Protect Your Skin This Winter

Young woman standing in snow, arms folded, smiling, portraitTips for avoiding dry, cracked skin

Contributed by Cathy Fricke, Skin Care Specialist

Chilly temperatures, cold winds, low humidity, and dry indoor heat cause water to evaporate from skin. But that doesn’t mean you have to surrender to dry, itchy skin. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to keep skin healthy and hydrated when the thermometer dips.

Drink Plenty of Water

Hydrate your skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of water. Warm Green tea is also good—especially on really cold days. How much? A good rule of thumb is eight ounces, eight times a day.

Get a Humidifier

A room heated by a furnace can have as little as 10 percent moisture. If you don’t have a humidifier connected to your central heating system, put a humidifier in your bedroom and keep the doors closed so the moist air doesn’t escape the room.

Take Lukewarm Showers and Baths

Hot water robs skin of moisture causing it to become dry. If the thought of lukewarm water makes you shiver, try to keep your bathing time short and limit it to once per day.

Exfoliate Once a Week

In the winter your skin is constantly turning over and that dead layer of skin needs to come off in a gentle fashion. A good body scrub and facial exfoliant can help remove dead skin cells from your body. If you have dry skin and you put moisturizer on and it feels like it’s sitting on top of your skin, you may not be exfoliating enough.

Moisturize

After exfoliating, it’s important to seal in as much moisture as possible. Choose a moisturizer that comes in a cream or ointment form which tend be less irritating than lotions. Look for ingredients that soothe as well as hydrate such as shea butter, olive oil, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid. Remember to re-apply moisturizer to your hands after washing them throughout the day.

Repair and Protect

During summer, dark spots on the skin get darker and redness gets worse. The winter, when you’re not soaking up the sun, is a great time to repair damage from sun exposure. But just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you get to take a break from sunscreen. Even on a cold but sunny day, you can still get a decent amount of sun. Wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply it often throughout the day especially if you’re exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

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