wash your face when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Washing our face at the end of the day is a good way to remove the grime our face has accumulated over the course of the day (and wash off makeup, if you wear it). And in the morning, it’s recommended to give it another wash since a lot is going on while we sleep. Just be sure not to use a cleanser that makes your skin feel “tight” as that’s an indication that it’s stealing your skin’s natural oils. Bonus Tip for Winter! When you’re finished washing your face using warm (hot water dries out your skin) water, dab at your face until it is damp-dry, and apply your moisturizer pretty much immediately. This will help seal in the excess water, helping it stay better hydrated. Step 2: Moisturize morning and night. Moisturizing is important — yes, even for oily skin — because our skin needs water to stay hydrated. And the truth is, even the gentlest of cleansers will dry out your face, which is why following with a moisturizer is a must. Otherwise, your skin’s oil-producing glands will go into overdrive, producing an excess amount of oil to make up for what it’s lacking, resulting in — you guessed it! — oily skin. It can be a vicious cycle, but it’s easy enough to put an end to it if you properly moisturize. Bonus Tip for Winter! Keeping your skin hydrated isn’t just about the topical creams you apply to your face. Drinking lots of liquids is a big factor in alleviating dry skin — and good news, a bowl of warm soup on a cold winter’s day is one of many ways to keep yourself (and your skin) hydrated. Step 3: Apply SPF 30 sunscreen every morning, rain or shine. It’s no secret that improper sun care can lead to skin abnormalities or even skin cancer. And considering that the skin on our face spends more time exposed to the sun than the rest of our body, it’s probably no surprise that the face can be one of the hardest hit areas. So don’t skip step 3: Be sure to apply a chemical-free,* zinc-based sunscreen before leaving the house — even on a cloudy day or in the middle of winter. (Did you know that bright white snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s rays on a sunny day?) *Otherwise, you’ll be using harsh chemicals on your face, which as we mentioned above, is a big no-no. Bonus Tip for Winter! When you leave the house on a cold day, be sure to bundle up to avoid exposing your skin to the cold, which can result in dry skin and chapped lips. And by the way, a 3-step skin care routine is not the easy way out — it’s actually better for your skin. Natural products to use on your face From almond oil to dead sea mud, there are lots of natural ingredients that you can incorporate into your skin care routine. If you’re wondering which you can use on your face specifically, it really comes down to your skin type. So while it’s not recommended that a person with oily skin use Aloe Vera for example, someone suffering from dry skin would benefit from it. If you don’t have acne-prone skin, try avocado, castor, coconut, lavender or olive oil to naturally alleviate dry skin in the winter. Applying coconut oil before bed or adding lavender oil to your (not-too-hot) bath are just a couple of great wintertime hacks. See? It’s easy to show your face the love it deserves. Just stick to a simple 3-step routine, avoid harmful ingredients, and consider incorporating natural ingredients that work for your skin type. Contrary to popular belief, proper skin care certainly isn’t simply for the sake of looking like we’re “born with it” — not to say that an improved appearance won’t be a natural consequence of implementing a healthy skin care routine… which is a great motivating factor, wouldn’t you say?