There’s no doubt that winter’s cold temperatures are on their way. We change up our wardrobes when cold weather arrives, but it’s also a good time to think about changing up your skin care routines. Going from the cold, windy outdoors to hot, dry indoor heating can wreak havoc on your skin, but follow this cold weather skin care tips and avoid dry, cracked skin.
While it might feel great to take hot showers or baths in the wintertime, very hot water can break down the lipid barriers in your skin, which can result in a loss of moisture. Ultra-hot water can also hurt your hair and nails. Turn down the temperature just a little, take a slightly shorter shower, and apply a lotion or moisturizer within three minutes or so of getting out of the water to help lock in moisture.
Use a humidifier (or two!) in your home. Heating systems tend to dry out the air, which in turn dries out your skin. Once the relative humidity in your house gets below 60 percent, it’s time to crank up the humidifier.
Don’t forget the sunscreen! Just because the weather is cooling off doesn’t mean that UV rays are no longer a concern. Especially if you’re skiing or around snow, which can reflect sunlight back onto any exposed skin, use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays on your face and any other exposed skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Apply lotion after you wash your hands and after showering. Use lotions and moisturizers that contain ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil, linoleic acid, or glycerin — oil-based lotions, unlike water-based ones, create a protective layer on the skin that holds in moisture more effectively. For tough skin on your feet and elbows, exfoliate before applying. If your hands are already cracked, moisturize right before bed and put on a pair of cotton gloves to hold in the moisture while you sleep.
For dry skin on your face, avoid using clay masks, harsh peels, or alcohol-based toners and astringents — these can strip good oils from your skin. Find alcohol-free, hydrating products and use them less often: overuse, even of “good” products, can dry out your face.
If you’re following these tips but you’re still having problems with your skin, consult your doctor or a dermatologist. Conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis can flare up during the winter months and cause symptoms that look and feel similar to regular dry skin.