Winter conditions can be rough on the skin, causing dryness, itchiness or redness. But a few daily or weekly habits can help keep your skin healthy even when temperatures drop. Callie Gray, aesthetician, ProMedica Physicians Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery, shares her top tips for healthy winter skin.
- Increase your water intake. The air naturally gets drier outside and when heaters turn on, the indoor air gets drier, too. Replenish the water that is being stripped from your skin by staying hydrated.
- Add a hydrating cream to your skin care regime. This will help nourish or recover your skin. A lotion may work for mild dry skin, but a cream may be needed if you have moderate or very dry skin.
- Avoid hot showers. Hot showers heat you up on a cold day, but they strip your skin of its natural oils, which you’ll need to replenish. Stick with warm water and pat yourself dry.
- Wear an SPF. Even on cloudy winter days, you’re still susceptible to UVA and UVB sunrays. You can use a plain SPF or a tinted cream with SPF included if you don’t want full makeup coverage.
- Exfoliate. Exfoliating your skin can lead to a more even skin texture and brightened skin. Depending on your unique skin, you may need to exfoliate daily or maybe just once per week. Avoid harsh, manual exfoliants – try a leave-on gel that exfoliates by itself or a washcloth as Gray does for the right touch.
- Protect your skin outdoors. If you’ll be out in harsh winter conditions, be gentle on your skin. In addition to wearing SPF, hydrate your skin and consider an eye cream to help with tearing or minimizing crows feet if you’ll be squinting. You may want to forego exfoliation that day as well.
- Protect your lips. Petroleum and beeswax lip balm can help protect your lips from chapping. Gray suggests putting it on before bed and avoiding balms with menthol or cooling sensations, which may actually dry out your lips more. Lips may also be exfoliated with sugar, coconut oil or green tea scrubs.
- Don’t forget your hands. Barrier creams can help protect your hands drying and flaking. Gray also recommends paraffin dips at the office, using a warm wax to moisturize and soften the skin.
Buying and using skin products properly can sometimes be overwhelming. Working with a skin care expert can help you understand your skin and familiarize yourself with products.