Cold, dry weather, hot, humid weather and pollution can have deathly effects on your skin. In China, we’re lucky enough to have an abundance of all three, meaning your skin will suffer from different ailments at different times of the year. Protect your body’s biggest organ with this all-season skin care guide for China.
Cold, Dry Weather Skin Care Guide
While some southern parts of China remain temperate all year-round, it can get very, very cold a little farther up north. Here are some skin care tips for winter in China.
Start from the Inside
A drop in the mercury also spells a drop in humidity levels, leaving your skin crying out for moisture. It’s therefore crucial to feed it what it needs, namely fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of water. In China we all drink hot water, of course, which is more easily absorbed by the body. It’ll also warm you up while it hydrates you. Bonus!
Don’t Blast the Heat
Although it’s tempting to crank up the heater during the winter months, raising the indoor temperature artificially will dry out the air, and therefore your skin, even more. Opt for less heating and more slippers, furry blankets and hot water bottles. Winter is all about snuggling up and getting cozy after all.
Use a Humidifier
You may already use a dehumidifier in summer, so it makes sense to do the reverse in winter. They’re also MUCH cheaper than their drying counterparts. Set the humidity level to between 45% and 55% and your skin will thank you for it.
Don’t Shower Too Hot or Long
This one is always hard in the depths of the Chinese winter, but showering with very hot water will strip your skin of its natural oils. Shorten your showers and go for warm, rather than hot, water if you can bear it.
Use Gentle Soap
Harsh, antibacterial soaps and shower gels can destroy your skin’s natural moisture barrier, which is the opposite of what you want in a dry, cold winter. Opt for mild, fragrance-free soaps, preferably with moisturizing ingredients such as coconut or olive oil.
Whack on the moisturizer
Moisturize your face and body after every shower. Rather than roughly drying yourself with a towel, blot the excess water off and then apply moisturizer to lock in the hydration. In winter, choose a rich cream over a light lotion.
Go Easy on the Exfoliation
Reduce your exfoliation routine to once a week at most to avoid irritating your skin. Also steer clear of peeling products.
Hot, Humid Weather Skin Care Guide
While a little humidity is good for keeping your skin hydrated, China’s weather doesn’t do things by halves. Humidity levels can be extreme here, especially in the south of the country. When levels top 60% or more, sweat stays on your skin, which makes it greasy and can lead to breakouts. Here are some skin care tips for surviving summer in China.
Washing your face twice each time is important in hot and humid weather, especially if you wear make up. The first wash will remove the surface grease and grime, and the second will penetrate deeper into the pores. Rinsing your face with cold water after the cleanse will also close your pores back up against the nasty world outside.
Use Water/Gel-Based Sunscreen
Humidity and sunshine usually go hand-in-hand, and it’s important to protect your skin against the aging effects of UV during China’s summers. However, oil-based sun creams will sit heavy on your face in hot and humid weather. Seek out gel and water-based varieties. Luckily there are usually plenty of options in Chinese pharmacies.
Ease Up on the Products
If you’ve got a pretty product-heavy beauty routine in the winter months, it’s time to lighten up. The more products and makeup you have on your face in hot and humid weather, the more you’re going to feel like you’re melting. You can usually avoid moisturizing particularly oily ares, such as the T-zone, altogether in summer.
Avoid the temptation to wipe the sweat and oil away from your face with your hands, as this will simply spread the grime further and add extra bacteria to your face. Dab your face with a clean tissue if you must, or better yet use the oil absorbing blotting sheets that are for sale in most toiletry shops in China. They really work wonders!
Anti-Pollution Skin Care Guide
Although it’s made steady progress in recent years, China unfortunately still suffers from serious air pollution from time to time. Longterm exposure to airborne toxins can cause ance, dull and rough skin and eventually lead to wrinkles and premature aging. There are, however, some methods to guard you skin against pollution while in China.
Antioxidants Are Your Friends!
Protecting your skin against pollution should start from the inside-out. Chowing down on antioxidant-rich food will help fend off free-radicals and support the production of healthy skin cells. Berries, red grapes, kidney beans, leafy greens and even dark chocolate contain high levels of antioxidants, so stock up on these and feed your skin what it needs.
Scrub Your Sorrows Away
Regular exfoliation will help guard against pollution buildup on your skin that can cause rough and dull patches. Give your face a gentle scrub at least twice a week if you’re living with heavy pollution.
The Chinese are pretty into facial masks right now, so you’ll find plenty to choose from in your local Watson’s. A deep cleansing mask will help clear your pores of the dirt and toxins associated with pollution.
Create a Barrier
A good moisturizer will create a literal barrier between your skin and polluted air. Go for lotions or serums with antioxidant ingredients and vitamins C and E.
Drink Filtered Water
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to protect your skin, improve circulation and promote healthy cell growth. It’s advisable to drink filtered water in China in order to avoid the chlorine and other toxins in tap water.
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