If you live somewhere that the winter season can get unbearably cold, you know exactly what kind of toll it takes on your skin. It’s especially challenging with the way climate change has seemed to make the weather very unstable. It’s below freezing one day then raining and mild the next. Your skin doesn’t get a chance to adjust to the extreme changes. The other challenge comes simply from going in and out of buildings. You could be standing out in the cold for some time then walk into a warm heated building. The warm air from heated buildings tends to dry out the skin. This isn’t good considering the cold, crisp air outside is doing the same.
As I write this post I’m actually in a tropical place, but I know many of my readers are dealing with the cold harshness of winter. Having dealt with many brutal winters throughout my life, trust me, I know the feeling of dry, itchy winter skin.
Here are a 5 tips to help you protect your skin and keep it looking fresh for the rest of the winter season.
1 Moisturize More Often
This is the time when an oil-based moisturizer is the best thing for your skin because it’s better at keeping your skin hydrated than a water-based moisturizer. Look for creams that have Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are best for skin. It’s also important to pay attention to your skin type and choose the right product accordingly. Those with naturally oily skin don’t suffer as badly during the winter as someone with dry skin, but both still need to take care and protect their skin.
Neutrogena makes a great assortment of products for different skin types and have been dermatologist tested. I personally use Neutrogena Visibly Even which is rich in moisture and has an SPF of 30. The products are also affordable and available in most stores. Other popular brands like Olay, Clinique, Burt’s Bees, CeraVe, Bare Minerals, Lancome and Kiehl’s all make great products.
At night I use BioOil or raw coconut oil on my skin. I wake up with soft skin and never lack moisture.
2 Use a Humidifier
When you’re indoors, the dry air from your central heating as well as space heaters can wreak havoc on your skin. In order to maintain a natural level of moisture in the air, place a humidifier throughout your home or apartment. You will notice a significant difference in your skin’s moisture within a few days.
3 Extra Care for Hands and Feet
During the winter your hands can really take a beating from the cold weather. This time of year you notice the skin around your cuticles can be very dry and even your nails can suffer from more frequent cracking. Invest in a good hand cream that will penetrate your skin. Wearing gloves and mittens are good protectors from the cold, but they can also contribute to the dryness of your hands by absorbing the moisture from them. Keep a small size lotion in your purse or bag all the time so you can reapply as needed throughout the day. Neutrogena, Burt’s Bees, Vaseline and The Body Shop all make some tried and tested hand lotions that work to keep skin’s moisture.
Tip: It’s also a good idea to either rub your cream into the cuticles and nail beds or use almond oil, raw coconut oil or olive oil.
Sometimes people neglect their feet during the winter because they are covered in socks and boots. Women seem to take better care in the summer when their toes are exposed in sandals, but winter is just as important because when the skin dries it can crack and that is very painful. Using moisturizers that are rich in oils are best to stave off extremely dry skin on your feet. There are many dermatologist recommended creams like Eucerin’s Dry Skin Therapy Plus Intensive Repair Foot Creme. Burt’s Bee’s also has a Coconut Foot Creme that’s great for locking in moisture. Personally, I like to exfoliate my feet in the shower and lather a thick layer of shea butter or raw coconut oil afterwards. I then cover my feet with socks at night to lock in the moisture. Try this for 1 week and you’ll notice a significant difference.
4 Avoid Extremely Hot Baths
I know, when it’s cold outside it’s tempting to just stand in a hot shower. I’m totally guilty of this. The feeling of hot water on your skin after suffering the cold outside can be so comforting that you stay in the shower longer than you should. When the water is too hot, it actually does more harm because it leads to a loss of moisture. It’s best to keep it at a warm temperature and not stay in there for an excessive amount of time.
5 Don’t Forget Your Lips
The skin on your lips is very thin and can really be affected by the cold outside. Because your face is usually exposed to the cold, so are your lips. As a result they can become very dry and have little fine tears in the skin. When this happens it’s very painful. I’ve experienced it and every time I spoke, laughed or even sneezed, the pain was awful. Because of that, I learned to never leave home without lip balm. That way I can reapply as needed through the day.
If you wear lipstick, I recommend putting on a lip balm about 20-30 minutes before applying your lipstick. That way it gets a chance to absorb into the skin. I find if I put lip balm on and lipstick immediately after, the lip colour either looks slightly different or doesn’t stay on as long. That’s why I give the lip balm a few minutes to absorb.
You should even apply lip balm at night before you go to bed. When you sleep it’s just as important, especially with the hot dry air indoors. I usually put some shea butter, vaseline or coconut oil.