We winterize our wardrobes, cars, and our homes, why not our skin? This is our most important defense against winter weather.
Skin is a natural barrier that helps to prevent organisms from entering the body.
Skin that is dry, cracked, or irritated is vulnerable to infection. That is why it is so important to change your skin care regimen along with the seasons, and boost your body's natural defenses.
What may work in the warm, humid months may leave your skin dry and chapped during the cold, dry months. When it is humid the skin soaks up the moisture from the air, but when the humidity falls the skin loses this natural source of moisture.
Hot Showers and Other Skin Care No-No's
Although a hot shower feels great when you are cold, hot water wreaks havoc on your skin. As water gets hotter, it evaporates and takes the moisture along with it.
Instead of the hot shower, take a lukewarm shower, pat the skin dry and apply a moisturizer within three minutes of getting out of the shower. This will lock in moisture and let your skin feel nice and soft. When purchasing a moisturizer look for these ingredients: petrolatum, mineral oil, linoleic acid, ceramides, dimethicone, or glycerin.
Other winter skin-care advice:
- Wear appropriate clothing to cover skin and protect it from extreme temperatures and wind.
- Moisturize skin again at bedtime. Wear light cotton socks and gloves after applying lotion or cream for very dry, cracked skin.
- Use a humidifier in the bedroom or living room when the relative humidity inside drops below 60%.
- Don't overheat your home. Excessive heat draws moisture out of the skin.
- Avoid sleeping with an electric blanket.
- Use a mild soap that is fragrance-free or contains moisturizing ingredients.
Healthy Hands, Healthy Body
Clean, healthy skin and hands help to prevent the spread of common illnesses, such as colds and flu.
It is not recommended going overboard with antibacterial soaps, gels or wipes because they tend to contain a lot of alcohol, which can dry the skin.
When using antibacterial wipes and gels, lightly moisturize afterward, to avoid stripping the skin's natural oils.
Plain soap and water will kill most germs and help to reduce your risk of infection. When hand washing, use warm water, a mild soap or soap with moisturizers to prevent moisture loss.
Have a safe and healthy New Year.