December 1st, 2011 • Posted by Shana Irish • Permalink
For many of us, winter time is an unavoidable disaster for our skin, as cold temperatures and icy winds can leave our hands and faces dehydrated, itchy and uncomfortable for months. However, if you take a few preventative measures, you can keep your skin supple and glowing all through the winter season. Here are five helpful winter skin care tips to keep those cold weather cracks at bay:
1. Apply Moisturizer
The key to healthy winter skin probably seems obvious: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. For winter, trade in your lighter lotions for heavier, emolient-based skin creams. (If you struggle with break-outs, avoid heavy oils on your face), and apply frequently. Be sure to moisturize right after showers, and before going outdoors. And moisturize whenever else you think of it, because it is so easy for our skin to lose moisture in the cold winter air, and the heated, dry air inside our homes. While the rest of your skin may be covered, part of your face is always exposed to winter elements. For those with extremely dry skin, try applying a heavy moisturizer specifically formulated for dry cracked skin in a thin layer on your face when you go to bed.
One of the biggest culprits of dry skin is lack of exfoliation. Our skin cells are constantly turning over. They form in the lower layers of our skin and eventually journey to the surface where they should naturally slough off. What happens in dryer climates though, is our skin cells start to form tiny barbs on them, making it very difficult for them to slough off. With all of these naughty little skin cells on the surface, you're basically walking around with an invisable brick wall on your skin. What's more, is any moisturizer you put on this "brick wall" will have a very hard time penetrating and acutally hydrating the skin. To help your skin along and slough off all those dead skin cells, exfoliate regularly. There are tons of different ones to choose from. I recommend enzyme based exfoliants as most will not cause any irritation. Of course, getting a facial once every 4-6 weeks will help as well!
The other great way to moisturize? Use a humidifier. Itís usually a good idea to start using a humidifier the first time you turn on the heat in the fall. If you havenít tried this, youíll be amazed at what a difference sufficiently humidified air will make for your skin.
4. Listen to Your MomóBundle Up!
Most importantly, use your gloves (and wear them at night if you like!). The skin on your hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands than skin on most other areas of the body. Hands lose moisture through the constant hand-washing we do during flu season (and during all seasons, if weíre germ-conscious). Add cold, dry air to this, and youíll notice both discomfort and the deteriorating appearance of your hands. Donít walk outside in the winter without your gloves on. If your hands are extremely dry, or you battle with eczema, wear moisture gloves over lotion-coated hands at night.
5. Remove Wet Clothes
If your socks or gloves get wet, shed them as quickly as possible. Wet clothing against the skin can cause irritation, itching, cracking and sores, not to mention frost bite in the worst of circumstances. Keep an extra pair of socks at work in case of emergency, and always lose the wet stuff the moment youíre in the door.
6. Apply Sunscreen
Donít forget sunscreen. Skin can damage your skin 12-months a year, so even in the winter remember to apply before going outdoors. Try finding a heavy moisturizer with SPF protection.
If you follow these steps and give your skin a little extra pampering, youíll be able to win the battle against the damaging effects of winter weather. If you want more suggestions for keeping your skin healthy all winter, or have a skin condition such as eczema or severe dry skin, a consultation with THE SKIN SPA can work wonders. Contact me today to arrange a consultation or appointment!