Winter’s coming–actually it’s already arrived in many areas–no matter what the calendar says. And winter can really do a number on your skin; dry, chapped skin that can even lead to skin conditions like eczema. The temperature drops and you can see the effects on your face and body. But there are some precautions you can take to protect yourself and your skin.
As much as possible, avoid exposure to hot dry air. Easier said than done-so many offices, stores and homes are heated with dry heat; humidity is almost non-existent. Of course you’d need to have heat to be comfortable, but there are many reasons it keep your heat set to a lower temperature. Even a few degrees can make a big difference on how your skin is affected. Wear layers! Keep your core warm without wreaking havoc on your skin. Plus there’s the bonus of saving money on your heating bill.
It’s a good investment to keep a humidifier or two on hand when you’ve got the heat turned up. It offsets the drying effects of heat. A great way to humidify your face and neck when it’s feeling dry is to fill a sink with hot water (but not too hot–you just want to get produce some steam and humidity) Drape a towel over your head and a towel to keep the steamy water in the sink–it’s a great way to hydrate your skin!
During the winter months, avoid prolonged contact with hot or chlorinated water. Keep your showers short–and you don’t want the water too hot. If you’re taking a dip in a chlorinated spa or pool, don’t soak for more than 15 or 20 minutes. That hot tub may feel toasty warm, but it’s drying your skin at the same time.
Use a gentle cleanser instead of soap–both on your body and face. It’s best to wash your face twice a day, as long as you’re using a gentle cleanser, it’s not overkill. In the morning you want to wash off the oil and impurities that have built up on your face during the night. And at night you’ll want to wash any dirt and makeup off.
Avoid using skin care products that contain alcohol, and if any skin product irritates your skin, discontinue using it right away. Oftentimes your skin is more sensitive during the winter months–and your skin routine might need to change accordingly.
Moisturize right after a bath or shower. During the day, if your hands or skin start to feel dry or look wrinkled or ashy, moisturize again. After a shower or bath, it can be a good idea not dry off, to let the moisturizer really soak in, and keep it in. When you do dry off, don’t rub roughly with a towel. Blot your skin instead.
Bundle up! A scarf and gloves can protect hands and the delicate skin around your neck when you’re going out in the cold weather.
Like any time of year, stay hydrated to keep you skin from looking flaky, blotchy and red. Wear sunscreen–you need to protect you skin from the sun’s rays year round. Especially if you’re skiing or out in the snow.
Winter is usually cold and flu season, and you’ll notice drier skin around your nose and lips because of your sneezing. If you have red itchy eyes, try not to rub then–you’ll be pulling at the already sensitive areas around your eyes.
The routine you have for your skin in the warmer months will also help the look and feel of your skin when it gets cold. Exercise is good for your circulation, no matter what the season. The same goes for drinking water. And a healthy diet, rich in anti-oxidants and Omegas-3s will protect your skin against free radicals. Fresh fruits aren’t are quite so easy to come by during the colder months, but foods like black beans, cranberries, granny smith apples and sweet potatoes are chock full of antioxidants.
So keep the moisturizer handy and try to limit how much time you spend out in the cold, especially when there’s a frigid bracing wind that’s sure to cause dry and wrinkled skin. Humidify your home to combat the heat, and stay hydrated. It will be spring before you know it!