December 5th, 2018
7 Tips for Healthier Skin This Winter
Winter can wreak havoc on your skin, making it itchy, dry, and irritated. The worst part is there’s no escape. The cold, dry air from outside can leave your skin feeling raw while indoor heat draws moisture from your skin. Even some of winter’s comforts, such as sitting beside a roaring fire or taking a hot bath can strip your skin of natural oils leaving it dry and irritated.
Lotions work fine for warmer, humid climates, but they don’t provide the deep moisture or longevity needed when it’s really cold. Creams typically work better on larger areas of the skin because they spread easily, and ointment contains a higher concentration of oil which will remain on the skin longer. But, what else can you do for your itchy, dry, or irritated skin?
Don’t fret, there’s hope! Following these seven simple tips can help keep your skin soft and supple all winter long.
1. Moisturize Frequently
One of the easiest and most important things you can do to help protect your skin from cold weather is to moisturize. It’s best to use a cream or ointment in the winter, especially if you live in a cold, dry environment. Also, don’t forget your hands and feet! The skin on your hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands than the skin on other body parts. That means it’s harder to keep your hands moisturized, especially in cold, dry weather. This is particularly true if you wash your hands often.
Your feet also need a little more lovin’ when the temperatures drop. Opt for a strong moisturizer, preferably with petroleum jelly or glycerin, and use an exfoliant to get dead skin off periodically.
2. Wear Sunscreen
When you think winter, sunscreen probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but just because it’s cold and cloudy out doesn’t mean you can skimp on the sunscreen. The sun’s rays are just as dangerous in the winter as they are in the summer — sometimes even worse, depending on where you live. This is especially true in areas where snow is common, as the sun reflecting off snow can be just as intense as the sun reflecting off the sand on a tropical beach.
We recommend applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally to your face, hands, and any other exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going outside. And as always, don’t forget to reapply if you plan to be outside for a long time.
3. Limit Shower Time & Temperature
As tempting as a long, hot shower or bath sounds when it’s cold outside, intense heat can actually break down the lipid barriers in the skin, which causes moisture loss. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends 5- to 10-minute showers or baths with lukewarm water. Just warm enough to be comfortable, but not so hot that your skin turns red — this signifies irritation and can lead to drier skin. The same goes for your hands.
4. Stay Hydrated
Hydration starts from the inside out, so make sure to stay hydrated during the winter. While the benefits skin sees from proper hydration are not significant, it’s still important for your overall health to stay hydrated.
5. Lower the Thermostat
Cranking up the heat is often the first thing we do when the temperature starts to drop, but central heat can make the air in your house even drier, leading to drier skin. Try keeping the thermostat between 68°F and 72°F to maintain healthy skin during the winter months.
6. Invest in a Humidifier
If you simply can’t function with your thermostat between 68°F and 72°F, make sure to invest in a humidifier to negate the effects of central heat. Humidifiers put moisture in the air, which will not only help to keep your skin looking its best but can also help with a lot of the other negative effects associated with cold, dry air, such as sinus problems.
7. Modify Your Regimen for the Season
While you may have found a moisturizer or facial cleanser that works well for you during the warmer months, your skin needs a little more support during the winter. Go for cream-based cleansers and body washes, which will help to maintain the moisture in your skin instead of stripping it. We also recommend switching to a body moisturizer that contains petroleum jelly or glycerin, which provide a barrier to help lock in moisture. It’s also important to stay away from harsh astringents and toners, many of which contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin.
Winter can be harsh on your skin, but following these simple steps will help you combat the negative effects and keep your skin looking radiant and youthful all winter long.