Winter can be one of the hardest seasons for our skin to endure. From November through March, cold and wind can make us look downright reptilian if we aren't careful. But have no fear! I have 8 weapons to fight off Jack Frost and the dryness winter brings.
|Get Back your Winter Glow|
- Hydrate. Make sure you are drinking enough water and eating foods that help you (and your skin) stay hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine, an adequate intake for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day1. When you drink plenty of water, you also flush the toxins out of your body that cause problems for your skin.
Those of you who have oily skin don't have to worry; when your skin is hydrated properly, you will produce less oil because your skin doesn't have to overcompensate for the dryness.
- Tweak Your Skincare Routine. Decreasing your use of face care products like Retin A® and conventional soaps that dry out your skin is a must. Soap clears your face of the buildup of dirt and oil you accumulate in a day, but it also strips your skin of the moisture it needs to give you that healthy glow. Dr. Susan C. Taylor, Harvard-trained dermatologist and clinical researcher, suggests "using liquid cleansers that contain petrolatum which seals moisture into the skin."
- Turn the Heater Off . . . Or at least down. During this season, the heater is not your best friend. Although it keeps you toasty, it also tends to dry you out, making it even harder to have beautiful skin this time of year. You'll also save money on your electric or gas bill if you keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Warm blankets and lots of candles will give your house a warm ambiance and keep your skin free of cracks and crevices.
- Use a Humidifier. The air lacks moisture during winter, so consider purchasing a humidifier to help give your skin and sinuses the extra drink of water that they crave. If your skin remains moist, it is less likely to chafe and crack.
- Layer your clothes. When you wear several layers, you protect your skin from weather damage . . . and you'll stay nice and toasty! Make sure your bottom layers are easy on the skin—so wear cotton and fleece. Wool keeps you the warmest, so leave that for the outer layer, so you enjoy the warmth it offers but avoid the irritation.
- Avoid Soaking. Peel off those wet clothes as quickly as possible. When your hands and feet are stuck in wet gloves and boots, it can irritate your skin, causing cracks, sores, and dry spots. Also, take shorter, cooler showers and baths. The hot water actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can cause your skin to dry out3.
- Tackling Your Problem Areas. Now you know how to heal winter skin in general, but what about those problem areas? Your hands and lips are the two areas that suffer the most damage during the winter season. But with a few tweaks, you will likely have the healthiest hands and the most kissable lips this season.
- Protect Your Hands. Be sure to keep them safe from the harsh cold and wind by covering them in lotion several times a day. Always wear gloves or mittens when going outside in the frigid cold. Wool clothing can irritate the skin, so make sure your gloves are lined with cotton, fleece, or faux-fur. And if you want to combine the two, sleeping with your hands slathered in lotion and covered in gloves will let you wake up to smooth, soft hands.
- Learn to Love Lip Balm. Dry, cracked lips are bad news for both you and those you kiss. Exfoliate dry, chapped lips by wetting your toothbrush and brushing it across them a bit to scrape off old skin. Also, be sure to apply lip balm often. Find one that provides SPF protection as well so it can protect you from the sun's harmful rays.
~ Sara Stakeley
- Institute of Medicine (US). Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes, & Water. (2005). DRI, dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate. National Academy Press.
- Diana Draelos, Z. (2000). Therapeutic moisturizers. Dermatologic clinics, 18(4), 597-607.
- Baumann L. Cosmetics and skin care in dermatology. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008.
- Lad, V. (2012). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. Three Rivers Press.