No doubt about it, Old Man Winter is harsh on the skin. It’s an everyday struggle to keep skin from getting cracked, itchy or scaly. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 things you need to know to keep your skin healthy this winter.
1) Use an oil based moisturizer. Your skin will absorb it better than other moisturizers, which just sit on top of the skin. Look for one that specifically says it does not clog pores, or you could just replace one problem with another one.
2) Wear sunscreen. Many people think just because it’s cold that sun damage isn’t possible, however, sun damage is just as problematic in the winter as it is in the summer. Windburn is also a possibility if you don’t cover your face when out in the cold weather. Thankfully, hydrocortisone cream will help persistent wind burn go away.
3) Wear gloves. Your hands are more susceptible to becoming dry, cracked and painful than other parts of your body. The skin on your hands is thinner, but your hands are also exposed to repeated (but necessary) hand washings. Moisturize often and keep your hands covered in the cold. Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes.
4) Avoid wet clothes. Whether you’ve been skiing or building a snowman, wet clothes are your skin’s enemy. Immediately remove wet gloves and socks, or your skin could become itchy, scaly or even have an outbreak of eczema in some cases.
5) Humidity is your friend. Part of the reason skin gets so dry in winter is because the necessary heat in your home also sucks the water out of the air. To keep this from becoming a problem, place a humidifier in your home and run it often, especially at night. If possible, place multiple humidifiers throughout your home.
6) Use heavy moisturizers on your feet. When your feet get dry and cracked, your best bet is to use a lotion that contains the heavy hitters, like petroleum jelly or glycerin. Be sure to use a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin every so often, so there is nothing to prevent the moisture from sinking deep into your skin. Treating your feet overnight will give you the best results. For severe cracked feet, slather on petroleum jelly at bedtime and cover with socks for the night.
7) Avoid chemical peels. This one is a no-brainer. Save the chemical peels for the good weather. Your skin doesn’t need anything harsh slathered on when the weather is cold and dry.
8) No hot showers or baths. Though it’s very tempting to warm yourself up on cold days with nice, lengthy hot bath, the hot water will actually dry your skin out even more. Water temperature should stay lukewarm in the winter. If you find your skin is still dry, you may consider adding an extra day between showers every so often. Or substitute with a wash cloth scrubbing.
9) Honey sugar scrub. Using a nice, simple honey sugar scrub to gently exfoliate your scaly patches brings your good skin to the surface and makes it easier for your lotions and creams to penetrate deep into your skin. Don’t overdo it, though, or you’ll exacerbate your dryness problem.
10) Keep lip balm with you at all times. Lips are often the first part of your face to dry out. Chapped lips can be painful and at times very unsightly. Keep a chapstick or lip balm on you wherever you go, and apply frequently. Choose a stick with lanolin or beeswax as an ingredient for best results.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have no trouble keeping your skin soft, smooth and beautiful all winter long.