Winter Skin Survival Guide
Although the season has been fairly mild, the winter has likely still been wreaking havoc on your skin. Here are some solutions to the most common winter skin issues:
Stay hydrated. We often cut down on our water intake in the cooler months, but drinking plenty of water is just as important in winter. Staying hydrated from the inside out will help your body retain moisture. Try adding decaffeinated hot beverages like herbal tea to your day to help your intake. Also, hydrating the dry indoor air with a humidifier really helps.
Cool down your shower. Although a long, hot shower feels like just the right thing on a cold winter morning, it actually can strip your body of its natural oils. A shorter, lukewarm shower will help to add water to your body instead.
Exfoliate. Clearing away those dead skin cells helps moisturizer penetrate better. However, exfoliating doesn’t have to mean scrubbing. Using a gentle moisturizer with glycolic or salicylic acid once or twice a week is all you need. Make sure to try any exfoliant in a small area first to test for irritation. If your skin is already irritated, you should consult a professional before exfoliating.
Arm yourself with moisturizer. Using different products specifically for winter is often a good switch. Even your cleanser should be moisturizing, and we hope you are not using plain soap anyway! The best time to moisturize is after you towel dry from your lukewarm shower, but you should feel free to reapply as needed throughout the day. Ointments have more oil than creams but are also greasier, so you may want to use them only on dry patches. Try to avoid licking your lips and apply lip balm regularly to keep the moisture in and protect them.
Don’t forget your hands and feet. Our hands tend to be one of the most exposed parts of our bodies in winter and can take a beating. Frequent washing to avoid flu and cold germs make it worse, so make sure to give them lots of moisturizing love with hand cream and wear gloves outside when you can. Dry, cracked heels are also common in winter and can even become painful. Treat your feet by moisturizing with an ointment. If your heels are already cracked, you should see improvement in a few days if you cover them with petroleum jelly, plastic wrap, and socks overnight.
Wear sun protection. The sun is not usually on our minds in winter but can be just as damaging to your skin. Snow makes it even worse by reflecting 80% of the rays, compared to the 20% sand and surf does. Continue to wear SPF 30 or higher and reapply throughout the day if you are outdoors. We recommend using sun protection on your most exposed areas, your face, neck, and the backs of your hands. There are an array of options to suit your needs and lifestyle, and physical blocks are available in most dermatology offices.
Bundle up. Staying covered is the best protection against winter elements, especially frostnip and frostbite. It also helps to keep your moisture in. Make sure you find hats, gloves, scarves, earmuffs, and even face guards that you like for those brutally windy days and wear them whenever you’re out.
The little extra effort to switch your products and routine in the winter will prove to bring you big results. You may just find yourself keeping it up for more than a few months, and you will certainly be more thankful the next time we have a more typical New England winter!