In many climates, the cold of winter also results in less humid air; this may be a welcome break from a sweaty summer season, but it also means your skin has to adjust. Other factors, however, may be impacting your skin that you haven’t thought about. Remember that your skin is an organ, always adjusting to both the external elements and your internal chemistry. Try these strategies for keeping your skin healthy all winter long.
These days, there are a wide variety of skin oils, creams, and lotions that claim a moisturizing effect. Consider what has helped your skin feel healthy in the past, and then visit a department store where you can test out the feeling of a variety of moisturizers. Most people are looking for a balance between greasiness (the feeling of the moisturizer persisting on their skin) and healing power/protection. Thicker substances, like petroleum jelly, may keep moisture in and protect your skin from winter winds, but you may not like the heavy feeling of the gel on your skin. Determine a few good candidates and do some experiments; use each one as directed for a week to see how you like them. Small travel-sized packages can make this experimentation easier.
Dress for Coverage
Winter weather can get to your skin no matter what, but why make life harder for your skin than you have to? Invest in a fluffy scarf, a head-encompassing hat, and some wind-proof gloves if you will spend any amount of time outside. The work involved in carrying things around will more than pay off in reduced pain of cold in your extremities, and your skin will be less prone to dryness and pain.
Shower/Bathe Less Often and for Less Time
You may use a moisturizer, but you are also making natural moisturizers in your skin all the time; the same oils that create annoying pimples once in a while are the oils that protect your skin from the elements. Avoiding extreme build-up of these oils is a great reason to bathe and shower, but when your skin is overly dry, cutting out one shower a week or cutting your shower or bath by 5 or 10 minutes can make a difference in your skin’s appearance. These bathing experiences wash away build-up but also leave your skin exposed; this is one of the reasons people suggest moisturizing right after showering. Yes, it may seem odd to shower quickly just to avoid dryness, but your skin shouldn’t lose all its oils. Super hot water can be especially bad at this; just like hot water does a more thorough job washing your pots and pans, you’ll see your skin can often react badly after a really hot bath or shower.
Drink Water: Make Life Revolve Around It!
Strange as it seems, your skin is likely to suffer if you drink too little water. Hydration is what maintains the tough exterior of your skin, and lacking it makes that layer more likely to dry out and flake. Before you invest in particular topical skin care regimens, make sure you’ve constructed a daily routine that helps you unconsciously drink more water. Most of us don’t deliberately drink too little water, so drinking more usually involves some effort: a water bottle tucked in the car or a pack of them in the office, or regular trips to the water fountain when you need to wrestle with an idea at work.
Rethink Your Soap or Scale Down How Much You Use
Even soaps that look creamy and smooth on the packaging may be contributing to your dry winter skin. Look up reviews online and see if there might be another soap you can try to see if your skin feels and looks better. Another option (similar to the one above) is to use a little bit less soap. This doesn’t mean instantly being stinky and unclean; it just means scrubbing a little less hard and using a smaller sized dollop of body wash. Soap, like hot water, washes off both the unnecessary dry skin on your skin and some of the skin oils that are still there, protecting you. Scaling back your amount of soap can sometimes help your skin cope with the cold, windy weather. With one or more of these strategies, you will most likely find a new method for keeping your skin feeling bright and beautiful during these bitterly chilly months.
If one method seems to be making your skin worse, or if you have a documented skin condition, definitely default to your doctor before doubling down on a strategy. Before long, your skin will be less chapped and painful, and you’ll be a little healthier, too!