Loading... Please wait...

5 Steps to Healthy Skin During the Winter Months

5 Steps to Healthy Skin During the Winter Months

When winter arrives, it's a great time to start a good routine to keep your skin healthy. Cold weather wreaks havoc on your skin - from the cold winter air to the dry heat indoors to hot showers, it all takes a toll. Dry skin is not only uncomfortable, but it can also make you appear older! To avoid dry, itchy skin this winter, you may need to pay a little more attention to your trusty "derma" than you do during the warmer months. 

To keep that dryness at bay, here are 5 simple tips for healthy "winter" skin: 

#1. TAKE WARM - NOT HOT - SHOWERS and BATHS. Is she crazy? Isn't that one of the simple pleasures of cold weather? Yes - it does feel great to step into a steamy shower. But that hot water actually further dries out your skin by drawing moisture out. Instead, opt for warm showers and baths which help maintain the moisture in your skin naturally.

#2. EXFOLIATE. To many, this seems an unnecessary step, but once you start you'll notice a difference immediately. There are a couple of options. For gentle daily exfoliation, use a bath "pouf" sponge or a loofah with shower gel and rub in gentle circular motion over entire body. Seek a gel that is free of sulfates (sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate) as sulfates are highly irritating and can cause skin to dry out even further. Additionally, avoid gels that include alcohol as it is also drying. Look for products with naturally moisturizing ingredients such as aloe. 

For deeper exfoliation, use an oil-based salt or sugar scrub once a week. Again, rub gently in a circular motion on body from the neck down. A good quality scrub should have few ingredients - oils, salt or sugar, vitamin E and possibly herbal extracts. A cautionary note: scrubs can often leave the shower floor slippery. An extra rinse of the shower floor with warm water is recommended. 

3. MOISTURIZE. Ok, that may seem obvious but it is vitally important and many people do not moisturize consistently, or properly. To properly allow your skin to maximize the absorption and retention of moisturizers, it is important to gently pat your skin dry with a clean, dry towel after showering, and then apply a good quality moisturizer within 3 minutes. This is when your skin is most receptive to the oils and it will also seal the water in before it evaporates. 

Avoid products that contain mineral oil or petroleum products as they can clog pores, and instead look for natural-based ingredients like aloe, coconut oil and shea butter. Some moisturizers also include anti-oxidants such as chamomile, green tea, and Vitamin E. Anti-oxidants can help combat additional free-radical damage that your skin endures from the winter sun. 

4. PROTECT HANDS. Hands seem to endure the most damage in the winter. The cold air, the dishwashing, and the constant hand-washing to avoid germs all take a huge toll. To protect hands, keep hand cream at convenient locations - the kitchen sink, the bathroom, next to your bed, and in your purse. This way it is always within reach when you need it. 

Always moisturize after washing hands, and protect hands by wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes. For additional protection, exfoliate weekly - you can use your shower sugar or salt scrub, but rub very gently. 

For a hand cream, look for one that contains naturally hydrating oils and butters like aloe, illipe and shea. For additional protection, seek a cream with antioxidants that can keep the winter sun damage at bay. A good hand cream should not leave hands sticky or greasy. 

5. SOFTEN FEET. Our poor tired feet - trod on daily, covered in socks and stuffed into shoes they take some serious abuse. Pay a little attention to them and they will be so grateful! Wash them carefully at least once per day (or even twice) and dry thoroughly between the toes. After showering, rub them with a pumice stone or a "foot file" once or twice per week to reduce the tough skin. Removing tough skin once or twice per week is sufficient, as over-exfoliating can actually cause skin to grow back thicker (ugh and yuck). Lastly, apply a rich foot cream at night. Look for one that has aloe or shea butter and peppermint oil to soothe and moisturize. Lastly, for added softness wear cotton socks to bed. Goofy? Yes. Effective? Definitely. 

By following these few easy steps, you will be amazed at how healthy your skin will look and feel all winter long.