SMW’s Winter Skin Care Guide
By Martin Brown
Winter doesn’t play fair. If you live in San Diego, Phoenix, or Miami, you can take a pass on this article (just teasing!). But if you live in Chicago, where today’s high temperature is forecast to be below zero, or so many other places in America, from Seattle to Boston where winter can be one cold, wet, nasty, long slog, so listen up; these skincare essentials are dedicated to you.
Taking good care of the skin that you’re in is a smart step toward staying healthy, and in the winter you need to be doubly vigilant. That’s because this cold weather can take a heavy toll on those of us not prepared for its consequences. The leading cause of winter’s problem for your skin can be summed up in two words: dry air. That’s what we face outside when arctic winds blow, or inside when we crank up the heat. As for our poor skin, it can’t catch a break. Add to that the fact that we tend to bulk up with layers of clothing, some of which is skin friendly, and some of which is not. Finally we complete this assault on our skin by relaxing in a hot shower, which unfortunately, further strips our skin of moisture.
To combat this cruel combination of cold hard facts, you have to be especially kind to your skin during this time of year. Here are six important ways to do just that.
- Keep your showers as brief as possible and resist that temptation to melt away a cold day by standing under a hot shower. Use instead lukewarm water and don’t stay in for more than five minutes.
- In the shower be sure to use moisture-rich soaps made for sensitive skin, such as Dove, or Aveeno.
- Don’t rush with a towel to dry, but rather gently pat yourself to avoid further irritation to your skin.
- If you remember only one word from this article let it be: moisturizer. Slather it on while your skin is still slightly damp.
- If you do experience skin flare-ups, or dry patches, be sure to dress in soft, breathable fabrics, like cotton, instead of itchy woolens or polyester. Loose-fitting clothing will keep your skin from becoming irritated when you perspire while sitting in a warm office all day.
- Change the air you’re in by using a humidifier to increase moisture levels in your home. An ideal humidity level is believed to be between 30% and 50%, this can be measured with the use of an inexpensive home hygrometer.
Winter skin is sensitive skin. If you’re playing catch up with problem areas try moisturizing the area and then covering it up in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Also, check out Eucerin is one, and Cetaphil, they’re inexpensive and effective moisturizers that work in getting your skin through this mean season and ready to show when the sunshine of spring chases those winter blues away.