While the arrival of cold weather and snow bring in the holiday spirit for many of us, it also brings with it the unavoidable cold winds that causes dryness of the skin. As a result, particular attention must be paid to the skin, including the hands, feet, face, lips, scalp, and hair. During these cold and winter months, those of us who live in cold climate must actively fight against the dryness, flaking and cracking of the skin and lips. Hair and nails becomes brittle and break easily. Skin can also become inflamed in some cases, requiring a visit to the specialist. Your skin care routine will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as: your skin type; the duration and severity of the weather condition; the amount of time you spend outdoors; and the type of heating you use at your home or office.
Here are some winter skin-care tips mostly recommended by aesthetician and dermatologists to keep your skin silky and soft all winter long.
Use Moisturizer Lavishly
As temperature drops, and it becomes cold and dry outside, skin care specialists recommends oil-based moisturizer over their water-based cousins. Also, you should consider creams over lotions. For example, oil-based cream can protect the skin better by leaving a light film on your skin, which creates a protective layer that locks in the moisture on the skin. However, avoid the greasy oils and choose instead oils such as mineral oil, avocado oil, or almond oil that will not clog your skin pores. If you must use lotions, try the alpha-hydroxy acids-based lotions. Remember also to apply adequate moisturizer to areas with rough and dry patches – hands, feet, elbows and knees. Lactic acid- based lotion and hydrating serum are good moisturizing options to consider for your skin care during the frosty weather conditions. Remember that many skin care products from natural ingredients can also help to maintain healthy skin during the cold weather.
Take Shorter Showers
Avoid the temptation of taking long and hot baths or showers, which can easily strip moisture away from your skin. Instead, keep your bath time short with lukewarm water to prevent the loss of moisture from your skin. As soon as you finish your bath or shower, follow up with a generous slathering of lotion on the skin before it gets dry, preferably in the bathroom with door closed to maintain the humidity. Remember that applying lotion to warm and damp skin helps to trap moisture and keep your skin supple. Some beauty and skin specialist also recommend milk and oatmeal bath, which can soothe rough skin during the winter months.
Switch To Cotton Sleepwear
If you have sensitive skin, going to bed in nightgowns, pajamas or robes made of cotton or other natural fiber can help soothe your skin while you sleep. In other words, you should avoid synthetic fibers whenever possible, since they can be scratchy and further irritate your skin. You may also consider wearing socks overnight to prevent your feet from drying out due to the blast of dry hot air from your central heating system or space heater.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
It is important to keep the body hydrated, not just in the hot summer days, but during the winter as well. Even if you do not believe in the 8-glass-a-day claim, adequate fluid intake is not only good for your health but for your skin also.
Remember The Sunscreen
Sunscreen is not only for the warm summer months. The winter sun’s ray is just as damaging to the skin as in the summer. Snow reflects a huge percentage of the sun’s UV rays, so it is easier than you think to be sunburned while outdoors in the snow. Consider at least SPF 30 or a broad-spectrum sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside.
Exfoliating a few times per week with cream cleanser or milk-based cleanser is great way to ensure that you prevent that rough and flaky feeling in frosty weather conditions. Avoid using products such as astringents, harsh peels, clay-based masks, or other alcohol-based toners that can strip away precious moisture or further dry out and irritate your skin. Due to the rapid formation of dry skin during the winter months, it is easier to develop cracked feet from the dryness and layers of dead skin. Exfoliating your feet periodically is a great way to get rid of the dead cells and make it easier to keep your feet healthy and soft.
Dress Warm For The Outdoors
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and the frigid temperature with extra-dry air during winter makes your skin’s protective barrier cracks easily. Dressing appropriately during the winter can go a long way to prevent windburn, and ensure that your skin remains healthy all winter. That includes wearing hat, scarf, and gloves to protect the hands while outside especially during prolonged exposure to cold and windy conditions.
Eat The Right Foods
Eating the right foods can help maintain the health of your skin during winter. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids – salmon, sardines, olive oil, flax, nuts and avocados can keep your skin youthful. Fatty acids are emollients and natural moisturizes that revitalizes your skin. In addition, essential oil and protein contained in these foods are crucial nutrients needed to help repair damaged skin cells. As well, vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruit and dark leafy green vegetables can help boost your body’s production of collagen, a structural protein, made up of amino acid that maintains skin and other connective tissues.
Take Care Of The Hair and Scalp
The cold dry wind can make your scalp itchy, and your hair full of static. Protect your hair from cold dry wind and snow by keeping your hair covered when outdoors. Also, treat your hair with deep conditioning at least once a week to replenish the moisture. Whenever possible, avoid using appliances such as flat iron, curling iron, or blow dryer in the winter months, as they make the hair drier, brittle, rough, easily breakable. For itchy dry scalp, some hair specialists recommend using olive, tea tree, or coconut oil. However, if your scalp continues to be itchy, scaly and flaking off, then you may have dandruff, which requires anti-dandruff shampoo to get rid of those nasty yeast-like fungus.
Consider a Humidifier
The dry hot air from most heating systems (electricity, wood, oil, gas) used at homes and offices makes it much harder to keep moisture on your skin. Using a humidifier can increase the amount of moisture in the air and helps to prevent the dryness, itchiness, and cracking. For office use, a tabletop humidifier is a great investment during the winter.
Watch For Chapped Lips and Dry Hands
While regular hand washing remains one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and keep the flu at bay during the cold season, it can also cause your hands to become dry easily, rough, and chapped. To prevent this, use soap-free cleansers and alcohol-free hand sanitizer whenever possible, and apply hand lotion generously immediately after washing. Wear gloves when outside and keep a good hand cream easily accessible while indoors, for use throughout the day to keep your hand and nails moist. Another way to protect your nails is to apply a thin coat of clear nail polish to harden the nails and prevent easy breakage. Chapped lips can crack, become painful and even bleed during the winter. To prevent this , keep a lip balm, preferably one that contains lanolin handy at all time and apply regularly to keep the lip from drying out and cracking particularly when you are outdoors.
See a Specialist
If you are having trouble finding the right treatment for your skin, a quick chat with your neighborhood drugstore salesperson may be all you need to figure out the best products for your particular skin type. However, seek the advice of an esthetician or dermatologist if you have a very sensitive skin or continue to experience the followings: persistent flaking, itching, scaling, cracking, redness, or more serious conditions such as psoriasis, inflammation or eczema.
Do you have any other winter skin-care tips you like to share? Please share in the comments below.