Dry, Cracked, and Rough: How to Care for Your Skin This Winter

The colder months are associated with festive decorations, warm blankets, and frosty weather, to name a few. While many of us enjoy these cooler temperatures, they do come with a downside: dry skin. Winter conditions outdoors can leave your skin feeling raw, cracked, and irritated, and the indoor heat can wreak havoc by stealing what little moisture you have left. It can often feel like a no-win situation.

Luckily, there are a few simple ways to combat the dreaded dry winter skin. For instance, changing the temperature of your bathwater, keeping your clothes dry, and using a moisturizer can all help keep your skin well hydrated and comfortable. By using the below tips to care for your skin this season, you can ensure your winter woes will be a thing of the past.

1. Use Lukewarm Water

When the weather outside is frightful, a hot shower can seem extra tempting. Stop right there. Using hot water to wash your face can cause dry skin and breakouts. A steamy shower could also trigger winter eczema or cracked skin if you don’t moisturize with a heavy cream immediately after. The best thing to do for your skin is to use lukewarm water when washing your face or taking a shower, and try to limit your shower time to around  5 to 10 minutes to avoid dry skin. If you can’t give up the hot shower, apply a gentle skin oil to your body before and after showering. The oil will lock in humectants and prevent dry, irritated skin.

2. Get Serious About Your Skincare Regimen

The winter season is no time to slack off on your skincare routine, but it may need to be altered. This starts by incorporating serums and layering products. After you cleanse with a fragrance-free cleanser and lukewarm water, skincare experts recommend applying a facial serum, like a pumpkin serum, that’s packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C. In the summer, serums can cause oil overload, but in dry, cold weather, your skin will thank you for the hydrating treatment. Once you’ve applied your serum, lock it in with a gentle moisturizer that contains electrolytes. The moisturizer serves as a barrier between your skin and harsh wind, so it’s a crucial part of your regimen.

Repeat these steps at night, but trade out your day-time moisturizer for a night-time moisturizer. A nightly cream will work its magic while you sleep, so you can wake up with fresh, rejuvenated skin. If you have acne-prone skin, use products containing niacinamides. Niacinamides revitalize the skin while reducing pores and eliminating acne.

3. Don’t Neglect Your Lips

The cold winter winds and the drying heat can cause dryness and cracking on our lips. To avoid the discomfort of chapped lips, exfoliate with a gentle lip scrub before bed, then apply a lip mask for rejuvenation. During the day, apply a lip balm made with petrolatum, glycerin, and sunscreen, which work to moisturize and rejuvenate your lips. It’s also important to avoid licking your lips as your saliva contains digestive enzymes that harm your lips. If you have a collection of lip balms, sort through them and throw out any that feel waxy or contain menthol and camphor. These types of balms can worsen dryness and cause severe damage to your lips.

4. Stay Healthy and Hydrated

To achieve healthy, radiant skin, you may want to consider some lifestyle changes. A great place to start is through your diet. Barbara R. Reed, MD, a dermatologist at Denver Skin Clinic, suggests foods that are hearty in omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, like fish and flaxseed oil, are great for combating dry skin. Consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables is also an effective way to give your skin some essential vitamins and antioxidants, plus they help with hydration. If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout your day, try to up your intake or supplement through low-sodium soup, all-natural juice, or salad. These actions will boost your daily nutrient levels and keep your skin glowing all season long.

5. SPF and Sunglasses are Seasonal Must-Haves

If you live in an area that receives snow, then you may want to consider adding a pair of sunglasses and an SPF of at least 15 or higher (with higher being the better option) to your wishlist. On sunny winter days, snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s rays. This can put your skin at risk for things like skin cancer, brown spots, and fine lines. Even on cloudy days, your skin is affected by the sun’s harmful UV rays; apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to your face and body. You can also protect your face and eyes with a pair of high-quality, UV protected sunglasses and a winter hat.

Ready to Take Your Skincare to the Next Level?

While these tips are easy to follow, it’s also important to seek advice from a skincare specialist, like an esthetician. They can sort out the most effective treatments for your specific skin type and help you achieve radiant skin. If you’re interested in becoming a licensed esthetician, explore our program online and contact us today to get started.

Has your face mask been causing your skin to break out? You could be struggling with maskne. Find out how to defeat maskne once and for all in our blog, How to Avoid Maskne: Skincare Tips for Wearing a Mask. For those uninterested in letting go of pumpkin spice season, find skincare products that were made just for you in our blog, 5 Pumpkin Spice Beauty Products to Try this Fall.

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