Winter is on its way: temperatures are dropping outdoors, forced heat is being blasted indoors, and chilly winds will be blowing all around you. The cumulative effect will most likely wreak havoc on your skin. Indoors, hot dry air removes the thin layer of protective oil on your skin. Without that protection, skin can become itchy and uncomfortable. If you’re over the age of 40, or if you suffer from such painful conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis, or severe dry skin, winter weather can really take its toll. Although your skin may take a beating over next couple of months, you can minimize its impact by taking steps to prepare and protect your skin now. Here are a few tips on how to prevent and relieve winter dry skin:
Visit a Specialist: If you notice that your skin is very dry, irritated or inflamed, then it’s best to see a professional. An esthetician or dermatologist can analyze your skin type, make recommendations for how to adjust your current skin care routine and give you advice on what skin care products are best for your skin type.
Moisturize Regularly: A simple moisturizer may have worked during the spring and summer,but with the change to colder weather, try a heavier moisturizer, one that is “ointment-” or “oil-” based. The oil provides a protective barrier and allows the skin to retain moisture, more so than a lighter, traditional cream or lotion. Be sure to choose one that is “non-comedogenic” so it won’t clog pores and cause breakouts or blackheads.
Apply Sunscreen: Sunscreen in the winter? Yes! In fact, sunscreen should be worn all year-round. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply often if you plan to stay outside in the cold for a long periods of time, such as when skiing, ice skating or building snowmen.
Take Care of Your Hands: The skin on the back of your hands is a lot thinner than on any other part of your body. It has fewer oil glands, which makes it harder to keep them moist–especially in cold, dry weather. To protect hands from becoming dry, itchy or from cracking, moisturize first, then wear winter gloves when you go outside. Not only will they keep your hands warm, they will protect them from the effects of the cold air, wetness and wind.
Use a Humidifier: Central heating systems blast hot dry air throughout homes and offices. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which helps prevent your skin (hair and nasal passages, too) from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home to disperse the moisture more evenly.
Moisturize Your Feet: Winter feet need a little extra TLC to keep them soft and moist. Try using a lotion that contains petroleum jelly or glycerin. To further pamper your feet, use an exfoliant to scrub the dead skin away. As an added benefit, it will also help your moisturizer to sink in faster and deeper.
Avoid Face Peels: If your skin is extremely dry, avoid using harsh facial peels, masks, or scrubs and stay away from alcohol-based toners or astringents. All of these can strip the natural oils from your facial skin. Instead, opt for a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser and use a toner that does not contain alcohol.
Steer Clear of Super Hot Baths/Showers: The intense heat of a hot shower or bath can break down the lipid barriers of the skin, which can contribute to loss of moisture. Try taking lukewarm showers and baths, instead. As a treat, toss in a handful or two of oatmeal in your bathwater. It’s a proven way to relieve dry, itchy skin.
How do you treat your winter dry skin? Let us know in the comments.
By: Chantel Alford
Photo Source: The Oz Blog