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Winter Skin Care

Flickr / tommerton2010

The wintry season can be a brisk, dry and bitter cold time, which can have many adverse effects on your skin. Luckily, you can prevent Jack Frost from biting your nose by following these simple tips:

Moisturizers are skin’s best friend

Making sure your skin stays soft is an easy feat when you change from your spring/summer, water-based moisturizer to an oil based one. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “This water-in-oil emulsion forms a protective layer on the skin and makes it more ‘moisturizing’ than creams and lotions.” A simple night cream is often oil based and can be found at any local pharmacy. Be sure to pick a “non-clogging” oil based lotion because not all lotions are meant for your face and can cause acne.

Sunscreen isn’t just for summer

The snow in winter can reflect a lot more sunlight than the sand on a hot beach in the middle of summer. “The sun’s reflective powers are great year round: 17 percent on the sand and 80 percent on the snow,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Imagine having a sunburn on top of itchiness and dry, cracking skin in the middle of winter. By using sunscreen this can be easily avoided, instead of applying Aloe Vera after.

Treat extremities with extreme care

The skin on top of your hands is very thin and has fewer oil glands than other areas of the body, and so it is hard to keep them moist during the winter. Try putting on wool gloves to retain heat and moisture, but slip on a thin pair of cotton gloves underneath to avoid itchiness.

Wet clothes

Take off any wet clothing as soon as possible so as to avoid itchiness, cracking of the skin, sores and flare ups of eczema.

Layers

The most common way to cause the scratch/itch cycle is overheating. Make sure to wear loose-fitting cotton fabrics next to your skin. The cotton, as said before, will keep the itchiness at bay.

Use a humidifier

With the heat on high and the windows closed tight, the air inside your home can be very detrimental to your skin, which can make the dryness and itching of eczema much worse. Think of sitting under a hair dryer at a salon all day; this is similar to what the heat is doing to your skin. Install a humidifier in your home to pump moisture in the air. If you don’t have the money to splurge on a large humidifier, it is easy to find smaller versions of the same product at local drugstores for a cheaper price. Placing two or three of these around your home will help to humidify the dry air. This will greatly help your skin and give it a break from the harsh conditions of the wintry season.

Stop superhot baths

A long, hot soak in the shower can feel amazing after a fun filled day of frolicking in the snow. But the intense heat of a hot shower actually can weaken and break down the lipid barriers in the skin, which leads to a loss of moisture. Warm water and shorter baths will lead to healthier and better skin.

A slightly warm bath with oatmeal or baking soda (just like when you are sick) can help relieve skin that has become increasingly itchy. Reapplying moisture can also help. Do not resort to drinking lots of water for healthier skin; this is an old wives tale and can certainly help your overall health but does not do much for the skin.

“Winter air literally sucks moisture from your skin,” Dr. Valori Treloar, the founder of Integrative Dermatology in Newton, told wholeliving.com. This terrible trick of nature makes it important to take care of your skin in order to avoid uncomfortability, itchiness, etc.

Take care of your skin because—just like eating an apple a day—moisturizing every day keeps Jack Frost at bay.

Vincenza Parella can be reached atvparella@student.umass.edu

Comments
3 Responses to “Winter Skin Care”
  1. Jessica says:

    For dry skin on my face I use Apothederm http://apothederm.com/
    They have an amazing moisturizing cleanser and moisturizing cream. They work better than anything else I’ve tried.

  2. Safflower oil is a great winter moisturizer. It is chock full of ceramides which moisturize skin. It also contains linoleic acid, which creates a barrier so moisture will not be lost during the winter. Go to your local Whole Foods and get a bottle of organic safflower oil for less than 10.00 dollars.

  3. Vivica says:

    Vincenza, that’s an AWESOME tip about considering sunscreen in the winter. I was having a debate about this recently with a friend and I was wrong so now I’ll have to show them this article and eat crow. The rest of your tips are great too, but this one stood out in particular since I was just debating someone about wearing sunscreen in the winter 🙁 Oh well! Can’t win ’em all right?

    Tyrone, that’s also an excellent tip and it reminded me I need to stock up on some more Safflower.

    Cheers,
    Vivica

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