Around this time of year I start to think about my skin again. How can I keep it soft and comfortable throughout the cold, dry winter?
Winter is pretty harsh on your skin. Whether you spend time outdoors and get wind chapped skin, or spend your time inside with the dry dry heat of the furnace, your skin takes a beating.
Winter is particularly bad for me. I have sensitive skin to begin with, and the changes between cold and hot make it worse. I often get very dry, tender skin that is itchy and flakes. Sometimes it even starts to crack in certain areas, and I develop eczema (characterized by rough, red patches).
So how do I combat dryness and keep my skin soft and happy-glowy?
I’ll share my tips with you!
Drink up! It is super-important to keep hydrated during the winter. The dry heat in our homes & offices leaches moisture from our skin. Ditch the coffee and sodas and opt for water or an herbal tea to stay hydrated throughout the day. I think everyone knows by now that great skin starts from the inside out, and that H20 is one of the building blocks.
Modify your shower habits. If you shower frequently and/or with hot water, you’re damaging your skin. Your skin requires certain levels of oil & sebum to hang around to protect itself. If you shower everyday you’re stripping away your skin’s natural protection. Try showering less frequently (if possible & realistic) during the winter, and turn the water to lukewarm instead of hot. While you’re in there, you might as well…
Exfoliate! Now this may sound a little contradictory to what I just said, but if you’re going for smooth, soft skin this step is a big one! Use a gentle exfoliation method, whether a body scrub, loofa, pouf or cloth with moisturizing bodywash you want to help your skin slough off the dead cells. This will help restore brightness as well as help the top layer of your skin to absorb the moisture from your body wash & lotion (I’ve been using the new Dove Deep Moisture bodywash with NutriumMoisture and it seems to help keep my skin soft!)
Moisturize! After you have gently toweled off your skin you should apply a healthy dose of lotion or oil to your skin while it is still a little damp. The exfoliation has prepped your skin and this application of moisturizer will sink in better, and also trap the leftover moisture in your skin. The type of lotion you use is up to you. You may want a lighter lotion if you shower in the morning, and a richer one in the evening when your body has more time to absorb it. Don’t forget to give some lovin’ to your face, feet & hands! (I’ve been using the new Vaseline Sheer Infusion with Stratys-3. I like the Botanical scented one!)
Protect & defend! Stay away from rough fabrics and harsh detergents; these will irritate your skin and can potentially cause a rash or other unpleasant reaction. I personally cannot wear anything wool, nor anything washed in Tide detergent (too harsh!). When washing your hands, try and use a soap with added lotion, and stay away from antibacterial soaps (unless you’re around immune-suppressed people, etc.). Not only are antibacterial soaps hard on your skin & very drying, they also contain triclosan, a chemical that has been linked to cancer and builds up in our environments with use.
“Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical, which means it ends up in our lakes, rivers and water sources. That’s especially unfortunate since triclosan is very toxic to aquatic life.”
Plain soap and water (with proper handwashing technique) has the same proven effectiveness in removing bacteria and icky stuff as antibacterial soap does.
These are the things that help me get through the winter; all the tips I have accumulated over the years from various doctors, dermatologists, estheticians and beauty gurus. Of course you should do what is right for your body and skin, and consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.
The skin is your biggest organ in your body–it’s important to take care of it!
There’s no way I could fit all of my tips & tricks into this one post, so if you have any questions or want to know how I do something in particular, feel free to leave a comment and I will reply!
It puts the lotion on it’s skin or it gets the hose again!