Cold weather, low humidity levels, and harsh winter winds result in dry air, which sucks vital moisture away from the skin and can lead to dry, cracked and bleeding skin. Indoor heat further robs your skin of moisture, as do hot showers or baths and harsh cleansers. During winter we need to do a little more to keep skin smooth and hydrated. Try these tips to reduce chapping, redness, itching, and help keep skin healthy and comfortable all winter.
1. Avoid overly hot showers
Hot showers and baths can really warm up winter, but hot water strips oil from the skin. Try keeping your shower or bath lukewarm.
2. Moisturize Immediately After Washing
Applying moisture to damp skin helps seal that dampness into the skin. Keep a bottle near the bathtub, shower stall, and at every sink and work lotion into your hand-washing routine. Ask a Super Thrifty pharmacist to recommend a moisturizer that will work best for your skin type.
Get used to wearing gloves and scarves to protect skin from cold winds, rain, and snow. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun so apply SPF30 to exposed skin.
Heating systems dry out the air, so consider adding a humidifier to your home, particularly in your bedroom, to put moisture back into the air and help prevent your skin from drying out.
We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.
6. Overnight Moisturize
Areas like hands, feet, elbows, and knees have thin skin and tend to lose moisture faster. Consider smearing feet and hands with a deep moisturizing lotion at night, then wear cotton gloves and socks to seal in the moisture until morning.
When the outer layers of skin drys out, especially on the hands, moisture doesn’t get absorbed as easily. Use an exfoliating mask face and your hands, as well as gently on your lips, then follow immediately with moisturizer. Exfoliating body washes are also helpful in the winter months.
8. Avoid Allergens and Irritants
Avoid allergens and irritants, particularly if you have eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis. Winter skin is more fragile, so avoid irritating fabrics (like wool) and harsh detergents, use mild cleansers and moisturizers designed for sensitive skin.
9. Hydrate From the Inside Out
Foods high in water content can help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Try watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, kiwi, and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and zinc to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin. Consider an omega-3 supplement, or consume more fatty fish and flaxseed.