Colder temperatures, biting wind, and dry, over-heated homes can take their toll. Unless we are lucky enough to live in the tropics, winter can add up to real problems for any part of the body that is exposed to the elements. Even the best beauty regimen needs overhauling when the mercury starts to drop and the winter winds start to blow, and ducking indoors where the temperature is warm, and the humidity is low, only exacerbates the problem.
Protecting your skin and hair during the winter months, not only helps to prevent immediate damage, but can also lessen the potential for long-term damage and premature aging. Be proactive by following a few simple tips to ward off the effects of winter’s harsh conditions even before they can get started.
The Cover-up. Don’t be caught out in the cold without a good pair of gloves. Tuck a pair in the pocket of your favorite coat, keep a pair in your purse, and stash some in the glove box of your car, so you never have to worry about being without. Don’t forget about your hair and scalp. A warm hat or knit skullcap will keep your head warm, and protect your hair and scalp from the damaging wind and cold. Add a great pair of boots, some colorful tights, a warm scarf and you’re covered. What a great excuse to invest in some colorful accessories that will serve a practical purpose while helping you make your own winter fashion statement.
Avoid Extremes. If your first inclination is to turn your home heating system up to a toasty warm when the outdoor temperature drops, think again. It is actually healthier, and can save your energy budget, to keep your home thermostat warm, not hot. If the inside temperature is too much hotter than outside, it can irritate your skin and even cause broken capillaries from the shock when you get home or go out. Hot, dry air can also aggravate colds and bronchial conditions. Wear warm socks and a sweater around the house so you can stay cozy and comfortable. Practicing moderation can also apply to the temperature of your bath water. Having a hot shower or bath can cause skin irritation when the weather is cold. It also can strip the natural moisture from your skin and hair. So turn your bath temperature down from hot to warm.
Revamp your Routine. Skin is susceptible to becoming drier in cold weather, especially if it’s windy, because the skin’s natural moisture is evaporated more quickly by the wind, and the skin doesn’t produce as much oil. Opt for a slightly heavier moisturizer than you use in the summer, but be sure to find one that is appropriate for your skin type. Use your moisturizer every morning, especially when you are going out, to prevent your skin from getting dry and flaky. Before bedtime, wash your face to remove makeup and pollutants, and apply a moisturizer to treat your skin while you sleep. A couple of times a week use a gentle exfoliating product to scrub away dry skin.
Don’t forget to use a good moisturizer on the rest of your body to prevent arms, legs and feet, from drying out during the colder months. Apply after your bath to retain moisture. Remember to pat dry after bathing, not rub, to avoid irritating your winter skin.
Head off Trouble. Don’t forget to give your hair some special TLC. There are plenty of shampoos that can help keep your hair strong and healthy during winter. Hair tends to get dry, weak and brittle in colder weather, but if you give it the right treatment you can avoid that becoming an issue. Look for shampoos and conditioners designed to protect and heal your hair, by providing a heavier moisturizer than your normal products. Give your hair an extra boost by applying a moisturizing hair treatment once or twice a month.
Pucker up. Give your lips extra attention to avoid chapping and splitting. Apply a moisturizing lip balm daily, as a part of your regular skincare routine. Then, before you go outside, use a good lip moisturizer to create a protective barrier between the cold air and your lips, locking in moisture. Avoid licking your lips, as that removes the protective layer, exposes your lips to the elements, and can make your lips dry out even faster.
Hands up. Stop in your tracks if you are forgetting to include your hands in your special winter skincare regimen. Use a good hand cream daily, whether you will be stuck inside or plan to be out in the weather. Our hands are at risk of drying and in some cases even becoming cracked, when they are exposed to drying conditions. To keep the skin soft and comfortable, massage a moisturizer into your hands in the morning and evening, and don’t forget to apply hand lotion after washing your hands. If you’re worried about having greasy hands, a number of non-greasy hand lotions are available. Always make sure you dry your hands thoroughly after washing, especially when you are going out into the cold. If your hands are extremely dry, try donning a pair of light cotton gloves after applying moisturizer to your hands at bedtime.
More than skin deep. Good winter skincare isn’t just about what you do on the outside, it also depends on how you care for the inside. Eating a healthy diet full of nutrients and vitamins is the best way to keep your hair and skin looking and feeling healthy. It’s also important to drink enough water to keep your skin and hair hydrated from within. All the skin products in the world are no substitute for a healthy, balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean meat and dairy products and whole grains.