Is it truly the most wonderful time of the year? Perhaps for young ones and teachers eagerly awaiting winter break, and children aged one to 100 that are excited about the holidays, yes. However, for our skin, it may not be the most wonderful time of the year. Dry and flaky skin, itchiness from all those clothes we have to pile on, the bite of that winter air – old Jack Frost can leave our skin craving those warmer months. If this sounds familiar, below are some things that may help your skin to feel better all winter long.
Your Four Steps to Winter Ready Skin
1. Give Yourself a Hand (Moisturizer)
Dare I say, during those cold winter months, the hands take the brunt of the damage. Most people wear long sleeves, pants and jackets, but the hands are another story. Unless you’re frequently donning gloves or mittens, which most people don’t until it gets “really cold,” your hands are being constantly exposed to the frigid temps. This dries them out, and can lead to cracking and bleeding. It’s critical you use a good moisturizer, and many experts think it should be one that is glycerin-based. You should at least be putting it on when you get up in the morning and before bed. And, put on some more when your hands feel dry. Moisturizing gloves while you sleep my also be beneficial.
2. Remedy Your Chapped Lips
First, one thing that can actually help you a ton is drinking more water. Staying hydrated may not be at the top of your mind because you’re not as thirsty when it’s so cold, but you need to be drinking plenty of water all year long.
Second, wear a quality lip balm or chapstick that has sunscreen in it. Not only will this help moisturize and mend your chapped kisser, it will protect as well.
Third, and this is the hardest one for most people, don’t lick your lips. Believe it or not, licking your lips can make the chapped factor worse!
Finally, the winter weather wreaks havoc on the lips, but you shouldn’t exfoliate them. Instead, make sure you are using a good quality lip balm to avoid chapped lips. Learn why exfoliation is bad for your lips here.
3. Exfoliate and Moisturize All Over
Perhaps even more so than the rest of the year, you’ll have dead skin that needs to be exfoliated away. When you exfoliate, you’re replenishing your skin by removing the dead layer of skin cells. Twice a week you should be gently buffing away these cells making way to the new cells to develop without anything in their way. While bathing, use a nonabrasive exfoliant, and after you’ve dried off, moisturize from head to toe. Don’t overdo it with exfoliation, twice a week should be fine, but don’t neglect doing it either. Exfoliating helps replenish skin and improve your moisturizer’s effectiveness.
Exfoliation allows moisturizers to penetrate the skin more easily, and during the winter you really want to maintain some moisture. Moisturizers will help prevent your skin from becoming too dry in the harsh winter weather. You may also want to consider moisturizing more than once a day.
Exfoliation and moisturizing alone will make a massive difference in repairing your skin. However, there are also products you can use at home to heal some of the damaging effects from the sun you may have endured over the summer.
4. Protect The Skin You’re in
It’s easy to forget that the sun is still shining during the winter, especially when you’re so cold you’re wearing three or four layers of clothing. But, believe it or not, you can still experience sun damage that could lead to skin cancer if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun in the winter. Sunscreen is a must all year long.
Additional Things to Consider When Prepping For Winter
– You don’t need to replace all of your products, but some experts do recommend using a heavier cream or an ointment as your moisturizer.
– Although you definitely should exfoliate twice a week, it’s imperative that you use a gentle exfoliation product. It’s also important not to do it too frequently. If you’re experiencing too much redness and irritation, you may be exfoliating too often.
– Cracked heel skin is pretty common, and it only gets worse in the winter months. All the dry air can exacerbate the cracking making walking painful, and putting you at more risk of infection. One thing that can help in a big way is to moisturize your feet with something like Vaseline. Before bed, don your feet with petroleum jelly, wrap them in plastic wrap, and cover with socks. You should wake up with your heels much more moisturized, and hopefully your heels will begin to heal.
The winter months may be frigid and drying, but your skin doesn’t have to suffer. May your skin be merry and bright. And, may you be protected from winter’s cold bite!