From cold, cutting outdoor winds to stifling, stuffy indoor air, winter wreaks havoc on your skin. The resulting chapped lips, itchy skin, and aggravation of conditions like eczema and psoriasis may make you want to pull out petroleum jelly and other risky rubs. But, there’s a better way.
This year, get wise to the impacts of weather and find smarter solutions for your whole family. Here are 10 tips (plus one) for safer winter skin care:
1. Drink up. You’re probably well aware that it’s important to drink plenty of water during the sweltering, sweaty summer months, but it’s just as important during the winter. Adequate hydration keeps skin cells healthy and nourished. (Note: If you’re already hydrated, you aren’t going to see major benefits by drinking more water, but dehydration does impact skin negatively.)
2. Choose a safer soap. Most conventional soaps are harsh on skin, stripping the epidermis of oils and moisture. Opt for something milder like castile soaps.
3. Moisturize. Again, look for something mild that doesn’t have harsh or questionable chemical ingredients. Want to keep it simple? Coconut oil is high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin E – and it is full of fatty acids that moisturize amazingly. Use it sparingly and rub it in well so you don’t end up feeling greasy.
4. Take shorter showers and briefer baths. During cold weather almost nothing feels better than immersing yourself in steaming hot water. But, hot water reduces the skin’s protective oils faster than warm or cold. Keep skin healthy by turning down the temperature and turning up the pace.
5. Humidify your habitat. If your furnace is fiercely raging in an attempt to keep old man winter away, your indoor air is probably painfully dry. Use a humidifier to moisturize the air or place bowls of water near a heat source (the water will naturally evaporate and circulate with the air). Also, turn down the temperature and wear more layers during the day and add extra blankets to the bed at night.
6. Love your lips. Your lips are especially susceptible to winter conditions and licking them only dries them out further (leading to chapped, cracked kissers). Show your lips a little love by applying lip balm that contains an SPF. In addition, wear a scarf to protect lips on windy days.
7. Slather on sunscreen. Another tip that’s just as important during winter as it is during the summer: don’t forget sun protection for exposed skin, even though winter sunshine feels milder. If you’re out on the slopes or simply playing in the yard, remember that snow reflects sunlight, increasing the damaging impacts of the sun’s rays.
8. Exercise. One more reason to get your heart pumping: daily exercise promotes circulation, digestion and elimination, which helps keep skin healthy. If it helps, don’t think of it as exercise, think of it as play (your kids sure will!)
9. Know your H2O. If you have super sensitive skin, consider testing your tap water, which can contain minerals that are especially drying to the skin.
10. Zzzzzzz. Long winter nights are especially conducive to sleep. Take advantage of the drawn out darkness and get sufficient sleep – skin cells’ ability to repair is best during rest.
Extra advice for after the fact:
Chapped lips and skin seem to be especially common with kids. When the redness rears its hurtful head, try something mild with natural healing properties.
Native Remedies recommends:
Calc Flour is a biochemic tissue salt particularly useful for the healing of chapped and cracked skin, while Calendula officinalis (Marigold) is an herbal ingredient used to treat skin problems and promote healing of wounds.
Chamomile soothes skin irritation and reduces pain and discomfort…Vitamin E products can also be used topically to ensure optimal skin health. Always use natural remedies from a reputable source.
Daily Glow offers this advice:
Invest in an effective lip balm. Look for moisturizing balms that include natural emollients like cocoa butter, beeswax, almond oil, and sunflower oil — they’ll provide an extra layer of protection from sun, wind, and rain and help seal in moisture.
Skip anything that could irritate dry lips. Spicy or citrusy foods can cause chapped lips to burn; even some lip balms, such as those that contain menthol, may irritate them.
How about you? What preventive measures or remedies do you use for safer winter skin care?
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