Colder, darker days signal a season of new challenges to the health of our skin. Cold outdoor air and the drying effects of indoor heating can wreak havoc on your primary barrier to the elements, but if you take the right steps early on, you can avoid having dried, chapped and damaged skin this winter.
Starting with your morning shower, fight the urge to warm up with a hot shower. Taking a hot shower can actually remove the natural protective oils that your skin produces and can increase irritation. Instead, take a warm shower and consider purchasing a moisturizing body cleanser to bathe with. After you towel off, slather on the lotion to keep your skin nourished.
Often when dry skin arises and becomes chapped, the first instinct is to use a harsh abrasive scrub, but this often leads to acne and more inflamed skin. Instead, consider making your own gentle homemade scrub of honey and sugar to soften patches on your elbows, knees, and feet. For your face and other sensitive areas, use a ‘renewing’ skin lotion that contains salicylic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells. Your body creates thicker skin to deal with stress from the environment we live in, so do not be overzealous with removing this protection.
Everyone’s motto during the cold and flu season should be to have good hand hygiene. However, washing our hands too frequently can cause them to become chapped and painful. Washing with soap and water is not the only way to avoid these infections. Consider carrying a non-alcohol based hand sanitizer with you to use before eating or after contact with door handles and people who are sick. When you do need to wash your hands, using a moisturizing soap-free cleanser and following it with a dollop of lotion can prevent those cracked hands from showing up this winter.
Just because it is not the season to wear your swimsuit does not mean you should pack away the sunblock. While you are out in the yard raking leaves or shoveling snow, use sunblock to prevent UV light from doing damage to your skin. Also, when you hit the slopes this winter, the snow can act like a mirror for the sun and is the cause for many snow bunnies returning from their weekend red and peeling.
Start early and be consistent with caring for your lips to keep them ready for that special kiss at midnight. Avoid licking your lips when they feel dry, as this actually dries them out more! Using a lip balm to protect you from losing moisture is essential to healthy, kissable lips. Lip balms like Beecause uses organic beeswax to protect and peppermint oil to refresh without putting any harmful chemicals so close to your mouth.
While protecting the skin from the outside, do not forget to drink enough water. Dry air can rob your body of this essential nutrient that is needed for creating new healthy skin. Taking these steps now will reward you with beautiful, glowing, and healthy skin in the months ahead!
Winter Skincare Must-Haves
Burt’s Bees Body Lotion, $10