by Gwen Lewis
As the seasons change and we find ourselves firmly locked in the grasp of winter’s icy fingers, many of us are starting to feel the effects on our skin. The all too familiar cold temperatures, brutal winds, and dry air can cause many of us to experience dryness, itchiness, rashes, and painful skin conditions. Even though we can’t control Mother Nature, we do have the ability to protect our skin from the winter weather.
Please scroll through the following ideas on how to protect your skin from winter weather:
Yes, even during the winter we need to keep applying sun protection. The winter’s sun rays still consists of dangerous UVA rays with about 80 percent of them filtering through the gloomy and overcast skies. If that isn’t cause enough for alarm, we need to consider that snow can reflect and intensify the sunlight which increases our chances for sunburn. This means, even during the winter when temperatures are freezing, we are still at risk for the sun damaging our skin and need to take necessary precautions. Everyday apply a broad spectrum sunblock of 30 SPF or higher.
It’s not a big secret that it is always easier to prevent a skin problem than suffering while we try to treat a condition. That makes it essential that we take a proactive approach during the winter and avoid irritants. We should use gentle cleansers, limit exposure to harsh hand sanitizers, protect our skin from those cold northerly winds, be careful with hair removal techniques, and avoid overheating. An ounce of prevention is always sage advice, especially during the winter months.
This season is known for causing dry, rough, and itchy skin. Whether it happens, because of the low humidity outside or our forced indoor heating systems, these skin flare-ups can make us uncomfortable and self-conscious. To lessen the impact of dry air, we can use a warm air humidifier in our homes or carefully boil water on our stoves to add a little moisture back into the air. Experts tell us we should aim for a 60 percent humidity level to be comfortable in our own skin.
Adding humidity is a good line of defense, but it isn’t our only available option. Experts recommend trapping in skin moisture with moisturizers, creams, lotions, and ointments to prevent dryness, itchiness, and even eczema. For the best results use products with ingredients, such as olive oil, jojoba oil, lanolin, glycerin, petroleum, mineral oil, aloe vera, and shea butter. Always remember to apply your favorite moisturizing product after bathing or washing to prevent further irritation and moisture loss.
Gently Exfoliate Skin
Flaky skin can be unsightly and embarrassing. Thankfully, we can use our favorite exfoliating product or make a simple scrub from 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, and a few drops of lavender essential oil to remove dry, flaky skin and prevent ingrown hairs from forming. Afterwards, apply your favorite moisturizer or lotion.
Avoid Extended Hot Baths or Showers
Even though a hot shower or bath is a luxury on the coldest days, we need to be mindful that hot water and overbathing can wreak havoc on our skin. Doctors and dermatologists often recommend that we use warm (not hot) water, and limit our bathing to only 5 and 10 minutes. This will help prevent valuable oils from being lost down the drain and reduce the likelihood of over drying our skin and flaring up a bout of eczema.
As a general rule, we should layer clothing to prevent overheating, rashes, chafing, or excessive sweating. Start with a soft layer of cotton, add a few mid-layers, and finally top it all off with a waterproof coat or jacket. Our goal is to create peelable layers that can be adjusted to room or outside temperatures as needed.
Eat and Drink for Healthy Skin
To protect our skin from winter weather, we need to eat well and drink plenty of water. What we eat can greatly influence our skin’s ability to maintain moisture. We recommend a diet rich in essential fatty acids that can be found in the following foods: walnuts, avocados, flaxseed, salmon, and olive oil.
What tips and suggestions can you share for protecting your skin from winter weather?
Gwen Lewis is a writer who lives in California. She has been in the fashion and health industry for years and loves writing on the topic to give tips from experience. In her free time, she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to surf.