Five Steps to Healthy Winter Skin
Between the cold outside and the dry air indoors and out, winter robs your skin of moisture, and often leads to extreme dryness, flaking, redness, chapping, cracking and itching. Here are five steps to help you keep your skin soft, healthy, and comfortable this season.
- Bathe gently – in water that’s warm, not hot. I know a hot shower or bath feels downright decadent after a day out in winter cold, but hot water strips away the oils in your skin. Go easy on the exfoliating and scrubbing. And if your skin gets very itchy, consider adding some baking soda or oatmeal to your bath for relief. Even when washing your hands, warm water is better than hot.
- Wash less – and use good soap. I know this sounds strange coming from a purveyor of soap: wash less in winter. Consider washing just key areas (armpits, groin, hands, feet) and you’ll leave more of your natural oils on the skin. Think about it. How much washing do your shins or shoulders, for example, actually require from day to day? The type of soap you use is important, too. Many commercial brands use harsh detergents, preservatives and fragrances that irritate the skin. All the soaps we carry are much kinder to your skin and contain the highest-quality plant oils (like olive, avocado, argan, sweet almond and shea), which help to form a fine protective layer that seals in moisture while washing.
- Moisturize more – and more often. After bathing, lightly pat yourself semi-dry and then slather on a moisturizer to seal in the hydration. Keep your moisturizer close to the shower or tub and work fast. I do two layers – one all over of soothing jojoba, which also really helps calm the psoriasis on my arm, and then one layer of a richer, plant-oil-based (as opposed to water-based) moisturizer for the areas that need more moisture in winter, which for me is my legs and hands. Reapplying a moisturizer again at bedtime can be especially helpful in dry weather. Hands, elbows, knees and feet tend to have thinner skin and lose moisture faster than other parts of the body. Consider slathering a rich moisturizing cream on these areas, and if really dry, put on cotton gloves and socks to help the moisturizer soak in overnight.
- Protect. Don’t forget a broad-spectrum sunscreen, especially on your face – winter sun can still damage your skin. And wear your gloves and scarves every time you have to go out and face the wind, cold and wet. Try to minimize your time in wet gloves, mittens or socks, too, because prolonged wetness can lead to cracking and itching.
- Humidify. Central heating is one of the great luxuries of modern life, but it can make homes and offices as dry as the Sahara. Consider using small humidifiers throughout the house, and especially in your bedroom, to put moisture back into the air and help keep your skin from drying out. And by the way, it’s a myth that drinking more fluids makes your skin more moist, however, drinking plenty of fluids is great for your overall health all year round.
Hope this helps you love this skin you’re in this winter! And for reference or restocking, here’s a list (with links) of the wonderful moisturizers that we currently carry online.