There’s no doubt about it—winter air is tough on skin. The colder, drier air causes the water in our skin to evaporate faster, leaving it feeling dry, tight, and prone to itching, redness, and flakiness.
But the good news is there are simple, inexpensive remedies to save our skin until the warmth and humidity of spring and summer returns!
Everyday Health1 offers the following suggestions for dealing with the woes of winter skin:
- Use a humidifier. The lack of moisture is the problem, so put that moisture back into the air in your home. Not only will this help your skin, but it will cut down on static and flyaway hair too.
- Take shorter, cooler showers. It may seem counterintuitive to limit your exposure to water when a lack of moisture is the issue, but taking shorter showers and washing both your body and hands with lukewarm water is actually better for your winter skin.
- Steer clear of scents. When possible, limit your use of harsh, bar soaps with irritating fragrances. Opt instead for fragrance-free moisturizing cleanser or gel.
- Modify your skin-care routine. If you normally use astringents and toners as part of your skin care regimen, consider putting them on the shelf during the winter months and just using cream-based cleansers instead. Also opt for a rich moisturizer on your face at night, and use a moisturizing balm on your lips to help keep them from getting chapped.
- Care for your hands. All the washing we’re advised to do during cold and flu season puts our hands at risk of becoming dry, chapped, and irritated. Make sure to use a rich moisturizing cream or ointment on your hands after each time you wash to keep them soft and supple.
- Apply sunscreen. That’s right—even during the winter, and even on cloudy days. Remember, snow reflects the sun’s rays (up to 80%, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation), so it’s important to apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on all exposed areas of your body.
- Watch what you wear. Keep your hands covered to protect them from the cold, winter air; and keep any fabrics that may irritate your skin, like wool and rough clothing, from directly touching your skin.
- Stay hydrated, inside and out. In addition to moisturizing your skin, make sure you’re putting enough water into your body too—6 to 8 glasses a day. Eating foods rich in omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed, may also help keep your skin feeling supple.
- Stay dry. If you’ve been out in the snow or wet weather, make sure to change into dry clothes and take off wet gloves, socks and shoes as soon as possible. The dampness can further irritate your skin and cause itchiness.
- Don’t crank up the heat. Instead of reaching for the thermostat when you’re cold, and pumping more drying heat into your home, reach for a sweater and a blanket instead.
4179434F CAN/US 02/20