Winter Skin Care
Winter can be brutal on your skin. Not just when you’re outside on a freezing day, with icy winds whipping your face, but moreso when you’re indoors where central heating fills your home or office with hot, dry air. Humidity levels take a nosedive, and the result of all of this is dry, dull, irritated skin – on your face, and also on your hands, feet, legs and other body parts –that loses its glow and can also feel dry and scaly, unpleasant to the touch.
But you can rescue your skin during the harsh winter months with a pampering regimen designed to hydrate, moisturize and remedy your skin’s intrinsic challenges.
Here are our top tips for Winter Skin Care:
1. Take Warm Showers
Those steaming hot showers and baths may feel comforting during winter’s cold blasts, but that hot, hot water actually breaks down the lipid barriers in your skin, drying you out. Even applying moisturizer after a soak doesn’t fully combat the drying effects of a hot soak. So give your skin’s softness a boost by easing up on the hot water, and then also moisturizing afterward.
2. See a Dermatologist
A check-up now, in the colder weather, lets your doctor see your skin’s dryness or scaliness, and he or she might discover that you have more than just a winter dry-out. Psoriasis may be to blame, or you may have a developing skin condition that requires a prescription moisturizer. A dermatologist can also help you adjust your skincare regimen…which might be the same one you’ve been using for twenty years.
As you age, your skin has different needs, and a specialist will provide customized advice and product suggestions, such as AHA or retinol formulas if you’re in your 30s, or thicker products containing hyaluronic acids if you’re in your 40s. In fact, your dermatologist is well-schooled in the effectiveness of inexpensive, over-the-counter skin products versus those pricy products advertised to work magic overnight. You may find yourself saving money on your skincare purchases after your doctor’s recommendations, and find that your skin looks and feels much better after switching to a new product.
You’ll likely be directed to moisturizers with non-clogging oils, like almond oil, mineral oil, and avocado oil, or to an ointment-based moisturizer that surpasses water-based moisturizers’ ability to form a protective barrier on your skin, holding in moisture.
3. Add Moisture to Your Environment
A portable humidifier used in all bedrooms, as well as in your office, adds valuable moisture to the air, and adding more green plants to your home and work spaces also adds moisture to the air for your skin’s enjoyment.
4. Invest in Products
. With your new and improved products in good supply, create a new ritual to moisturize several times a day. You might moisturize all-over after your morning shower, then re-moisturize your hands in the afternoon (especially if you wash your hands a lot, which dries out the skin,) and moisturize your feet at night. Partners can even make an evening ritual of giving each other moisturizing footrubs.
5. Make Sunscreen a Must
Sunscreen isn’t just for when you’re lying on the beach or by the pool in summertime. The sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays are always streaming at you, always causing skin damage and putting you at risk for skin cancers. So apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and hands at least a half hour before going outside, and re-apply if you’ll be outdoors for an extended amount of time. This is a ritual to share with your partner and kids as well, so that they’re protected and embrace the importance of daily sunscreen use.
6. Remove Wet Clothing
After playing in the snow, or walking the dog, or clearing snow off your car, always remove damp or wet socks, gloves and clothing right away. If you plan to be outside for a length of time and your socks or gloves get wet, change to a dry pair that you’ve brought along and continue your play. Wearing wet apparel can cause irritation, cracking, or eczema flare-ups, and athlete’s foot is a very real danger if your feet stay in wet socks or boots for too long.
7. Drink More Water
Hydrating through drinking water is wonderful for your overall health, since your organs perform more optimally when you’re hydrated and even your thinking can be clearer, your appetite reduced and your energy levels greater. While drinking water does the body good from the inside out, and improves skin’s health and moisture levels, it’s a common misconception that you can heal dry skin just by drinking water. So avoid over-consumption of water, and heal your skin with your doctor-recommended products or dermatology treatments.
When you use gentle exfoliating products on your body, and especially on your feet during the winter months, moisturizing products can absorb faster and more deeply into your skin to perform better.
Change Your Habits
After you wash your face, or use a cleansing masque, your face might feel dry and tight…which you may have interpreted as being ultra-clean and refined. But dry, tight skin is hungry for moisture, which you can remedy with your doctor’s recommendation of product by ingredients or by brand name. Your doctor can even advise you to ditch that drying masque and switch to a more hydrating one, convert to a toner containing no alcohol, and skip that natural facial masque recipe you saw on Pinterest that has far too much acid in it for your skin’s health in winter.
With your improved skin care regimen in use, you’ll notice improvements within days, and your new hydrating products may even feel better right away. If, though, you’re still experiencing extreme dryness, itchiness, cracking, redness or infections, see your doctor right away for the additional help your skin needs.