Most people love the beginning of the colder weather seasons since it signals the coming big holidays, fluffy sweaters, and cozy nights.
But, your skin may not be a big fan of this switch in weather.
Colder weather means less humidity in the air, more home heating, long hot showers, or sitting a little too close to the fireplace. And, unfortunately, all of these things can be very drying to your skin leading to itchiness, flakes, cracks, and overall discomfort.
Below we will cover some of the tips and tricks to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated during the colder months of the year.
Keep your showers short
You have a natural protective layer of skin oils on your whole body, and this is a good thing because it helps your skin retain moisture and prevent pathogens and irritation from creeping in.
But, this protective layer of skin oils can be slowly washed off if you opt to take very long showers regularly. Try to keep your showers to 5-10 minutes at maximum to clean off, but not strip your skin.
Clean with warm, not hot, water
You may be waiting for a long boiling-hot bath or shower after being out in the cold during the fall and winter months, but a scalding hot shower can be extremely drying for your skin.
Very hot water causes the natural oils on your skin to wash off, and, this complete stripping of your skin protective layers can leave it open to dryness, itchiness, and cracking.
Even during the coldest time of the year, do your best to keep your bath and shower water, and the water when you wash your face and hands, warm — not hot.
Scrubbing yourself dry doesn’t do yourself any favors, this can be rough and irritating to your skin, and can stretch out the skin on your face where it is more delicate.
After washing your face and showering, blot your skin dry, and leave a slight dewiness on the skin to help lock in even more moisture once you apply your moisturizing products.
Moisturize directly after cleansing
Moisturizer is always a must, but in the colder months, it becomes a strict necessity to help prevent and treat dry winter skin.
Applying moisturizer at any point in your day is beneficial, but the absolute best time to apply to lock in the maximum moisture is just after showering and washing your face or hands.
You have a small amount of excess water in your skin after cleansing or showering, so when you apply a thick moisturizer as quickly as possible after these activities, you can greatly enhance your overall skin hydration.
After washing your face, hands, or showering, aim to apply your moisturizer within minutes — the sooner the better.
Avoid drying ingredients
The last thing you want your skin products to do is dry out your skin further, but, unfortunately, some ingredients can do just that.
Take a look at your products, and if they have artificial fragrances, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), or alcohol, they could be making your dry skin problems worse.
Go fragrance-free, avoid anything containing alcohol, and opt for soothing and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, oatmeal, and aloe.
Switch to thicker creams and ointments
Your thinner, light-weight, creams and lotions may work great for those hot summer days, but once the weather starts getting cooler it is a good idea to thicken things up.
Just like how you are swapping your tank tops for cozy sweaters, your skin needs a little more coverage during the colder months.
Pick out a thicker cream for during the day and night, and you may want to change out your normal hand lotion for a heavy-duty ointment to prevent dry, cracked, hands and feet.
For those of you in very cold areas, there can be a big benefit to donning gloves when you are out in the elements. To really hydrate, slather on some thick hand cream or ointment before popping on your gloves to end up with a net hand hydration boost when you arrive at your destination.
Keep your distance from fireplaces and bonfires
It can be tempting to cozy up close to a warm fireplace or fun bonfire during cold-weather festivities, but this can be kind of a slow-roasting situation for your skin.
The heat and smoke from bonfires and fireplaces can quickly dry out your skin, so be sure to keep your distance while enjoying these winter staples.
Also, be sure to prep your skin with plenty of thick moisturizer before starting up your fireplace or heading out to roast some marshmallows.
Humidify your home
It’s not just the outside that has less humidity during the colder months, your home will have less moisture in the air as well.
This house dryness can also be exacerbated by running a heater, as home heaters can thoroughly dry out skin. In order to help rehydrate your skin after a long day, keep the heat to a minimum, and install a humidifier in your bedroom to replenish the moisture in the air and soothe dry skin.
If you are a big humidity buff, mini humidifiers are available that can easily fit onto a desk for a moisture boost while you work, some can even be powered through a USB connection to your computer.
You can slather on all the thick winter moisturizer you like, but if your skin isn’t getting enough hydration from within, there will be dryness problems.
Up your water intake during the colder months to at least 8 X 8-ounce cups of water a day.
Also, avoid too many dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeinated drinks to keep that hydration where you need it.
Even if the holiday season is your favorite, your skin may not be too happy about the quick change in weather.
Stay hydrated with plenty of water, keep your showers short, only use warm water, pat your skin dry, and moisturize within minutes of cleansing to help lock in moisture and keep your skin more hydrated.
Switch in some thicker creams and ointments, and avoid drying ingredients to help your skin hydrated and protected from the elements.
Lastly, keep your distance from festive fire activities like fireplaces and bonfires, keep your home heating to a minimum, and invest in a home humidifier to get some moisture back into that chilly winter air.