How to Reduce the Effects of Harsh Winter Weather on Skin

Winter SkinYou probably already know that harsh, cold, and dry winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin. Skin becomes dry, dull, flaky, and sometimes even more reactive. And who wants to look tired and older at holiday parties and family get togethers?

Here are some quick tips to help you counteract winter effects on your skin and maintain a warm, dewy, and youthful look.

What Does Winter Weather Do to Skin?

Winter weather strips your skin of moisture and of its natural, moisturizing oils. As soon as you turn the heat on, it draws moisture from the air, leaving your home dryer, which pulls moisture out of your skin. Hot showers and baths further rob the skin of natural moisture and oils, while harsh winds and the frequent washing and drying that comes with flu season leave skin even dryer and more unprotected.

As the skin loses its moisture, the outer layer begins to feel dry, itchy, and tight. Untreated, the skin may eventually form hard areas like calluses, or crack and open into unsightly wounds that increase your risk of infection.

How You Can Counteract the Effects

To counteract the effects of cold weather on skin requires more than just using moisturizer more often. Here are some tips to help your skin cope with the changes.

  1. Wash in lukewarm water. Hot showers and baths always feel good in the winter, but when you can, particularly when just washing your face or hands, choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping as many oils away from the skin
  2. Moisturize immediately afterwards. Your skin not only needs more moisture, but moisture right after you wash. Applying moisture to damp skin helps seal that dampness into the skin. Keep a bottle near the bathtub, shower stall, and at every sink and use liberally every time you wash.
  3. Choose moisturizer carefully. Some over-the-counter moisturizers have petroleum-based ingredients that can actually further dry your skin in the winter months. Be sure to choose a smart formula that has natural, nourishing ingredients. Go for an oil-based rather than a water-based solution, as it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture in the winter. Try CV Skinlabs Calming Moisture, as it’s a luxurious, whipped cream product that contains soothing aloe, deep-moisturizing triglycerides, hydrating sunflower oil, and oat kernel extract, which helps soothe dry, itchy skin.
  4. Protect. Get used to wearing gloves and scarves to protect skin from cold winds, rain, and snow. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun, so apply a safe option like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to any exposed areas.
  5. Humidify. Heating systems dry out the air, so consider installing a humidifier in your home, particularly in your bedroom, to put moisture back into the air and help prevent your skin from drying out.
  6. Drink. We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.
  7. Overnight moisturize. Dryer areas like hands, feet, elbows, and knees have thin skin and tend to lose moisture faster than other areas on the body. Consider slathering on a deep moisturizing balm like CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm at night, then wear cotton gloves and socks to seal in the moisture until morning.
  8. Exfoliate. We often forget to help the skin slough off dead cells in the winter, particularly on our hands. Yet moisture can’t get in if the dead cells are too plentiful. Find an exfoliating mask and use it on your face and your hands, as well as gently on your lips, then follow immediately with moisture to truly see a smoother difference. Exfoliating body washes are also helpful in the winter months.
  9. Tone down the toxins. Particularly if you have eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, you have to avoid allergens and irritants that may trigger a flare up. Winter skin is more fragile, so avoid irritating fabrics (like wool) and chemical-laden detergents, and use mild cleansers and moisturizers designed for sensitive skin.
  10. Supplements. Keep your immune system strong with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress relief, and consider a few extra fruit & veggie smoothies to give yourself a mega dose of vitamins and antioxidants. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and zinc to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin. Also consider an omega-3 supplement, or consume more fatty fish and flaxseed to give your skin the building blocks it needs to appear supple and smooth.

What do you do in the winter months to maintain healthy looking skin? Please share your ideas.

Picture courtesy graur razvan ionut via freedigitalphotos.net.

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