Winter air can be devastating for the skin. Harsh winds, cold temperatures, blasting heaters and dry air can cause skin to crack, peel and redden. This winter, prepare your skin in advance and stop winter skin problems before they happen. The following tips can help you prevent and treat some of the cold and wind-related skin problems that pop up each year.
Winter air is incredibly drying, so it’s easy to become dehydrated in the winter without even knowing it. Keep your fluid intake high to ensure your skin is prepared from the inside out. Not sure how much to drink or what to drink? Any liquid-based beverage or food will help hydrate, but avoid drinks that are packed with sugar. Drink several large glasses of pure water throughout the day and you won’t have to worry about being under-hydrated unless you engage in a particularly strenuous activity.
Skin can benefit from additional moisture during the winter, but many common moisturizers sold in stores actually have a drying effect on the skin. If a moisturizers main ingredient is water, it will actually dry the skin and may make winter skin problems worse. Instead of traditional moisturizer, look for oil-based creams and moisturizers that will create a barrier between your skin and the outside air. Coconut oil and olive oil are both effective moisturizers and are safe for most skin types.
Winter air is damaging to skin, so keep your skin out of the elements as much as possible. Wear gloves, hats and other warm clothing while outdoors to protect your skin and prevent cracked skin. If you will be outside for extended periods, consider the use of a ski mask, which will protect your face from harsh winter winds and biting snow and ice.
Dry air is terrible for skin. Dry air can lead to rashes, abrasions, peeling, cracks and painful skin injuries. You can prevent some of this from happening with the use of a humidifier. Humidifiers are particularly effective at reducing the damage caused by indoor heaters that pull moisture from the air and your skin. As a bonus, humidifiers make the air feel warmer, which may save you a few dollars on your heating bill this winter. If you find moisture or beads of water on windows or walls, wipe it up and scale back the humidity so you don’t develop mold in your home.
Hot, dry air is the worst for skin health. Too much hot, dry air can make existing skin problems worse and trigger blackheads, rosacea, acne, dry patches and eczema. Turning the heater down just a few degrees can help prevent some of these heat-related skin problems. Rapid temperature changes from cold to hot extremes are also damaging to skin, so keeping your body at a constant comfortable temperature for most of the day can help reduce skin damage. Dress in layers to prevent overheating and sudden temperature spikes and drops as you go about your day.
Your skin maintains a delicate balance that is easily upset. But you don’t have to be resigned to terrible winter skin. Employ the above tips to save your skin and let this be your skin’s best winter yet.
—The Alternative Daily