By now, most of us know that the weather can affect the health and appearance of our skin. Aspects such as lack of moisture in the air and low temperature can wreak havoc on sensitive skin and lead to conditions that can’t be treated unless you follow a lengthy and thorough skin care regimen.
At its worse, the skin exposed to cold temperatures and dry air becomes painful, blotchy, red, itchy and tight. With the central heating cranked up to the max indoors and the freezing temperatures outside, you’re very likely to wake up with chapped lips, flaky skin and red patches. Not to mention that acne breakouts are also very common occurrences in harsh winter weather.
What is actually happening to your skin?
Most of undesirable conditions you can experience during the cold season are all due to the lack of humidity in the environment. Dry and cold winds practically blow the moisture away from the skin. To be more precise, in a dry environment your skin cells gradually lose water, leaving it sore and chapped.
Even though most women believe they can address this issue by applying additional moisturizer and hence compensating for the moisture loss, things are not as simple as they seem. Generally speaking, the moisturizers available on the market can be classified in two main categories, namely:
- Occlusive moisturizer: an occlusive product provides a waterproof barrier through which water can not escape. The classic occlusive agent is petroleum jelly. It can prevent up to 98% of water loss. for those who prefer to avoid petroleum based products, Shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, are ideal alternatives.
- Humectant moisturizer: Humectant moisturizers draw moisture from the deeper levels of the dermis to rehydrate the superficial levels of the skin. The classic ingredient is glycerin. However, it is a bit sticky. My personal favorite is hyaluronic acid. Although pricier, it is naturally found in the skin and is very effective.
During winter, you need both.
What if your skin is already dry?
Because the skin gets itchy and sore when it’s dry, soothing it implies more than applying moisturizer. In fact, easing your skin relies not only on how you clean and care for it, but is also depend on the air around you and your clothes. Here are some quick tips to help you remedy dry skin.
- Avoid hot baths and showers
In spite of the fact that a steaming shower feels good after spending a few hours outdoors, they tend to strip the skin’s natural oil barrier, thus allowing moisture to escape. Trade the hot baths for quick 10 to 15 minutes warm showers.
- Use a soapless cleanser
To avoid damaging the skin’s protective barrier, it is recommended to stay away from products that feature deodorant, alcohol and antibacterial additives. If you want to help strengthen the skin’s ability to trap moisture, then wash with a ceramid-based cleanser.
- Shave smart
Not only does shaving scrape off natural oils, but it also tends to irritate dry skin even further. If you must shave, then do it after you shower as this is when the follicles are smoother and pliable.
- Use a humidifier
While the central heating will keep you warm, it also removes moisture from the indoor air, making your dry skin even more parched. Use a humidifier to replenish the indispensable missing moisture.
Despite the weather forecast calling for yet another snow storm, this winter will not last forever! And if it does, I’m moving:)