Keeping your skin healthy and moisturized during the winter can be a difficult task. All the drying effects of central heating, heated air-conditioning, heaters, and just the cold weather itself can wreak havoc on your skin. The reason behind the drying effects of cold weather? When it gets cold, humidity gets lower and your skin dries out. Skin health is vital, as the body’s biggest organ, it needs two be looked after in order to function as it needs to in order to protect the body. Itchiness and dryness are both common issues we face during winter. Here’s how to combat it.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
This is the most important part of keeping your skin healthy during the winter months. And it doesn’t just apply after you take a bath or shower. You need to make sure that whenever you wash any part of your body, including your hands, you use a good moisturizer straight after. When you wash your body, you remove the natural oils which help to lock in moisture. So, the most important thing is two replace those lost oils as soon as possible. With all of us washing our hands a lot more frequently as a result of Covid-19, it’s a good idea to keep a hand cream in your bag which you can use on the go. Once you’ve washed, you want to blot the skin dry rather than rub it. Then moisturize when your skin is still damp. This, Linda Stein Gold, MD, explains will help to lock the water into the skin.
This winter try to use lukewarm rather than hot water and don’t over wash
Though taking a nice hot bath or shower when you get home may seem like a good idea to beat the cold, its actually not great for your skin. Hot water dries out the skin a lot more than lukewarm water does. It strips the skin of its natural oils and dries the skin out even more. You should also make sure that your showers for baths don’t last too long. Though a long, hot shower is no doubt an appealing thought, your skin will be much better off with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower or bath. A good way to tell if the water is too hot? Watch your skin. If it turns red, the water is too hot. According to the CDC, lukewarm or cool water is just as effective as cleaning and getting rid of germs. So, no Covid-19 concerns there.
When you are enjoying your shower or bath, your skin will likely benefit from less soap. Soap, even the sensitive and fragrance free kinds tend to dry out your skin. Try washing only necessary areas like genitals, face, feet and armpits. It’s also a good plan to try a shower gel or soap that is fragrance free and suitable for sensitive skin as it’ll likely be less drying and irritating for the skin.
Keep up your sunscreen and change your facial skincare routine a bit
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean that you no longer need to apply your SPF. Even when it seems like there’s no sun, there are likely still UV rays. On bright days, especially when there’s snow, it’s vital to apply sunscreen. The snow works to reflect the sun’s harmful rays and increases your risk of sun damage. Make sure you apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is a minimum of SPF 15 to any exposed body parts.
With the winter months drying out the skin, nowhere is more exposed than the face. Opt for cream-based cleansers and avoid products like toners that contain alcohol. If your skin is already itchy and dry, alcohol will only further irritate it. Avoiding fragranced products can also help to soothe dry, itchy, and irritated skin and will help the skin to retain its natural oils. Try to use a richer cream at night as this will help the skin to repair overnight. Make sure you remember to moisturize your lips as well. You might also want to opt for overnight treatments occasionally as they are usually richer and need more time to sink in and work.
Other things you can do to keep your skin healthy in winter
Don’t overdo it with exfoliators: Though using an exfoliator might seem like a good idea and feel good, it can actually end up damaging the skin.
Avoid fabrics that irritate your skin: Harsh fabrics like wool can irritate the skin. If you do want to wear them (they are brilliant for keeping you warm) make sure they don’t directly touch your skin.
Stay hydrated: During the winter, we often forget to drink water and can end up dehydrated. Make sure that you are getting enough liquid as this will help to hydrate you from the inside out.
Protect your skin: wearing gloves and other protective clothing helps to shield skin from the elements and is likely to stop it drying out.