Winter is a tough time for your skin. The air outside is cold and dry with biting winds that whip at exposed extremities. Indoor heat saps the natural protective oils from skin, leaving it dry, rough and cracked.
If your skin is feeling like sandpaper this winter, try these tips to bring it back to life. Every location in the world is different. If you live in a warm area you may not have to worry about these problems. If you live in an area with snow and extreme cold temperatures this information will help your skin.
Removing dry, dead cells gives your skin a healthy glow and allows moisturizers to soak in more deeply. Common exfoliating creams contain salicylic acid, which is effective but can exacerbate dryness if overused. Instead, try a natural sugar scrub and use a light touch as you cleanse.
Switch to Oil-Based Moisturizer
Winter weather calls for the protective barrier offered by heavy moisturizers containing oil. This applies to products for your feet as well as your hands. Humectants that contain ingredients such as glycerin are another good option as they attract moisture to keep your skin supple.
Though there’s not much warmth in it, winter sun can be just as damaging as summer’s scorching rays, especially with the added glare from snow. Use a mild sunscreen to keep exposed skin safe whenever you go outside and remember to reapply if you’re spending the day on the slopes with friends or sledding with the family.
Always Wear Gloves
The thin skin on your hands is especially sensitive to seasonal changes in moisture. Keep it hydrated by investing in quality gloves that block damaging outdoor conditions. Layer up with thin cotton gloves first to allow moisturizer to penetrate and avoid potential irritation from warmer materials such as wool.
Ditch the Alcohol
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers wreak havoc on skin that’s already sensitive from the cold, dry weather. Though it’s tempting to reach for its germ-fighting power during the height of flu season, you’re better off with alcohol-free varieties or a soap-free hand cleaner.
Stock Up on Lip Balm
Winter is the time to trade in gloss and lipstick for practical lip care products. Chapstick is a reliable standby as is any product containing petroleum jelly. Shea butter is another popular ingredient that serves both to moisturize and protect. Whatever product you choose, make sure you have a tube on hand at home, at work and in the car since unprotected lips can become chapped quickly in winter conditions.
Remember Your Feet
Being stuffed inside socks and boots during the winter does a number on the skin of your feet. Before bed, gently scrub off rough spots using a pumice stone, then apply a rich moisturizer or body butter. Slip into some cotton socks to keep the moisture in and enjoy softer feet by morning.
Moisturize the Air
The same heat that keeps your home warm during the winter sucks the moisture out of the air. Put it back with a whole-house humidifier or small humidifiers placed in each room. The better the moisture balance in the air, the less chance your skin will start to dry out.
Cool Off the Shower
Toning down your blazing hot showers may be the last thing you want to do in winter, but it’s one of the best ways to take care of your skin. Water that’s too hot disrupts the lipid compounds in the skin’s surface, leaving it dry and uncomfortable. Try lukewarm water for a safer shower or soak in an oatmeal bath to soothe irritation.
See a Doctor
If you’ve tried all of these methods but are still having problems with your skin, visit a dermatologist. He or she will be able to recommend products specific to your skin type and condition to provide lasting relief.