10 Winter Skin Care Tips
The weather outside may be unsightly, but your skin doesn't have to be. How to banish dry skin and give your winter skin care regimen a boost.
1. Seek a Specialist
At Fields of Ambrosia you will find a salesperson who can give you good advice, on the skin care products you should be using. But that doesn't mean you'll be stuck buying high-end products. "Inexpensive products work just as well as high- end ones," says David Voron, MD, a dermatologist in Arcadia, Calif. "In fact, the extra price you pay for the expensive stuff is often just for packaging and marketing. What's most important is how your skin responds to the product -- and how you like its feel, not how much money you paid for it."
2. Moisturize More
You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer. But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine. Find an "ointment" moisturizer that's oil- based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled as "night creams" are oil-based.) But choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for "nonclogging" oils, like avocado oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. Shea oil -- or butter -- is controversial, because it can clog facial pores. You can also look for lotions containing "humectants," a class of substances (including glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin.
3. Slather on the Sunscreen
No, sunscreen isn't just for summertime. Winter sun -- combined with snow glare -- can still damage your skin. Try applying a ZINC OXIDE sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they're exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time.
4. Give Your Hands a Hand
The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it's harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.
5. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks
Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.
6. Hook Up the Humidifier
Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly.
7. Hydrate for Your Health, Not for Your Skin
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Drinking water helps your skin stay young looking. In fact, it's a myth. Water is good for your overall health and "the skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from fluids. But the average person's skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk," Kenneth Bielinski, MD, a dermatologist in Oak Lawn, Ill., tells WebMD "It's a very common misconception."
8. Grease Up Your Feet
Yes, those minty foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, your feet need stronger stuff. And use exfoliants, such as an oil-based salt scrub to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.
9. Pace the Peels
If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, use a cream based cleanser, a toner with witch hazel, and masks that are "deeply hydrating – all 3 are available at Fields of Ambrosia.
10. Ban Superhot Baths
Sure, soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. You're better off with just warm water, and staying in the water a shorter amount of time. A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or bergamot, lavender & tea tree oils, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy, so, too, can periodically reapplying your moisturizer.