Protect Your Skin From Winter Weather
Oh the weather outside is frightful, but by the fire delightful! Are you singing the tunes of the winter holiday season?
And yes, the weather outside may be frightful. And the cold can be very cruel to your skin. In the winter, humidity levels tend to be low. With less moisture in the air, your skin may become dry, cracked and irritated.
A few very simple changes to your daily routine can help maintain the moisture you have in your skin and keep it in the best possible shape these winter months.
Here are some tips that I highly recommend from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
1. Bathe daily.
A shower or bath can replenish your skin's moisture. But it has to be done correctly:
- Close your bathroom door when bathing. This will raise the humidity level, making the air less dry.
- Limit bathing time to five to 10 minutes. Spending more than 10 minutes in the bath or shower can actually cause your skin to lose moisture.
- Use warm, not hot, water. Hot water strips the skin of natural oils more quickly than warm water. These oils help keep your skin hydrated.
- Use a mild soap, and avoid antibacterial soaps like Dial. Deodorant soaps and products containing alcohol and strong fragrances can also deplete natural oils. A gentle, moisturizing, fragrance-free product, such as Olay or Dove, is preferable. Apply it with your hands rather than a cloth or sponge.
- Pat your skin dry. Gently dabbing is less irritating to the skin than vigorously rubbing it, and it helps keep moisture in.
To help seal moisture in your skin, apply an ointment within a few minutes of exiting your shower or bath. Creams and ointments offer better protection against moisture loss than lotions. Look for products containing olive oil, shea butter, petrolatum, mineral oil, lactic acid, urea, dimethicone or glycerin.
3. Shave with care.
Hair tends to be softer after a shower or bath, so shave then to lessen the chances of irritating your skin. Use shaving cream or gel, and keep it on the skin for at least three minutes before starting. Then shave in the direction that your hair grows. At a minimum, change the blades of your razor after every five to seven shaves.
4. Use a humidifier.
Having the heat on at home dries out your indoor air. A humidifier will add moisture back.
5. Stress outdoor protection.
Protecting your skin from the elements is essential in winter weather:
- Use moisturizing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all exposed skin.
- Dress in layers. This allows you to remove clothing when necessary so that you don't overheat and irritate your skin. Wear cotton or silk fabrics next to the skin under wool or other rough materials, which may be irritating.
- Wear gloves. Hands may be affected by dryness more than any other body part, according to the AAD.