Winterizing Your Skin & Important Tips
The winter and colder weather months may challenge your skin in different ways than summer or warm weather. In winter, typically, the air is drier, less humid. The skin may lose moisture easily and become dry. This may be compounded by people’s tendency to take long hot showers in the colder weather. Hot water can easily strip away the natural moisture barriers of the skin, leading to dry skin. Dry skin is the number one cause of itching. So, take quick warm showers, not long hot ones. It is preferable to use a gentle, non-drying cleanser. Upon exiting the shower, pat the skin dry, but leave it slightly moist. Then, apply a moisturizer. The choice of moisturizer may be influenced by how dry the skin tends to be, and what clothing will be worn next. If one showers before bedtime, or you don’t care what you are about to wear in the morning, a heavier moisturizer may be used. A bath oil will cover a large surface effectively, and pajamas or sweats can be put on. No need to worry about ruining clothes. If your shower precedes wearing nice clothes, then a more sheer product may be preferred. However, the heavier and greasier the moisturizer, the better, if the skin is very dry.
Needless to say, the winter months may not be a good time to exfoliate your skin. Frankly, the use of body exfoliants, such as salt, sugar, coarse sponges, luffahs, etc., is of questionable value, particularly if one bathes regularly, or tends to have dry skin.
The Importance of Sunscreen in the Winter
Besides the body, the lips and hands seem to be the parts that suffer a lot due to dryness. A bland lip emollient, preferably one that has sunscreen, may be applied frequently, and is easily carried in a pocket or a purse. There are a wide variety of hand creams, which as noted above, may vary from light to heavy, the heavy ones being the more effective, though sometimes inconvenient. Use of hand sanitizer gels instead of soap and water, whenever possible, will also help prevent the hands from excessive drying and cracking.
Even though it’s winter, the sun still plays a major role in damaging your skin. Ultraviolet-A, a significant factor in causing wrinkles, photo-aging, brown spots and melanoma, is uniformly strong throughout the year. It is as potent at 7 AM New Year’s Day as it is at noon on the 4th of July. Therefore, a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must all year long.