In anticipation for the colder months of the year, you would be familiar with the effects that the cold has on your skin, on both your face and body. If it gets excessively dry, it can become flaky and even sometimes crack, which can be itchy and even painful.
To assist you, we have done some homework on ways that you can protect your skin and how to keep your largest organ healthy and hydrated throughout the cold winter months.
Avoid Hot Showers/Baths
In the cold of winter, the number one thing we want to come home to after work or after a long walk is a nice, hot shower or bath. However, dermatologists have stipulated that hot water dehydrates the skin as it creates cracks on the surface.
Hot water evaporates much faster, and if the skin is not immediately moisturised, the nerves underneath the skin get exposed to the cold air. This can leave you feeling as though you have tiny paper cuts all over the skin, often referred to as ‘winter’s itch’.
If you do take a hot shower or bath, be sure to keep the door closed to keep the moisture in, and use a moisturising cream shortly after drying yourself. This will prevent your epidermal barrier from dehydrating too much.
Exfoliate Less/Moisturise More
During winter months, when our skin tends to dry out more easily, it’s better not to exfoliate, since your epidermal wall is generally a little compromised due to the dryness in the cold air. If you want to exfoliate, limit it to once a week just to help accelerate the skin’s regeneration and allow better absorption of your moisturiser.
Moisturising your skin is vital especially in months when the air is dry. Note that there is a difference between lotion and moisturiser – lotion is not as thick or hydrating for your skin, and often contains fragrances that can dry and irritate the skin. So rather opt for a thick cream in a jar to keep your skin hydrated and soft.
Another option is essential oils. Dermatologists recommend a thin layer of coconut oil before your bath or shower to lock in the epidermal moisture, but many other oils have also started gaining popularity recently. Examples include tea tree oil, argan oil, rose hip oil and rose oil.
If you feel thirsty, be sure to drink some water. Although this is the obvious route, there are some other ways you can stay hydrated, such as swapping your daily coffee for green tea, or having more water-rich foods.
You can also keep a humidifier in the house. They are a wonderful way to return moisture into the room, especially for those prone to using heaters or thermostats, which dry out a room. Keep a humidifier running in the room of the house you spend the most time in, such as your bedroom or the lounge.
Facials and Foot Peels
To avoid dry or irritated skin, some professional treatments might be just what you need in the cold of winter. A facial every three to four weeks could restore some life into your skin and keep the dryness at bay for a while.
Feet also becomes dry and cracked quite easily in the cold. While exfoliating and applying moisturiser certainly helps, it can become tedious after a while to spend so much time on your feet. This is then the ideal time to book yourself in for a nice, relaxing foot scrub or peel.
Don’t Skip SPF
Remember that the sun is just as active during winter as it is during summer, even if it does not feel like it. While there is less UVB during winter, the levels of UVA are still significant enough to cause ageing.
Since UVB is the type of light that promotes our vitamin D production, these levels may take a dip during winter but can be substituted with a vitamin D3 supplement. Be sure to apply SPF before leaving the house, or instead use a moisturiser that contains SPF protection.
Many fabrics used for winter clothing can irritate dry winter skin, so it might be wise to prevent fabrics like wool and other rough fabrics from directly touching your skin, otherwise, it might get irritated and itchy.
Instead, wear layers made from light, soft materials directly against your skin, and wear a heavier sweater over that. Also guard your hands against the cold air with gloves, keeping in mind to use a fabric that will not irritate the skin on your hands.
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