Published: 11/01/2015 - Updated: 12/27/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Winter and cold can bring certain unpleasant skin changes. While some people only notice their cheeks get rosy with the cold, or dry hands and feet, other people could have more aggressive skin reactions in lower temperatures. The temperature could dry out their skin, creating an uncomfortable stretching effect. And when it’s really bad, their skin can even crack and scale off, sometimes even leading to eczema.
You can care for your skin even in cold weather, and a few tips can help you keep it healthy.
Keep your skin hydrated
During winter or spring, a light moisturizing lotion could be enough for your skin, but during winter months, or colder months, we recommend using ointments or creams that are made with oils that help keep skin moisturized. These creams also help skin to retain moisture. Consider changing your light cream or lotion out for something more moisturizing.
Ideal ingredients for winter months include avocado oil, almond oil, or mineral oil. Other options include karite butter and vegetable oil, but these can leave the skin feeling oily. Some experts don’t recommend leaving it on as it could obstruct the pores in the skin.
Protect your skin
Although it may seem crazy, it’s a good idea to protect your sin from the sun during winter by applying sunscreen. Even though it’s cold your skin could still be affected by direct exposure to sun rays. It is a very good idea to use sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving the house, to ensure that it works properly, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for several hours.
Be careful with exfoliation
During winter your skin is more sensitive and it is not a good idea to exfoliate frequently, even if you feel like you need to because your skin is flaky. Try not to exfoliate your skin more than once a week, as any more could dry out or irritate your skin.
Take quick showers
Most likely you don’t want to get out of the shower during cold weather, and you’d rather spend more time under the hot water. But you need to be careful; warm water can also dry out your skin. It’s better for healthier skin during this time of the year to take quicker showers in warm water, which will also prevent itching.
Find another soap
Cream based, or glycerin soaps are best during winter for skin. Unlike other soaps, these won’t dry out your skin, and it will help keep your skin moisturized. consider changing your normal soap for one of these options.
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Take care of your hands
Hands are generally the most affected area during winter because they have less sebaceous glands than any other part of the body. This makes it hard to keep them moisturized during cold weather. The climate can dry them out, and even make them crack and itch. We recommend wearing cotton gloves if you’re going to go outside and moisturizing creams to keep them soft and smooth.
The heater, the bane of dry skin
If you use a heater to get warm, keep in mind that this will create blasts of dry air, which leads to drier skin. If you need to use a heater during cold weather, you also need to use a humidifier to control and maintain moisture in the air for your skin.
It’s easier to stay hydrated in the summer because often times you’ll want to drink a lot of liquids to stave off the heat. During winter however, it’s not always so easy to drink water or fresh juices. We recommend drinking hot and room temperature beverages, and make sure you don’t stop drinking liquids because this will help keep your skin moisturized.
Avoid wool clothing
Wool sweaters are definitely the warmest around, but they’re not always the best thing to wear. In fact, if you have dry skin, this type of sweater could irritate your skin, causing itching. It’s better to use softer clothing or wear a cotton shirt under your wool sweater to prevent skin contact.
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Pay attention to your lips
The skin on your lips is very delicate and often times dries out in cold climates. That’s why it is a good idea to use moisturizing lip balm while the seasons are changing. Karite cream is the best example, which is excellent for dry and chapped lips. But remember, don’t wait for your lips to dry out before you apply it. It’s better to start using it as soon as the seasons change.
See a dermatologist
If this advice doesn’t work, see a specialist for guidance on how to treat specifically your type of skin. They will know which products are best for you for preventing skin dryness, which generally comes along with this time of the year.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/27/2017
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