When the weather outside is frightful, your skin can end up looking and feeling that way too. Dry winter skin happens because air pulls moisture away from skin, tightening your skin cells and weakening your protective barrier. Here are 5 easy tips to get healthy, healed skin – even in a winter wonderland.
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing like returning to a warm, cozy home. But heating also removes moisture from the indoors, depriving your skin of hydration it needs to function properly. To minimize dry skin in winter, keep the temperature comfortable, but not too hot for too long. Also, use a humidifier to replace lost indoor moisture.
Wear sunscreen in winter.
Most people think of sunscreen as “summer only.” But it can protect your skin from damage all year round. Snow reflects the sun’s rays, so it’s possible to get a sunburn even when it’s freezing out. Also, skin-damaging UV radiation can be even more intense at high altitudes, so be sure to protect skin properly during winter activities like skiing, snowboarding or hiking.
Take care of your hands.
The skin on your hands is thinner than the skin elsewhere on your body. Because hands are almost always exposed (and because dry winter air pulls moisture away from skin), hands are one of the first areas to show skin damage. In winter, protect your hands by wearing gloves outside and keeping a moisturizing hand cream in your bag or at work.
Avoid wool and other irritating materials.
Dry winter skin is bad enough. But wearing certain kinds of clothing over dry, sensitive skin can actually make you feel more itchy. Avoid less breathable synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester and rayon. The primary itchy fabric to avoid, however, is wool. Its short, coarse fibres will prick at irritated skin, making it feel even worse. Your best fabric option for itchy skin is cotton. If you really want to wear wool, go with a thinner, less irritating type like merino wool. Or wear a light cotton layer underneath.
Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize.
During winter, your skin loses moisture at a much faster rate, leading to the weakening of the protective top layer. You may find yourself having to apply lotion more often to maintain the same comfort level. For immediate relief, carry a lotion in your bag or put one in your desk at work, and keep skin healthy by moisturizing after showers and before bed. Using a lotion regularly will help to replenish the moisture that winter steals from your skin.