Skincare in the Winter
Harsh winter conditions can dry out skin.
As temperature dips, and the air gets cooler and oftentimes drier, the skin may suffer winter blues—dry, flaky and even itchy. It doesn’t help that the fire or the heater in the house used to keep us warm is also working overtime to dry our skin out. There is no escape—the winter wind outside, the low humidity, the harsh UV rays reflecting off snow and winter landscape can conspire to rob the skin of moisture and suppleness. Moisturizers and skincare routine that work in the warmer months may have to make way for more informed skincare routine. Here are some winter skincare tips to help you maintain happy skin:
If you moisturize on a regular basis—you need to take that routine to a higher level. To battle the drying effects of winter conditions, there are two main types of moisturizers that work to keep your skin supple. One goes by the broad category of humectants. They work by attracting water molecules to the skin, thereby keeping the skin moisturized. Generally, lightweight lotions contain more humectants than heavier creams. Substances such as glycerine, urea, sorbitol, alpha-hydroxy acids and hyaluronic acids work as humectants.
The other type works to form a protective layer to keep moisture in. They fall under the broad category of emollients and they’re generally considered “ointment” type of moisturizers, since they’re oil-based rather than water-based. Most night creams are oil-based and if you have extremely dry skin, you may want to consider using moisturizers with emollients. Look for nonclogging oils such as avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, almond oil and shea butter.
If you’re not a fan of fancy moisturizers, you may want to consider essential oils. Nourishing essential oils include borage, myrrh, argan, rose hip and frankincense.
Just because the temperature is cooler doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re free from the harsh effects of UV radiation from the sun. In some instances, the danger is even higher. Snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays compared to 20% for sand and surf. That can result in skin damage. Love your skin? Slather on some sunscreen. Choose one with a broad spectrum (at least SPF 15) to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply whenever necessary. And don’t forget sunglasses, hats and scarf—they offer protection as well.
Protect your skin (& your kid's) when doing winter sports.
Be Good to Your Body
Ever notice your hands dry out even more during the colder months? The truth is the skin on your hands is thinner than most parts of the body and it also have fewer oil glands. That spells double jeopardy. Your hands may itch or you may find that it’s rough and flaky. Apply moisturizer generously and wear gloves when you venture outside.
Your feet may need extra attention at this time too. Winter feet can be unsightly with cracks and dried out skin. Since your feet are unlikely to get acne with heavier cream, this is one area you can slather on heavy duty moisturizers without fear of repercussion. Look for lotions containing petroleum jelly or glycerine. And if you exfoliate the dead skin on your feet, you get more moisturizing mileage.
How about those lips? Don’t forget to protect them as well. Apply lip balm or treatments containing emollients—jojoba, avocado oil, mango oil, pomegranate extracts, shea butter --to preserve the beautiful pout.
While you’re working hard to keep extremities and extensions
of the body moisturized, don’t forget to pamper the body as well. Moisturize
well and it’s best to apply lotions or creams right after your shower. While we’re on the topic of showers, keep
them short and avoid extremely hot water as they can zap your skin of moisture.
Pat dry and apply moisturizers right away to seal in moisture.
Just like you would water a plant to keep it alive and looking green, drinking adequate amount of water (6 to 8 glasses) a day is even more important in the winter months. To combat the problem further, hydrate the air around you. A humidifier can do that. Choose one that can increase the indoor moisture level by 40 to 50%. Surrounding yourself with indoor plants help too.
It’s a good thing whenever food can be utilized for health purposes, as is the case here. What you eat can determine the health of your skin and winter months call for more conscious effort to eat right. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can maintain skin’s natural ability to act as an oil barrier to the harsh winter conditions. If you’re wondering what foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids—here’s the list: cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, halibut, sardines and mackerels; flaxseed, nuts and certain oils such as olive oil, safflower oil and grapeseed oil.