woman in the snow

Winter conditions have serious impacts on the health of your skin. The problem is that in winter, a number of factors pile up to contribute to damaged, cracked and dry skin. These include:

  • Cold temperatures
  • Wind
  • Low humidity
  • Heater/furnace usage
  • Repeatedly washing hands
  • Taking hot showers or baths

These factors impact people of all ages and even people who don’t typically experience skin problems. This year you can improve the health of your skin with these 5 tips for keeping your skin beautiful this winter.

Increased Moisturizing

The first solution against dry, cracked or damaged skin is to do more moisturizing. Factors such as temperature and low humidity are robbing your skin of natural moisture, so it’s your duty to replenish it. While any moisturizer will help, oil-based moisturizers are perfect for winter because they add an extra protective layer on your skin to keep the moisture inside.

You should moisturize your skin whenever it feels dry, but there are three specific times when moisturizing is necessary:

  • Right when you get out of the shower or bath. Evaporation will try to pull moisture out of your skin, but you can retain it by moisturizing right away.
  • Every time you wash your hands during the day. Once again, evaporation is the enemy and it will pull extra moisture out into the air to compensate for low humidity.
  • At night before bed. This will protect your skin while you sleep.

Preventing Chapped Lips

We’ll follow up our moisturizing tip by pointing out that you really need to moisturize your lips too. Lip skin is different from the skin on other parts of your body – it does not contain the sweat and oil glands, so your lips do not have a way to moisturize themselves naturally. Licking your lips doesn’t work either. It provides minimal moisture at first, but then evaporation does its trick and causes your lips to be drier than before.

Lips are vulnerable outside where they are exposed to cold temperatures, low humidity, and whipping winds, but they also need an extra boost when you are inside. Prevent your lips from chapping by using a good lip therapy product and reapplying regularly.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a staple in summer months when you enjoy fun activities outside, but when fall/winter hits, many people put the sunscreen away. This is the wrong thing to do and it can be potentially very dangerous. The sun impacts our skin in every month, and that includes winter. UV rays can penetrate the clouds and damage your skin, and if there is snow on the ground, the glare causes damaging UV rays to bounce around.  That means that no matter what the weather is like in winter, you should protect your skin using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you against both UVA and UVB rays.

Warm (Not Hot) Baths

In the intro, we mentioned that super hot baths are one contributing factor of dry, damaged winter skin. You can solve this problem yourself by turning down the temperature on your bath or shower. The really hot water will break down your skin’s lipid barrier. The lipid barrier is essential for locking in moisture, so when it is damaged you will experience moisture loss at an increased rate. Skin care experts say to use warm water and to limit your shower or bath to about 10 minutes or less.

Use a Humidifier

The increased use of heating devices – furnace, fireplace, electric heater, etc. – not only warms up your home, but it also takes moisture out of the air causing an environment with low humidity. Then, when the air has less humidity, it will try to balance itself out by stealing moisture anywhere it can find it, including your skin. Signs that your home may have low humidity include:

  • Dry skin and lips.
  • Scratchy or dry throats or noses.
  • The buildup of static electricity, including shocks and sparks as you walk through your home.
  • Evaporation of moisture from plants and vases, causing you to have to water them more.

You can use a device called a hygrometer to measure the humidity inside your home. The ideal relative humidity is between 30 to 50 percent. If you are under that level that means you have low humidity, but you can replenish the air’s moisture using a humidifier.

Although there isn’t much we can do about winter weather, there are many things we can do to prevent winter conditions from impacting the health of our skin. Follow these tips and you’ll enjoy healthy, beautiful skin all winter long.

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