Winter weather is just around the corner. The temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter and the end of the year holiday madness has begun. Before you know it white blankets of snow will cover everything making the world a literal winter wonderland. The changing temperatures can unfortunately bring with them several changes to your skin as well. Winter dryness coupled with the cold temperatures means tight dry skin particularly on the face, hands and feet. While the weather outside may be disagreeable, your skin doesn’t need to be. Most people don’t think twice about preparing for cold weather by turning on their heat, wearing warmer clothing and winterizing their vehicles. However, few people think about ways to prepare their skin for the inevitable winter dryness. Here are a few tips to help your entire family nourish and protect your skin through the cold winter months.
Most people know the importance of drinking an adequate amount of water each day. However, staying hydrated is just as important during the winter months as it is in the summer months. Water is essential for your body and skin’s hydration so the first step in winter skin protection is to give it plenty of this basic nutrient.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Hopefully, applying a moisturizer is already a part of your daily skincare routine. If it isn’t, there’s no better time to start. Your skin is your body’s first line of defense and it’s essential that you keep it moisturized so it can offer you the utmost protection. An effective moisturizer serves as a protective barrier against the harsh winter temperatures. Keep in mind that you might have to use a different moisture product than you did during spring and summer. Look for a moisturizer that is oil based for the dry, harsh winter months as compared to a water based moisturizer for the spring and summer months. Apply whatever product you choose to damp skin to help lock in your skin’s moisture.
In order for your moisturizer to be effective, it’s crucial that you also exfoliate. During colder weather your skin cells dehydrate and die much quicker than they do in warmer temperatures. This leaves you with layers of dead skin which can prevent new cells from growing properly. Simply exfoliating twice a week helps remove the dead skin cells as well as helps the underlying new cells retain adequate moisture.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
We can’t say it enough – sunscreen isn’t just for summer! The sun exists all year round and so does your skin’s need for protection from its damaging rays. The winter sun can be intense and so can the glare from the sun reflecting off the snow. Be sure to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen for the most protection. Always apply any sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and don’t forget to reapply if you’ll be outside for extended periods of time.
Use a Humidifier
Turning on your heat doesn’t just mean higher utility bills – it also means dry air throughout your entire house. For most people, dry air = dry skin. Adding some moisture to the air in your home will prevent the moisture in your skin from evaporating into the air, therefore helping your skin stay hydrated. Several small humidifiers throughout your house will make a noticeable difference. Additionally, humidifiers have the added benefits of helping prevent dry sinuses and reducing airborne viruses.
Reduce Shower Time and Temp
We know it’s tempting to spend hours in a nice, hot shower especially on a blustery day but your skin will thank you for keeping your showers short and sweet. Hot water actually irritates your skin which can lead to redness and dryness. Contrary to popular opinion, studies show that washing your hands with cool water is just as effective at removing germs as warm water, with the added benefit of being less irritating to your skin. So try to keep your showers lukewarm and no longer than 10 minutes to prevent further skin irritation.