Blog written by Sdara Skincare.
Do you ever take the time to notice how your skin responds to different weather seasons? If so, you may have noticed that your skin gets drier and flakier during the cold winter months. The cold and dry winter air can leave your skin feeling itchy and inflamed. But what makes the winter months so different? The most significant factor is the absence of humidity in the air.
Even the things that make winter enjoyable, such as sitting by a roaring fire and enjoying hot baths, can wreak havoc on your skin. It almost feels like there is no escape. However, dry winter skin is not inevitable. The most important part of your winter skincare routine is making sure your skin is well hydrated and moisturized. But as you might have figured, this involves a lot more than simply putting on some lotion.
That said, let's now dive into 10 important tips you can use to keep your skin hydrated and looking healthy and gorgeous all through the cold winter months.
10 Tips for Protecting Your Skin During the Winter
1. Run a Humidifier
Since the biggest risk factor for your skin during the cold winter months is low humidity, running a humidifier in your home or office area is an easy fix. Humidifiers help to restore moisture to the air. This additional moisture acts as a natural skin moisturizing agent, thus preventing and helping relieve skin dryness.
As Harvard Health Publishing highlights, setting your humidifier at 60% during the cold winter months can help to replenish the moisture in the outermost layer of the skin.
2. Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen is not just for the summertime. It can be very tempting to stop using sunscreen during winter, since the days are shorter, with less sunlight. However, before you do this, think again. Even on gray winter days, harmful UV rays can still penetrate your skin.
Make sure to cover all exposed areas of your skin. Most preferably, use sunscreen with SPF 30 protection. Do not forget to apply sunscreen on parts of the body that are easily missed, such as the back of the neck.
3. Stay Hydrated
Most people do not take enough water when the temperatures are low. Not hydrating well can affect the health of your skin, making it prone to drying out. It is, therefore, important to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. In addition to taking enough water, you should eat foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These two nutrients help protect your cells from environmental damage and facilitate the generation of new cells.
Also, important to note, do not drink yourself dry. Alcohol causes dehydration in the body, leads to inflammation of the skin, and worsens existing conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. If you have to take alcohol, do so in moderation.
4. Take Short Showers
However tempting they can be, hot showers and long baths during the winter are a big no-no. In addition to hot water dehydrating your skin, it may strip it off of essential oils, leaving it looking and feeling dry.
Also, after taking a bath or showering, avoid vigorously rubbing your skin. You want to use a soft towel to gently pat your skin, allowing some of the moisture to be retained on the uppermost layer of the skin.
5. Moisturize After Showering
Notwithstanding how long or short, cold or warm your shower was, you must moisturize immediately you get out of the bathroom. You should apply your body lotion or oil, such as Marula Oil, while your skin is damp. This will help lock in additional moisture in your skin.
It is also important to carefully choose your moisturizer and body lotion. Because the goal is to retain as much moisture as possible, an oil-based moisturizer will work best for you. Also, if you have sensitive skin, use a fragrance-free moisturizer.
6. Protect Your Hands
It is very easy for the skin on our hands to dry, especially during this pandemic period where we are constantly using alcohol-containing hand sanitizers. These sanitizers have a drying effect on the skin. This, however, does not mean you stop sanitizing. Just remember to hydrate as often as you can.
Also, protect your hands from the effects of the cold and dry winter air by always wearing winter gloves every time you go outside. Wear rubber gloves when doing the dishes to protect the sensitive skin on your hands from the drying effect of harsh chemicals in soap.
7. Tweak Your Skincare Routine
Your skin, especially your facial skin, tends to get more sensitive during the cold seasons. Read more about 'How to Prepare Your Skin for Cold Weather' here. You may want to use a simpler skin prep routine in the meantime. Note that your skin first needs to be healthy for it to respond well to beauty treatments. If your skin is already irritated by the cold weather, it may be increasingly sensitive to products with fragrance or alcohol. This means that products that work perfectly on your skin normally, may become irritants during winter.
Go easy on your skincare routine. A simple moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning and skin-friendly cleanser and moisturizer in the evening will do. Once you are confident your skin has enough moisture, you can slowly work other treatments back to your routine.
8. Be Gentle with Exfoliants and Scrubs
Exfoliants help in the removal of dead skin cells. Exfoliating your skin is important as it will leave it looking smooth. But it is easy to over-exfoliate your skin or use the wrong products. It is advisable to use a gentle scrub with tiny particles. However, if your skin is irritated or inflamed, you may want to avoid exfoliating altogether, at least in the meantime.
9. Care for Chapped Lips
Unlike other parts of the body, lips can get extremely dry during the cold weather because this skin is thinner and is constantly exposed to environmental pollutants. There are also no oil glands in the lips to help keep them moisturized. Therefore, it is very important to take good care of your lips.
Do not use harsh chemicals on your lips. Use a natural lip conditioner to moisturize your lips as often as you can.
10. Talk to Your Dermatologist
If you experience drying, itching, scaling, and rashes on your skin that won't go away, it might be time to visit your dermatologist. After evaluating your symptoms, your doctor or dermatologist may prescribe over-the-counter treatments.
Experiencing dry, flaky skin in winter is very common. The good news, however, is that you do not have to worry about your winter skin prep routine. We have simplified things for you with the 10 tips outlined in this article.
The key to maintaining healthy skin is to moisturize as often as you can and with the right products. Also, remember to go easy on exfoliating products, scrubs, hot baths, and other skincare regimes. Run a humidifier, stay hydrated, and take special care of your lips and hands.
If symptoms persist, consider consulting your healthcare provider to prescribe you the right type of medication. Also, remember that too much change is not always a good thing. You should not go for a complete overhaul of your skincare routine. The most important thing is to have a very good understanding of your skin type, and know how it responds to different products and environments.