When the temperature outside drops and the temperature inside rises, your skin is under assault. Low humidity coupled with heavier clothing, longer and hotter showers, and longer and hotter baths can leave your skin feeling dry and itchy. Most people start slathering on lotion and hope for the best, but there are more effective ways to prevent and combat winter skin.
Our skin is made up of different layers. The outer epithelial layer, known as the epidermis, is the target of a harsh winter environment as the conditions can hardly reach the dermal layer that lies below. The epidermis constantly peels off and rejuvenates. But during this course of molting the skin looks dry and you tend to lose the natural glow that you were so proud of. The peeling off is more likely to occur during the winter months as the winds are dry and squeeze out the natural oily texture of the skin.
There are many individuals who are allergic to the cold environment. They suffer from painful allergic manifestations that have a detrimental effect on the skin and can even lead to infections. They fail to acclimatize with the sudden change in the climate and the greatest effect is felt on the skin. Skin happens to be the reflection of how you are affected by changes in your environment.
Another important enemy in modern city life is the wide range of pollutants that precipitate in what we call the winter smog. These pollutants not only darken your skin, the dirt particles clog the skin pores and do not allow the skin to breathe. In the process your skin shrinks and you look older.
But you can turn your tomorrow into the day after with regular hair and skin care program. Remember, your scalp is also a part of your skin and requires regular attention, otherwise your hair too will fall off easily and little can be done once this downfall starts. good skin is not one that has been taken for granted and abused with a variety of products, but one where you know what products your skin needs. The texture of all skin types are not same and nor do they have the same requirements. The first step of our skin care treatment is to have knowledge of the skin type – whether it is dry, oily or neutral. The attention you give to your skin today will definitely be reflected years later.
However, application of various products only on the outer surface does not lead to an ultimate healthy skin. What one needs is a healthy diet and a peaceful mind. The meals should have ample amount of juicy fruits and vegetables along with at least ten glasses of water a day. Intake of liquids help your skin to retain the essential oils automatically and acts as a natural protection against dryness. The diet should be rich in vitamins: especially vitamin C and vitamin E.
Both these vitamins are essential when it comes to keeping the skin soft and supple.
Again, there are certain parts of the body that require special care during the winter months. These are you feet and hands. The feet tend to crack and they are the most neglected areas, constantly exposed to dirt and dryness. Your scalp too needs special mention as many of us suffer from the dandruff that can have long term effect on the like hair fall. And what about your lovely nose? It must look horrible with the blackheads crowding on the soft exposed part.
Three elements of skin care are needed for any skin during winter. These are a deep cleansing milk to remove the dirt or excess oil adhering to the skin. This is followed by astringent applications that cools, tightens and tones the skin enabling it to maintain a natural balance. And last but not the least an oil based nutrient rich in vitamin E to nourish the skin and keep it supple.
Face Saving Tips
Here are some tips to help you keep your skin as youthful-looking and healthy as possible throughout the winter months:
Wash your face with lukewarm, not hot, water and a mild facial soap.
Remember to continue using a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 during the winter months. The snow reflects UV light, so you are still at risk for sun damage.
If you have oily skin, don’t assume you automatically need a moisturizer. Your face may feel tight after you wash it. Wait 20 minutes and if your face still feels tight, use a moisturizer only where you feel dry.
Those with acne should reconsider their skincare regimens. Continue to use topical treatments, but modify them slightly. For example, if you use Retin-A, ask your dermatologist to switch you from the gel to the more moisturizing cream formulation.
Be careful to not overuse products containing alpha-hydroxy acids. They exfoliate the top layer of the skin, which is good for dry skin, but they leave the new layer of skin unprotected to the bitter winds.
Don’t forget to protect your lips. Look for a lip balm with an SPF in it to help prevent chapped lips.
Winter Body Basics
Winter stressed skin is also common on the rest of the body. In fact, severely dry skin is less effective at providing a barrier against infection and can split and bleed, creating a greater chance for an infection. We recommend the following skin care tips for caring for the rest of the body:
Bathe or shower in lukewarm -not hot- water. Hot water removes natural oil from the skin, making it dry and itchy.
Limit your showers to 10 to 15 minutes.
Add bath oils to your water if you must take a hot bath.
Use mild soaps. Try to avoid deodorant soaps, as they can be more drying to the skin.
Apply moisturizers to skin immediately after a bath or shower while your skin is still wet. Putting on a cream, ointment or lotion helps trap the water in the upper layers of the skin and decreases dryness and itching.
Shave using lotion or hair conditioner instead of shaving foam.
Dab petroleum jelly on problem areas to seal in moisture and heal very dry skin.
After washing your hands, immediately put on hand cream to seal in moisture.
Consider purchasing a humidifier to keep the humidity in your home higher during the winter.