Cold weather may make your cheeks rosy, but the aftereffects of freezing temperatures, wind, and heaters can zap even the healthiest skin of vital moisturizers. Repeated exposures can result in more than just not looking your best. Without proper care, your skin can crack and flake; some people also develop eczema. Keep your skin and lips feeling and looking great by following these simple suggestions.
1. Use sunscreen. It’s not just for summer. Your skin can become damaged by UV rays year round, so use a product with at least an SPF of 30 to minimize the effects. Don’t forget your hands, too, if they will be exposed. Apply the sunscreen at least thirty minutes before going outdoors.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Use an oil-based moisturizer (rather than water-based) that provides a layer of protection; plus, it will be better at retaining moisture. Be sure, however, to get a non-clogging brand that contains avocado, almond, primrose, or mineral oil. Products that also contain humectants also are superior for retaining moisture.
3. Wear gloves. Wool gloves are probably the best for keeping your hands warm, but they can be itchy. Slip on a cotton glove first and wear the woolen gloves over them. Also, be sure to moisturize your hands daily. Hands have very few glands and become dry and cracked quickly.
4. Get wet gloves and hats off ASAP! The longer you keep wet clothing next to the skin, the greater the chances are that your skin will become irritated and episodes of eczema will increase.
5. Drink water. Important all year, of course, but in the cold months you can become just as dehydrated as you can in warmer ones. It seems to be a myth that drinking water will make your skin look better, but you will certainly feel better if you stay hydrated.
6. Pay attention to your feet. For many, many people, the winter months mean cracked heels. Don’t wait until they become painful and unsightly to care for them. Be sure to use lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerin, and exfoliate them every so often to get rid of dead skin.
7. Avoid too many hot baths. Sure, it feels great on a cold day or evening, and a hot bath every once in awhile is all right, but don’t make a daily habit of it, as super hot water degenerates lipid barriers. If you do overheat your water, be sure to use an all-over moisturizer when you get out. Consider also using oatmeal or baking soda additives to soothe dry skin.
8. Use lip balm. Again, don’t wait until things get bad. Take preventive measures to keep your lips soft and kissable by wearing lip balms (and reapplying frequently throughout the day). Lip balms don’t have to be pricey to work. Simply look for ones that are petroleum based or ones that contain cocoa butter or lanolin.
9. Be gentle to your face. When washing your face, use a mild foaming cleanser or a milk-based cleaner. Toners should be alcohol-free. If you like to use masks, avoid clay-based products and opt for ones advertised as “deep hydrating.”
10. Use a humidifier. Humidifiers keep the air moister, and this keeps your skin from drying out. Consider buying several small ones to place around your home to combat the effects of central heating.