The combination of windy, cold, dry outside weather and generally low humidity both indoors and out will suck the moisture right out of your skin. This can leave your skin looking dull and ashy. Follow these tips to ensure you are prepared for the next polar vortex that comes your way.
1.) Drink plenty of water
Our body is about 60% water give or take, and your skin needs hydration from the inside out. For many years health authorities have recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water (64 total ounces) per day, which is probably a good goal if you aren't sure where to start, and don't have any complicating medical conditions. Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. Even the humidity in the air tends to be at its lowest point in the year during winter, which means the air will tend to pull moisture away from your skin.
Not all drinks are created equally either. Those drinks high in caffeine like coffee, soda and some teas as well as alcoholic drinks can start to offset the hydration benefits a glass of water will have. If you struggle with the thought of drinking so much cold water during winter, don't forget some of your water could be a hot drink like tea or maybe just warm water with a little lemon in it. During winter that would help hydrate you and keep you warm and cozy at the same time.
2.) Limit Shower Time and Temperature
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends you limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 or 10 minutes, and to use warm water rather than hot water to minimize the drying effects on your skin.
The outer layer of skin is made up of mostly dead cells and oily secretions produced by the skin. These oily secretions help to make the skin water resistant and prevent water from getting into the skin. For water to hydrate the skin, it needs to come from the blood stream, which is why drinking water is number 1 on this list! Your skin can appear wrinkly after a long shower or bath because this top layer of skin has absorbed some water and it puffs out a little bit. The absorbed water does not go any deeper into the skin, and is will eventually evaporate into the air.
A hot shower can cause us to sweat, which will dehydrate our bodies. Hot water is also more effective at removing any oily secretions on your skin which helps to keep your skin soft and supple.
3.) Proper Clothing
This seems obvious, but wearing the appropriate clothing will help to protect your skin while you are outdoors. This is especially true during the winter. The snow and ice can wreak havoc on your skin, so be sure to wear comfortable gloves, jackets, sweaters, and hats that are appropriate for the task at hand. Don't forget to wrap up from the cold blistering wind with a scarf to protect the delicate skin on your neck. If you want to wear a wool sweater or gloves but find them irritating to your skin just wear something underneath the wool so it doesn't irritate your skin.
4.) Use All-Natural Cleansers
Avoid harsh detergents to clean your skin (It always seems the ones available in public restrooms are the worst culprits). Detergents can strip away the natural oils your skin produces leaving your skin feeling dry and tight after washing. Instead we would recommend using a well made bar soap that is made with organic oils. Bar soaps are better than liquid soaps because they can be superfatted, which means there is extra oils in the soap to leave your skin feeling moisturized after washing. Unscented is not a bad way to go, but we would personally choose something scented with essential oils also. Not only do they smell great, but they can also have some healing properties to help address minor skin problems. Fragrance oils have a scent but they do nothing to make your skin healthier at best.
5.) Moisturize Often
Moisturizers work by sealing in the water in the top layer of your skin. This is why it is important to moisturize right after getting out of the bath/shower or washing your hands. You want to lock in the moisture that your skin has already absorbed. In general the thicker and greasier the more effective a product will be as a moisturizer.
Your hands are probably one of the first places most peoples skin starts to dry out. Place a bottle of lotion near where you wash your hands regularly and use it to keep your hands happy. We find lotion easier to use on a regular basis mainly because it sinks into your skin so much quicker than other more heavy duty moisturizers like something made with pure oils and butters.
Especially dry areas like heels, elbows, and knees can be treated more aggressively at night time. Soap them in a good all-natural moisturizer like our whipped shea butter and then put on some gloves or socks before going to bed, and you will be sure to wake up with some improvement.
Don't forget about your lips!
Lip balm is a requirement if you spend any time outdoors during the winter. And maybe even if you don't. Your lips can easily get dry and chapped from the cold winter air. Take a lip balm with you everywhere you go to ensure your lips get the care they need.
Exfoliating soaps and scrubs can help remove the dead skin cells in winter. If you already have very dry skin, exfoliate lightly and then use a moisturizer immediately afterwards. Too much exfoliating can cause a problem, especially if you have very dry skin.
Yes, you should be applying sunscreen even in winter. You probably won't get a sunburn in winter, but your skin is still exposed to Ultraviolet rays from the sun that are responsible for signs of aging like dark spots and wrinkles. It is important that your sunscreen is broad spectrum covering both UVA and UVB rays. We prefer physical sunscreens, those with active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically block the suns rays.
Depending on where you live and what your indoor climate looks like you may want to consider using a humidifier in your home. This is a device that evaporates water into the air which will increase the humidity level indoors. They come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. We would recommend finding one that can be set to a specific humidity setting, and can turn on and off as needed to maintain a suitable humidity level.