Ah, winter. Many welcome the frosty season with open arms – glittering blankets of white snow, crystal-clear icicles and frozen lakes, holidays and warm cups of cocoa. What’s not to love? Your skin can answer this: brittle temperatures, whipping winds, dry indoor heat, and a multitude of other environmental factors that wreak havoc on your skin and leave it dry, itchy, and irritated. There are many simple ways to fight the winter skin blues and keep your skin hydrated, supple, and healthy this winter. Here are the top ten best ways to combat winter skin.
The best thing you can do for your skin during winter is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! If you suffer from dry, cracked winter skin, increase the number of times you moisturize daily, and always moisturize immediately after stepping out of the shower or bath to lock in that moisture. As weather conditions change and temperatures drop, you should also change the products you use on your skin. Oil-based moisturizers create a protective layer over your skin to lock in moisture and give you a little added protection against the elements and heating systems. Be sure to use the right moisturizers for body and face – some body creams can cause clogged pores, so look for non-clogging oils to use on your face, such as avocado, almond, primrose, or mineral.
Exfoliation 1-2 times per week will take care of any rough, dry patches that form on elbows, knees, and other areas of the body. Exfoliation also helps your skin absorb more moisture; use a gentle exfoliator before you apply moisturizing lotions or creams, and your skin will feel extra silky and smooth.
3. Warm Compress
Cold weather causes the blood vessels in your skin (especially your nose) to cut off circulation, causing a bright red hue and uneven complexion. To get rid of the Rudolph look, applying a warm compress can bring your skin back to its normal color.
As soon as temperatures begin to plummet, the heat comes on. Unfortunately, indoor heat is extremely drying and can take a toll on your skin. To combat the drier air, plug in a humidifier to help disperse extra moisture into the air. If you don’t have a humidifier handy, a pot of water simmering on the stovetop (or wood-burning stove) will do the same thing! The added moisture in the air will help prevent your skin from drying out.
5. Warm Water
Although the cold outdoor temperatures seem to be begging you to take long, steamy showers, the hot water can cause your skin to lose moisture and dry out. To save your skin natural oils, turn down the water temperature to a comfortable warm level, and limit the time you spend in the water as much as you can. A lukewarm bath is another great alternative to relax and warm up after a chilly winter day.
If your skin is prone to irritation and itchiness during the winter, choosing your clothing becomes a huge factor. Many fabrics made for cold weather, like wool, can cause skin to flare up and become really uncomfortable. The key to giving your skin a break from rough material is to layer a soft, breathable material under the bulky fabric, creating a barrier and preventing the itch.
Sunscreen is crucial no matter what season it is! In winter, the sun is just as dangerous as in the summer (and can even give you a worse burn when it reflects off the white snow). Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, even if the sky is cloud-covered.
8. Hands and Feet
Your hands and feet need extra love during the winter, too! To avoid cracking, peeling, and dryness, make sure you immediately remove wet glove or socks, as they can lead to irritation. Scrub any calluses with a pumice stone once a week to get rid of flaky build up, and moisturize both feet and hands with a thick cream several times throughout the day. You can even wear gloves or cotton socks after applying cream to keep that moisture on your skin and able to absorb.
9. Seek a Specialist
If you’re having trouble dealing with stubborn skin problems that just won’t go away, it’s time to get professional treatment. There is nothing worse during the winter than having skin that is constantly dry, flaky, itchy, and just plain irritated. An esthetician or dermatologist is a great investment, and your skin will thank you after.
10. Stay Hydrated
As always, keeping hydrated is key to looking and feeling healthy from the inside out.