Once the weather has turned crisp and people start bundling up from the cold, most skin care regimes go out of the window. Skin takes a beating during the winter months and becomes tight, dry, dull and lacklustre from neglect and adverse weather conditions. Some people even develop skin conditions such as flaking, cracking and eczema. The secret to beautiful skin during the summer months is to keep up skincare regimes all year round and that includes during the frigid winter months.
One skincare routine that most people stop during winter is the religious application of sunscreen. Despite the lack of sunshine, skin can still be damaged during winter by harmful UV rays and glare from snow, causing wrinkles and aging especially in the fine skin around the eyes. Sunscreen should still be applied on a daily basis – use a broad spectrum sunscreen and apply it to all exposed areas, including the hands and face at least half an hour before going outside.
Skin also needs intensive moisturization during winter. Skin loses its natural oils because of the harsh weather conditions and indoor heating which saps the skin of its natural hydration, making it more fragile and prone to damage. The body and face should be moisturized on a daily basis, especially those areas that are covered up by winter woollies, as this will stop the skin from drying out and will maintain the natural oils.
Sometimes the facial moisturizer that worked well in the summer months will need to be changed in the harsher winter months. An oil based moisturizer should be considered as the oil will create a protective layer and will retain more moisture. However, care should be taken in choosing the type of oil because some clog the pores and cause even more skin problems.
Non-clogging oils such as avocado, mineral, sandalwood or primrose should be used and Shea oil should be avoided. Look for products containing humectants – these are substances such as glycerine, sorbitol and alpha-hydroxy acids which draw moisture into the skin and keep it hydrated. Apply a specialized eye area cream nightly to keep the eye contour area looking plumped up and fresh.
Hot showers and baths can also damage the skin by stripping it of its natural acid mantel, which leads to dry skin. Taking cooler baths and shorter showers will help to maintain the skin’s natural defences and lipid barriers and will help to prevent that winter crocodile skin. Oatmeal or baking soda in the bath can help relieve itchiness. Indoor heating dries out the air, so a humidifier might be useful in preventing the skin from drying out.
The skin on the hands and feet is also affected by winter cold because the cold and dry weather strips away what little moisture the hands hold. Hands and fingers can become dry, cracked and itchy so gloves should always be worn when outside. Don’t use wet gloves or socks as these also cause cracking. Moisturize the hands and feet every night before going to sleep with an intensive moisturizing butter that contains petroleum jelly or glycerine.
Skin should be nourished and nurtured year round and not just in summer. Taking care during the winter months ensures that skin looks radiant and beautiful when summer eventually comes. Use these winter skin care tips starting today!
Jennifer Hughs is the pen name for the health and lifestyles writer who is compensated by Value Marketing, Inc. d/b/a Lab88. The author has 20+ years in the cosmetic and health industries and has worked with leading beauty and health publications.