Winter is a season that can be very tough on your skin. The snow, the wind, the cold all team up to make skin maintenance a headache. But with exposure a huge worry during the cold, it’s very important to take care of your skin in the winter months.
What to Expect
This time of year, as the leaves fall and the days shorten, the weather starts to get that distinct nip in the air that can only mean one thing - winter is on the way. With the winter chill comes time to change your skin routine to combat winter woes:
- sun damage
- chapping and wind burn
Change Your Wardrobe, Change Your Routine
Though your skin might be oily during the warmer months, you will want to switch out your oil-fighting products in the winter. Summer cleansers, toners and moisturizers that aim to combat oil are too harsh in the winter when you are not sweating as much.
Your winter products should promote hydration and moisture boosters. According to WedMD, winter products should be oil-based rather than water-based to give your skin an extra layer of protection to hold in natural moisture. Skin that is dry does not have that healthy glow we all want to achieve.
WedMD also recommends avoiding harsh treatments like chemical peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners and astringents. Using products like these when your skin is more delicate will strip the vital oils, causing more dryness. Try cleansers that are milk-based or moisturizing mask treatments instead.
Sun Protection - It’s Not Just for Summer
Sun damage is not limited to the summer; the winter sun, especially when it’s reflected off the bright snow, can do plenty of damage as well. If you are like most people who don’t want to slather on sunscreen without a day at the beach, it’s so important to make sure your moisturizer and/or makeup has at least SPF 15 in it.
You should also use lotions with an SPF on other parts of your body that are regularly exposed (i.e. neck, ears, hands, etc.). Apply 30 minutes before exposure, and reapply regularly, especially when you are outdoors for long periods of time. And don’t forget that scarves can be a. effective (and fashionable) way to protect your neck and skin from both the wind and the sun.
Be Aware Indoors, As Well
With the cold air outside, most of us want to create a cozy, warm atmosphere indoors. Keeping your house warm means central heating and space heaters that will blow dry air. To counter this, you can get a humidifier to re-introduce and distribute moisture in the air.
Taking a nice, hot shower or bath always sounds like a great idea to shake off the cold. Be careful, though, because hot water will dehydrate your skin. Elle magazine suggests bathing in warm water rather than hot and adding oatmeal for healing. The magazine also recommends applying essential oils while your skin is still wet to replenish what has been lost, then air dry with light towel blotting.
Don’t Forget Your Hands and Feet
Your hands and feet are extremely susceptible to dryness and cracking in the cold. WebMD notes that the skin on your hands is both thinner and has fewer oil glands than most other areas on your body. For these reasons, you need to use lotions geared toward healing and wear gloves when going outdoors.
Your feet need as much or more TLC than your hands in the cold. Regular body lotions are not enough. Use lotions containing petroleum jelly or other thicker ointments (i.e. Vaseline, Aquaphor, etc.) to relieve and heal deeper cracks. When you find one you like, try slathering it on before bed and sleeping with cotton socks on (you don’t want greasy sheets).
Be careful of wearing sock and gloves that have gotten wet, especially after going out in the snow when your skin is cold as well. The wet fabric can further irritate your skin. And avoid skin contact with irritating wool fabrics. If you have wool gloves, think about getting thin cotton liners to wear underneath.
Maintaining healthy skin year round is one thing you can do to stave off the signs aging. Skin that is overexposed will wrinkle earlier and develop sun spots. If you are already dealing with surface level skin damage, then you might consider microdermabrasion
or a chemical peel
. For deeper set wrinkles, you can explore dermal filler