In the midst of winter, you are likely looking for the best ways to prevent your skin from drying and cracking under the harsh conditions. National Winter Skin Relief Day, on January 8, is a great time to discover the available options for keeping your skin healthy and moist throughout the winter. Founded by a major skin care company, National Winter Skin Relief Day is a means to gain awareness for the added attention necessary for your skin during the harsh winter season. In recognition of this day here are 8 tips on keeping your skin healthy and hydrated throughout the winter.
1. Moisturize Every Day
Do not rely on the same moisturizer that you use during the warmer seasons. As the weather changes, your skincare products must also change. Select an ointment or cream moisturizer that is oil-based instead of water-based. The oil will form a protective shield over your skin that locks in moisture.
Be aware that some oils are not recommended for your face, hence you should choose carefully. Seek out nonclogging oils such as primrose, almond, avocado, or mineral oil. It is best to avoid butter or shea oils as they might clog your facial pores.
Generously apply moisturizer every day, especially after getting out of the shower or bath. Applying the moisturizer to damp skin seals hydration in. Also, do not forget your lips. Apply chapstick or lip balm frequently to avoid dry, chapped lips.
2. No Hot Baths or Showers
After a long day of running around in the frigid wintery temperatures, nothing sounds better than a steaming hot bath. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things you can do. Extremely hot water depletes the oils from your skin, leaving it irritated, dry and dehydrated. Instead, take short baths or showers in lukewarm water.
For additional dry skin relief, add baking soda or oatmeal to your bath. Avoid using products that include retinol, alpha hydroxy acid, or alcohol as those chemicals are very dehydrating to your skin. While drying off be sure to pat, not rub, your skin dry.
3. Hydrate Your Home and Office
Space heaters and central heating systems fill your home and office space with dry, hot air. This dry air is very bad for your skin. Humidifiers release moisture into the air, which helps to keep your skin hydrated. A number of small humidifiers placed strategically throughout the home help to evenly disperse moisture.
Your goal should be to have the moisture level inside your home at 40 to 50%. You can use a hygrometer to keep track of the humidity level in your home. Another good way to boost the moisture in the air is to place a few houseplants around your home and office.
4. Don’t Put Away Your Sunscreen
On those bright winter days, the sun’s rays reflect off the snow as much as 80%. So no matter if you are frolicking in the snow, gliding gracefully down the slopes, or merely strolling through the parking lot on your way to the office, it is equally important to use your sunscreen in the cool winter weather as it is under the hot summer sun.
Do not skip the sunscreen on those dreary, dark winter days either. The sun’s hazardous UV rays can break through the clouds and still cause harm. At least 30 minutes before going outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum, moisturizing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to all exposed skin on your body.
5. Consume Healthy Fats
A good defense against itchy, dry skin is a diet chock full of healthy fats. This is due to the fact that essential fatty acids, such as omega-3s, contribute to the skin’s natural oils, which helps to keep moisture in. Not getting enough healthy fats not only leads to dry, irritated skin, but can also make you more vulnerable to acne breakouts. Increase your intake of healthy fats by adding foods to your diet that are rich in omega-3 such as freshwater fish like tuna, halibut, sardines, salmon, mackerel, or herring. Also add flax, safflower oil or walnuts.
6. Homemade Facial Masks
Facial masks that you make yourself, as opposed to store-bought, are always best as you know precisely what they are made from. A do-it-yourself hydrating mask can provide much-needed moisture during the cold months. Be sure to use natural hydrating ingredients such as yogurt, honey, avocado, almond oil, aloe, bananas, jojoba oil or olive oil. Mix the ingredients of your choice together to form a paste or cream. Apply to your face and leave on for 10 to 30 minutes. Do this once a week for maximum hydration that lasts.
7. Protect Your Hands
Of all your body parts, your hands are the hardest to keep moisturized, especially during the winter. Your hands have fewer oil glands and thinner skin than other parts of your body. Therefore, your hands can become dry, cracked and irritated easily. Always wear gloves whenever you venture outdoors. If you require wool mittens or gloves for your hands to stay warm, wear a pair of thin cotton gloves underneath to prevent skin irritation from the wool.
8. Dress Appropriately
A lot of cold-weather fabrics are very irritating to dehydrated winter skin. Do not wear rough or wool clothing directly against your skin. Doing so can irritate your skin making it itchy. Opt for light layers that are made from natural, breathable and soft fibers such as cotton or flannel for wearing directly against your skin. Fabrics that are hypoallergenic, and free of dyes or fragrances as well, are best.
Wear your warmer, heavier clothes on top of the lighter layers. When heading outdoors do not forget to cover exposed skin on your neck with a warm scarf.
Do not suffer from painful dry and cracked skin this winter. Maintain healthy, moisturized and glowing skin and celebrate National Winter Skin Relief Day by following the tips above.