The change of seasons can be very stressful on your skin, especially when going from warmer summer months to cold, windy drier winters. This transition most commonly makes your skin look dull and older than its years, but it can also spur flare-ups of skin conditions such as acne and eczema. One of the biggest mistakes people make with the change of seasons is they neglect adjust their skin care routine, if they are even sticking to one in the first place. The good news is that there are simple changes you can make to prevent the stress of cold weather from affecting your skin.
Decreased temperatures mean a drop in humidity levels, taking moisture not only out of the air, but also out of your skin. While staples like a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are crucial for healthy skin, making a few skincare changes and adopting a handful of new habits can help manage the discomfort of Dry Skin Season and keep your skin feeling silky smooth year round. Here’s my quick hit of easy skin care tips for cold weather:
1. Protect your hands
The skin on your hands is more prone to drying out because, not only are your hands exposed to the elements all day long, the skin on your hands is quite thin, compared to the rest of your body and it produces less natural oils. Prevention is always better than a cure, so wear gloves whenever you go out in the cold weather; it’s the simplest way to protect them.
2. Don’t forget the sunscreen
Just because it’s cold out, that doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t shining and, on cold, clear days, the UV rays from the sun will still damage your skin if you don’t protect it. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to both your hands and your face every day and top it up, if you are going to be outdoors for a long time.
3. Ban Superhot Baths
Take quick warm (not hot!) showers. A long hot shower may feel heavenly on cold mornings, but it strips out the water and natural oils in your skin, thus drying it out. Limit showers to 15-minutes or less, using warm water, rather than hot hot water.
4. Moisturise twice a day
You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer. But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine. Find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.
5. Keep yourself well hydrated from the inside
We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.
It’s easy to forget exfoliating in the winter because you spend most of the time covered up, but not exfoliating can actually make a dry skin problem worse. If you let the dead skin cells build up, they can attract and hold water, which will then cause irritation and even more drying out of the skin. Exfoliate your hands, lips and face regularly during the cold weather and it will help keep your skin looking healthy and it will allow your moisturiser to soak in better.
7. Use a humidifier
Central heating dries all the moisture out of the air and that, in turn, will dry out your skin. Use a humidifier in your home, especially in your bedroom. It will replace some of that lost moisture in the air and prevent your skin drying out. The best thing to do is several humidifiers, one in each room that you spend the most time in.
8. Look after your feet
Take care of your feet in the winter too, and then you won’t have to worry about dry, hard skin when the warm weather returns. In the cold weather, you will need a heavier moisturiser for your feet than you do in the summer, so look for lotions that contain glycerine or petroleum jelly.
9. Use moisturising DIY face masks
The best and the cheapest face mass are the ones that you make yourself at home. You can use natural moisturising ingredients like honey, bananas, almond oil and avocado. Just mix up your preferred ingredients into a paste, apply it to your face, and leave it sit for about twenty minutes. A natural face mask is the perfect way to rehydrate your skin after a long day out in the cold wind.
10. Moisturise overnight
To replace the moisture you lose from your skin during the day, slather on a deep moisturising lotion at night and leave it on when you go to bed. The areas of skin that are particularly prone to drying out in the cold weather are the feet the hands, and the elbows. Leaving moisturiser on all night will give it a better chance of being absorbed deep into the skin and that will protect it the following day.
11. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks
Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.
If stubborn dry skin is causing extreme discomfort, seek out professional advice. A dermatologist can analyze your skin type and create a customized skin care routine. In certain cases, extremely dry skin can be an indicator of a larger medical issue, such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid. Work with a health care professional to determine a more specified treatment plan.
Do you have other tips for pampering winter skin? Please share them with our readers.