Can you feel the burn?
The winter burn, that is. While it is important to take care of your skin during every season, winter weather conditions are especially brutal on skin, causing dryness, blistering, chapping, and more. Luckily, there are many easy ways to protect your skin from the chilly temperatures and keep it healthy all winter long.
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, which is caused when the skin and sometimes the layer beneath the skin freezes. The best way to protect your skin is to avoid going outdoors during the coldest weather, and bundling up all other times. Even shoveling the sidewalk for too long can lead to frostbite and permanently damage your skin. Dress in loose layers – multiple pairs of socks, thermal underwear, insulated gloves and boots, and covering your head and mouth. Hands and feet are at the greatest risk for frostbite, so take care to keep them extra warm.
Many people don’t think about burns during winter, especially when the sun isn’t making much of an appearance. Sunburns and windburns are extremely common during winter. Windburns can be avoided by covering up as much exposed skin as possible.
Rosy cheeks are commonly mistaken for windburns; however, if the redness does not subside within an hour, it is actually a sunburn! Even on cloudy days, any skin not covered by clothing should be covered with a broad-spectrum sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure (UVA and UVB ray protection). Re-apply every 2 hours.
Your lips need protecting, too! A lipbalm or lipstick containing an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended to avoid chapping, redness, and burns.
Blisters are caused by too much friction against warm, moist skin. Once again, the way to protect your skin from blisters in the winter is to dress properly. Wear loose layers to ensure there is enough room between your skin and your clothing; avoid wearing uncomfortable or poor fitting boots for winter activities.
If you happen to find yourself with a blister, it will heal naturally if you keep it intact and cover it with a bandage. If it ruptures, wash it twice a day, apply a topical emollient-based healing ointment, and cover it with a bandage until it heals.