Winter is here, which means it’s time to trade in sandals for scarves, iced coffee for hot cappuccinos…..and a dewy face for dehydrated skin. As the temperature drops, you may notice your skin doesn’t enjoy long, hot baths, a crackling bonfire, or the cool, crisp air as much as you do during the wintertime. In fact, cold, dry air is the bane of healthy, hydrated skin, and you may notice you encounter more skin issues during cold weather than you do during summer – they don’t call it a summer glow for nothing. Keep reading to learn more about common skin horrors that may emerge during winter.
The Rosy Rash
Winter rashes are patches of irritation, typically caused by dry skin. A rash can have bumps, blisters, redness, or swelling, and be itchy, flaky, or sensitive. They usually develop on the arms, hand, and legs – the parts of the body most exposed to the elements. Spending a lot of time outdoors in cold, dry weather can cause a winter rash, as can catching a bacterial or viral infection (which are common during wintertime). You can also develop red winter rashes from sunburn. Harmful UV rays are intense at high altitudes – such as when you’re hitting the slopes to ski and snowboard. And snow reflects UV rays, making them more powerful when they hit your skin.
- Use gentle, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free personal care products, and wear loose cotton clothing to reduce contact with skin irritants.
- Cover up when you will be outside; protect your head, hands, and feet with hats, gloves, and thick socks.
- Wear sunscreen. UV rays are still present and damaging, even during the winter. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats when you will be spending time outdoors.
The Flaky Fiend
When skin becomes too dry, it may start to flake or peel off. You may notice this on your hands, heels and feet, and face. If your scalp is dry, you may notice a shedding of small, white flakes on your shoulders that resemble dandruff.
- Try a gentle exfoliating treatment to slough off flakes, remove dead skin cells, and uncover a fresh layer of skin. During the winter, use a chemical exfoliator on your face and body once or twice a week. Skip physical exfoliators, which may be painful and abrasive if your skin is already dry and sensitive.
- For chapped lips, find a soothing lip balm with ingredients like cocoa butter, beeswax, petroleum, and Vitamins A and E, which will nourish and heal cracked skin. Moisten your lips with a dab of cool water before applying balm; this will help seal moisture into the skin.
The Dry Devil
Cold, low-humidity air leaches moisture from your skin, which can cause dryness, itchiness, flakiness, and redness over exposed areas of your body during wintertime. Additionally, strong, chilly winds strip skin of its natural oils, allowing moisture to escape. And according to a 2001 report in the Archives of Dermatology stress can also affect the body’s ability to retain moisture. The holidays may be an unknown source of stress for you, as you juggle family relationships, financial woes during gift-giving time, or acing finals at the end of a school semester.
- Limit your bath or shower time to one lukewarm washing once a day. Frequent exposure to hot water will remove the body’s natural oils and dehydrate your skin.
- Likewise, limit your time spent in centrally-heated areas or in front of a fire. As warm and cozy as they may be, the heat is pulling moisture from your skin. Place a humidifier in your office or room to keep moist air circulating during the day and while you sleep.
- Moisturize directly after bathing, while your skin is still damp. When it comes to rehydrating dry skin and locking in moisture, the greasier the lotion the better. Petroleum jelly is lauded for being natural, gentle, and effective at sealing in hydration. Moisturize your hands after every wash – the skin over hands is thinner, and more prone to cracks and breaks when the weather turns cold.
- Look for lotions that are packaged in jars or tubes; most pump-bottles use water and/or alcohol as preservatives, and both these ingredients will continue to dry out skin.
Extreme weather that affects the moisture content of skin may also cause flare-ups in inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Winter is also a time that brings more viral and bacterial infections, which can trigger inflammatory responses in the skin. If your skin is feeling dull and under the weather this time of year, treat yourself to a spa day at Ageless Allure Medispa. This January, indulge in a Winter Glow Vitamin C’ESTA Facial, which will rejuvenate winter skin with an antioxidant blend of Vitamin C from the special Jan Marini C’ESTA line. Visit the Ageless Allure website for pricing information on this special facial and call 863-292-2317 to schedule an appointment today.