Keeping Skin Healthy In Cold Weather

Living in a cold climate during chilly to downright freezing weather can be hard on our skin. Blustery winds and frigid temperatures are no friend to our largest organ quickly zapping moisture leaving it feeling rough, dry, and cracked.

Just because there has been a seasonal change does not mean your skin has to suffer.  There are ways to protect and save your skin from the harshness of Mother Nature.  Taking the necessary steps to keep it looking and feeling fresh and moisturized during this time will pay off next spring when more of your skin will be showing. 

Here are tips to your skin dewy, soft and looking its best from head to toe:

·         Moisturize

This is the first line of defense in combatting dry winter skin.  Moisturizers can rehydrate the top layer of skin cells sealing in water. When stepping out of the shower or bath while the skin is still wet, use a moisturizer on at least arms and legs to lock in moisture making skin smooth and silky. 

There are dozens of moisturizers to choose from but look for ones that may contain petroleum jelly or moisturizing oils.  These contain no water and they are best used while the skin is still damp from bathing to seal in moisture.

·         Use a humidifier

Most homes will benefit from a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Heating a home during the winter can quickly dry out the interior which also is drying out your skin evaporating the moisture in it.  Use a humidifier set at around 60% which is a level sufficient to keep your home at an appropriate humidity level and your skin adequately moisturized.

·         Shorten the length of your shower time

 Limit yourself to one 5- to 10-minute bath or shower daily.  Bathing any longer than that can strip away much of the skin’s oily layer causing it to lose moisture.  Use lukewarm water rather than hot water which also washes away natural oils.

 ·         Use soap-free cleansers

Stay away from deodorant or perfumed soaps and alcohol products which can strip away natural oils. Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid fabric softeners.

·         Treat skin gently

During cold weather, baby your skin by staying away from bath sponges, scrub brushes and rough washcloths.  When drying off, pat or blot (don’t rub) your skin.

·         Avoid scratching

If you find yourself itchy and wanting to scratch dry skin, don’t. Use a moisturizer to control the itchiness or a cold compress to put a stop to it.

·         Avoid certain fabrics

Certain fabrics can irritate skin such as wool and acrylics.  If this is causing a problem, choose another clothing item to wear. 

·         Wear sunscreen

Yes, it is cold out but even on a cloudy day, it is still important to wear sunscreen year round.  It is particularly important to wear sunscreen when there is snow or ice on the ground or if o you live at a higher altitude.  Both snow and ice can reflect harmful, skin-damaging UV rays causing dryness and premature wrinkles and age spots.

·         Keep hydrated and eat healthy foods

It really doesn’t matter what time of the year it is but being well-hydrated and eating healthy food is always a must for great looking skin.  Water is still one of the best ways to hydrate skin and if the weather is very dry and you are not well-hydrated, your skin can get very dry very quickly.  Water is like oil to your body – it keeps everything functioning as well as keeping your skin super-hydrated and soft.

What we feed ourselves on the inside reflects in how we look on the outside.  At all times, have fresh fruits and veggies on hand consuming at least 5 servings a day.  Choosing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids also provide moisture keeping our skin looking supple.  Eat a lot of omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, walnuts, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and grass-fed beef.