Winter is almost here and with it, colder and drier weather than we experienced during the summer months. For many of us, the winter months present skincare challenges. Being in heated rooms and being exposed to freezing temperatures and wind can take a toll on your skin.
The good news is that you do not need to resign yourself to dry, dull skin this winter. The key is proper skincare, which includes eating the right foods and using the right treatments to give your skin what it needs.
With that in mind, here are 10 tips to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy this winter.
One of the biggest issues for winter skin is dryness. When the weather turns colder and we spend most of our time inside in dry, heated rooms, it can take a toll on our skin. The key to preventing (or alleviating) dry winter skin is to find ways to put moisture into your environment.
The easiest way to do that is to use a humidifier in your home. Humidifiers use water to create steam, which may be cool or hot. By putting water vapor into the air, they help to keep skin and nasal passages properly moisturized.
According to the Mayo Clinic, humidifiers can prevent skin problems and also aid with breathing symptoms when you have a cold. If you use a humidifier, you may also want to invest in a hygrometer, a device that looks like a thermometer and measures humidity.
To prevent the growth of mold and mildew, make sure to use only distilled or purified water and clean your humidifier every three days.
If you associate sunscreen with long, hot days at the beach — and you never use it during the winter — then you are risking the health of your skin unnecessarily.
Even in the winter, your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays that can cause damage, including burns, discoloration, dryness, and even skin cancer. To avoid these issues, use at least an SPF 15 every day on any parts of your body that will be exposed to the sun. For most of us, that means our faces and hands at a minimum.
Your best bet is to avoid chemical-laden sunscreens and use an all-natural, mineral-based formula.
Turning the furnace on is a must in cold weather, but it can also do a number on your skin. Even with a humidifier, having a too-high temperature indoors can dry out your skin and cause it to be scaly or rashy.
The optimal temperature for your skin is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer than that and you risk dry skin and all the discomfort that goes with it. You may also want to consider turning your thermostat down at night. Sleeping with the heat on high can have you waking up with dry skin and nasal membranes.
If you’re someone who usually uses astringent toners or alcohol-based cleaners on your face and skin, then you may want to rethink your product choices during the winter months. Even people with oily or combination skin may want to switch to oil or cream-based products at this time of year.
For example, a lot of bar soaps contain harsh chemicals that can be drying. Instead, try switching to shower gels that are sulfate-free and contain ingredients that moisturize your skin. Examples include aloe and coconut oil
In the summer, you may not feel that you need to moisturize your skin every day. Summer’s high humidity can make even dry skin feel radiant and healthy.
When the cold winter sets in, though, you should be moisturizing every day. Here again, choose products that are free of alcohol and drying chemicals. Instead, opt for all-natural products that are fragrance fee. Body lotions, creams, and body butters all make good choices for keeping your skin soft and supple when the temperature is low.
Depending on your skin, you may need to moisturize throughout the day. With many of us washing our hands multiple times a day due to the pandemic, it’s a good idea to invest in a good hand moisturizer to use each time you wash.
Moisturizing your face morning and night is a must if you want to avoid winter skin problems. Using natural oils as moisturizers is a good way to get the protection you need.
Some oils are more ideal for use on the face than others. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, is quite heavy and may leave your face feeling greasy — not to mention making you smell like a salad! Some light alternatives include:
Of these, coconut oil is probably the most affordable. It has a light aroma and absorbs easily into the skin. You can use it to moisturize your body and hair as well, making it a convenient product to have on hand.
It’s easy to remember to drink plenty of water during the summer, when warm temperatures make us feel thirsty and remind us to stay hydrated. The same is not true during the winter, when we may feel more inclined toward hot beverages.
A lack of hydration can exacerbate dry skin. Keep in mind that caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea are not as hydrating as water. They also have a natural diuretic effect that can cause your body to lose moisture. However, herbal teas can be a delicious alternative.
Whatever you drink, remember that you still need about 8 to 12 glasses of water per day — even when it’s cold outside.
Your diet has a significant impact on the health and appearance of your skin, which — after all — is your body’s largest organ. While you may gravitate toward warm comfort foods at this time of year, you should still make sure that your diet is healthy and balanced.
Here are some foods that are good for your skin and should be in your diet this winter.
While there may not be as much variety in the produce you find at your supermarket during the winter, it’s still important to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
You may have noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep, you have circles under your eyes and your skin can appear dull. For that reason, it’s essential to create and stick to a regular sleep schedule during the winter months.
Good sleep hygiene means going to sleep at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. This may be a good time to invest in new pillows to ensure you have the head and neck support you need. If you live in an area with a lot of light and noise at night, using a sleep mask and ear plugs can help you get the sleep you need.
The heavier fabrics we sometimes wear in winter can wreak havoc on our skin if we’re not careful. Wearing scratchy wool all day can irritate the skin. You should dress appropriately for the weather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your skin in mind when you dress for the cold.
The solution is to wear light, soft layers next to your skin to protect it from rough fabric. All-natural fibers such as cotton or silk are ideal for layering. As a bonus, if you go someplace where the heat is on, wearing layers ensures that you can get to a temperature that is comfortable for you by removing heavy layers
Protecting your skin during the winter means making sure that it is properly moisturized and hydrated and shielded from the things that can damage it, including dry air, artificial heat, and irritating fabrics. The 10 tips we have listed here will ensure your skin looks as good as possible when the warm weather returns.