‘Tis the season for snow sports, hot cocoa, roasted nuts, and beautiful winter walks. Winter can be a wonderful time of year, a chance to indulge in Christmas cookies and eggnog and enjoy a delicious glass of wine by the fire. But as wonderful as this time of year is, it can also wreak havoc on your skin. If you live in a part of the world that gets extremely cold weather in the winter, you already know what frigid temperatures can do to your skin. The cold can make your skin chapped, dry, and flaky. In extreme cases the cold can even crack your skin, which can be painful and itchy. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 winter tips that will save your skin this season.
1. DITCH THE SUPER HOT SHOWERS & BATHS
Particularly if you don’t moisturize immediately afterwards. If you take a hot shower or bath and you skip slathering on the lotion, it could cause the surface of your skin to crack. That’s because hot water evaporates more quickly, which dehydrates and dries out your skin. This can lead to eczema, rash, irritation and “winter itch.” If you simply must have your hot shower or bath, make sure you keep the door shut, keeping the water vapor in and generously apply moisturizer immediately afterwards. This will help keep the skin barrier from losing large amounts of water.
2. INVEST IN A HUMIDIFIER
When the air is dry and cold water evaporates from the surface of our skin more quickly, this can strip your skin of moisture. To help prevent this keep hydrated by drinking more water, and investing in a humidifier for your home during the cold months, especially if you tend to crank up the heat!
3. PROTECT YOUR HANDS & LIPS
This one probably seems obvious, but many people will go outside to walk the dog or take out the trash directly after washing the dishes or washing their hands. If your skin is damp it’s far more susceptible to chapping. The same goes for your lips, avoid licking them in the cold and keep your chapstick handy to avoid painfully dry, cracked lips.
4. CHOOSE GENTLE PRODUCTS
During the colder weather it’s important to use gentler cleansers that don’t strip your skin of moisture. Try to avoid cleansers or body wash that's perfumed or scented, as they tend to dry out the skin more. If you have acne-prone skin that gets dry during the winter, try replacing your facial cleanser with glycerine to help protect your skin’s moisture barrier.
5. USE HEAVIER BODY MOISTURIZER OFTEN
Applying a thicker moisturizer directly after you get out of the bath or shower will work wonders in keeping your skin hydrated (and don’t be afraid to apply it more than once a day). If your skin is extra dry try applying a layer of coconut oil on your skin before applying a thicker body cream. You should choose a thick, unscented cream during the winter months as opposed to a lighter moisturizer that comes in a pump bottle. This can help seal in hydration. If your ski is still dry, try applying a thin layer of oil to your skin about 20 minutes before a bath or shower to prevent your skin from drying out.
6. AVOID OVER-EXFOLIATING
If your skin is very dry, avoid exfoliating altogether, but if it’s not flaking, exfoliating is okay in moderation--once a week is probably all you need during the cold months, as your skin will be compromised by the cold air and wind, and more prone to irritation.
7. UP YOUR NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
Winter is the time to be vigilant about your nighttime skincare routine. Give your skin a chance to hydrate overnight by using serum, as well as a thicker (more moisturizing) face and eye cream. You can also add a nourishing, hydrating mask to your routine once or twice a week, just make sure it doesn’t contain ingredients that will further dry out your skin. Look for products with nourishing botanicals and oils, like avocado oil. Also be sure to apply your face serums and creams within 60 seconds of washing your face (or removing your nourishing mask).
Taking steps to ensure your skin stays hydrated can mean the difference between a radiant glow and chapped itchy skin. The key to preventing skin irritation or dryness during the winter is to keep your skin hydrated whenever you can, that means turning on the humidifier, slathering on cream, and making sure you’re using products that contain gentle, nourishing ingredients.