Your skin in winter can become very dry - even to the point of being painful. I myself began feeling the effects of the cooler weather in early October. It usually doesn't hit me this hard but this year I'm having a real difficult time with it. My lips became tender and chapped, and I had to switch to a different formula of daily facial cleanser because the exfoliating beads in my current cleanser were irritating my skin. My face became red and flushed. I'll have to limit my daily exfoliation to just twice a week. Also my hands and feet became very dry.
Ah, winter. It can be so peaceful yet so unforgiving. Indoors you're subjected to dry heat and outdoors you're bombarded with harsh winter UV rays from the sun and chilling winds. Yes, the sun's rays are still just as dangerous as they are in the summer and they will reflect off any snowy surfaces, bouncing the rays right back on to you. You're going to need a good facial moisturizer with SPF in it.
Here are some more tips to help you combat dry winter skin:
- Use a lip balm (preferably with SPF) and do not lick your lips under any circumstances. That just makes it worse.
- Keep your hands moisturized with a good quality hand cream. Make sure you have a tube of hand cream with you at all times.
- Drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a dehydrator.
- Buy a humidifier if you don't already have one. It may help keep your heating bills down as well. You know, the whole heat and humidity thing. Think Amazon rainforest.
- Use a shower filter. It will filter out the skin-drying chlorine in your tap water. Avoid using hot water in the shower even though it feels so good on a cold winter morning. It will only strip your skin of its natural oils and cause water to evaporate more quickly. Use warm water onyl. Also, it pays to switch from soap which can dry the skin, to a silky body wash which will help your skin retain moisture. Pat your skin dry when exiting the shower, don't rub. Apply a nice moisturizer while your skin is still damp to help seal in moisture.
When the humidity drops to 50 percent or less, you will need to pay even more attention to your moisturization routine. Stay away from harsh scrubs or cleansers since they will eliminate most of the skin's oils and dry your skin out more easily. This applies to skin care products as well as cleaning products.
My favorite winter skin care tip is before you go to bed, apply a thick, rich moisturizer to your feet, concentrating on the heel area. Then put on a nice cushy pair of socks. When you wake up your feet will be soft and smooth and well-hydrated.
Not paying attention to extremely dry skin can lead to health issues and act as a welcome mat for rashes and skin infections. So take good care of your skin and enjoy your winter!
Katrina Price is a skin care consultant and the owner of www.skincareteacher.com