Winter skin care: Keep your skin in top shape through the cold, dry winter

The harsh, cold climate and dry indoor air during winter can leave skin in less-than-ideal shape. Use these tips for winter skin care so you can keep your skin healthy, moisturized and looking good all season long.

Winter skin care tips

Caring for skin during winter takes just a little extra time and effort because the conditions are rather extreme for our tender protective barrier. Skin gets exposed to the elements: cold air, whipping wind, sun reflecting off snow. Low humidity is common in colder climates, stealing moisture from skin every second of every day. And indoors, it’s blasted with dry heat.

It’s no wonder our skin often ends up dry, flaky and itchy. And once dryness starts, skin can more easily crack and bleed.A woman in a winter coat and hat.

These tips will help you prevent that uncomfortable, unsightly result and keep your skin healthy and happy through the winter months.

  • Keep the moisture you have. The natural oils your skin produces also help protect it and keep it healthy. It’s a good idea to avoid long baths and showers, and you shouldn’t wash your body too frequently either. When you do, use warm, not hot, water. After bathing or showering, pat dry and moisturize your damp skin.
  • Add moisture to your home. To counter the drying effects of indoor heat, the Mayo Clinic suggests running a humidifier. You can use a portable or tabletop model or one that integrates with your existing heating system. Moisture in the air will be absorbed by your skin.
  • Add moisture from the inside out. Increasing your water intake will help hydrate your skin.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the sun isn’t affecting your skin, says Bingham Memorial Hospital. The sun reflecting off snow means UV rays are hitting you from additional angles.
  • Moisturize your skin thoroughly. Switch to an oil-based moisturizer in the winter; your skin will appreciate it. Consider overnight deep moisturizer treatments, which can help particularly dry areas like hands, feet, elbows, knees and lips. Cover with cotton gloves and socks to hold the moisture in all night long.
  • Switch your cleanser. It’s a good idea to trade in your current body wash for a more moisturizing, hydrating cleanser in winter, particularly if your usual choice contains drying ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid. Tone and moisturize within 30 seconds of finishing cleansing to avoid further dehydration.
  • Take extra care. Winter skin is more fragile, so if you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, be sure to avoid any irritants or allergens that you know flare your condition.

With a little extra TLC, you can have soft, smooth, radiant skin all winter long.


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