Old man winter has finally taken hold across the U.S. Temperatures have dipped to below freezing and even below zero in many parts of the country. You may be starting to feel the effects of winter weather. From head to toe the winter weather can cause havoc on your health. This is especially true for our skin. The dry, harsh winter weather can cause sudden skin woes.
The most common winter skin complaints are peeling, drying, and cracking. You may also develop what is commonly referred to as winter itch. Dry skin that is constantly itchy. Your skin may also become chapped from exposure, even if the exposure is brief. Lips and facial skin are most susceptible to becoming chapped. Chapped lips become dry, cracked, and may even peel. Severe skin conditions such as psoriasis and rosacea may also become worse during the bitter cold months of January and February.
This winter weather has descended upon us suddenly but there are ways to combat those winter skin woes. Since dry skin is the culprit of many winter skin issues, moisturizing and hydrating are two ways help fight against the winter weather. Apply moisturizer day and night and even in between if you feel that winter itch. When washing hands or showering, avoid any products that may contain even the slightest amount of alcohol. Hand sanitizers are alcohol based and make winter skin woes worse. If your condition is severe, you may want to choose a product that contains cortisone or a product made just for healing extremely dry skin such as Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment. Petroleum jelly such as Vaseline also works on extremely dry and inflamed winter skin.
Hydrating your skin from the inside is important too, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water through out your day. You may not think you need as much water in the winter because you are sweating less and don’t lose as much water, but if you are waking up thirsty all night long because of dry winter air then your body is trying to tell you something.
Cut back on exfoliation. You’re always hearing how exfoliation leads to glowing, healthy skin and it does, but in the harsh cold winter months, exfoliating too often can actually lead to dry, chapped skin. The ingredients in exfoliants sometimes include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and retinol, all of which can be effective for removing dead skin, but that can also exacerbate dryness during the winter. Cutting back how you you exfoliate or switching to one without drying ingredients can help retain moisture and relieve that dry, flaky skin.
For dry, cracked lips, experts say to gently buff off the dead skin with a toothbrush or face brush. Next, apply a lip balm that contains natural oils such as beeswax, she butter, or even coconut oil. Covering your mouth with a scarf when you are exposed to the outdoors will also help to prevent dry cracked lips. If you use a lipstick or lip gloss, check the labels to make sure it does not contain any ingredients that will actually dry out your skin. Many of the long lasting lipsticks and lip tints contain ingredients that can make your winter lips dry.
Humidifiers are also a great way to combat the dry winter air. A whole house humidifier will add moisture to the air inside your home during the cold winter months when your heat in on. If you can’t have a whole house humidifier a small one next to your bed will fill the air at night with moisture and help your skin at night. A personal humidifier is now available that plugs right into your computer adds moisture to the surrounding air while you work. These personal humidifiers are flying off store shelves and are sold out on many online sites.
We can’t escape winter, but we can reduce it’s effects on our skin. By hydrating our skin, covering up, and bringing back moisture to the air we can put those winter skin woes in their place. Just think, spring is just around the corner. Persisting skin problems or worsening symptoms should always be discussed with your physician.