As winter kicks into high gear, we need to keep our skin from withering under the harsh elements. Those freezing outdoor temperatures and rising indoor thermostats can sap the amount of moisture in the air, and our skin is first to notice. Millions fight a daily battle with irritated, ravaged skin that keeps them from living life to its fullest. In fact, 90% of chronic dry skin sufferers experience a combination of redness, itching, flaking, and scaling before they reach the age of five. Just trying to find relief can be a frustrating experience.
Often we are under the impression that winter skin care is a tedious, time-consuming task. Some of the Tip that experts suggest are to use a more potent moisturizer or invest in creams that are specially made for the season. Since dry skin is one of the main problems of winter, exfoliation and scrubs must be kept to a minimum.
Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Joshua Zeichner MD, offers some recommendations to help keep skin hydrated through the winter.
When the deep chill of winter sets in, avoid the temptation to take long, hot showers. The water’s heat can strip skin of its natural oils (called ceramides) and cause inflammation—basically, the skin cells swell, and when they dry they become loose like poorly grouted tiles and crack. It’s best to take shorter, lukewarm showers and use gentle cleansers.
As for soaps, soaps with surfactants and claims of pH balance can be harsh on the skin—and don’t scrub! Be tender and let the water and lather do the work. After bathing, pat the skin dry with a soft towel. Rubbing causes more irritation and inflammation. With the door closed to keep the humidity in, and add a moisturizer.
Moisturizing is the key word for anyone who wants to glow all through winter, and it is a wise decision to use a moisturizing lotion or cream regularly. Remember to apply it to the often ignored parts of your body like the sides of your neck. One of the reasons why we emphasize this is because if certain parts of your body are not moisturized enough, then they become extremely dry. Another good idea would be to indulge in an oil massage or use a oil at least once a week to restore the skin’s moisture and to keep it supple.
If you have dry, problem skin, look for a lotion, cream or ointment with petrolatum, glycerin hyaluronic acid and ceramides – the natural fats that make up the grout between the skin cell tiles.
Petrolatum creates a protective barrier across the topmost layer of skin, sealing the moisture and creating an environment where cells can return to a healthy state, while Glycerin penetrates deep into the skin, nourishing and moisturizing multiple layers of cells.
I use a tried and true body wash and moisturizing lotion brand called Renew. Renew contains Malaysian glycerin which draws in moisture and helps maintain moisture levels, Allantoin with moisturizing properties that help promote and maintain skin health and T36-C5® brand Melaleuca Oil which soothes dry, irritated skin in addition to petrolatum.
At night, I hydrate my skin by adding humidity to the air with a cool mist diffuser with a few essential oils added to it to help provide a more restful sleep. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can use a cool mist humidifier.
I always carry a hydrating hand moisturizer and lip balm and use them as often as possible even if the weather isn’t too cold. This prevents skin damage which includes skin bleeding and cracking. Avoid hand sanitizers with alcohol as they can rob the skin of moisture and make things worse for you in winter. Use an alcohol-free sanitizer instead, if you can’t wash your hands.
As always when dressing for winter weather, wear layers. It really does keep you warmer and helps with mobility outside. Did you know there is a method to layering designed to protect your skin while keeping you warm? There is. The closest layer should be made of natural fibers. Soft fabrics like flannel and cotton cause little to no irritation compared to synthetic materials. stay warm
To heal the skin from the inside, drink lots of water in winter to keep hydrated. Keeping your skin hydrated and using a good moisturizing lotion increases skin elasticity and prevents premature aging. Drink fruit juices too, since they will nourish the skin and give your body the vitamins and minerals that are needed by the skin.
The weather may be freezing cold, but we can still look good and keep skin damage free with these simple steps. Stay warm! I think I’ll have a hot cup of tea now.