Those of us in cold-weather locations dread winter skin year-round: that horrible, cracked, scaly dry skin that even piling on moisturizers, creams, and serums cannot cure. But there is good news! That horrible skin can be prevented if you start preparing for it now. Here are some tips you can start now to avoid dry, cracked skin later — so your only worry, come winter, is how many marshmallows you should add to your hot chocolate…
Get a Humidifier
Cold temperatures suck moisture out of our air. A humidifier ensures the air retains its moisture, but it can even leave your skin better than before with its hydrating benefits. Experts recommend always keeping humidity level between 30% and 50% (which you can measure with a hygrometer).
Eat the right foods
Stock up on water-dense foods like cucumbers, lettuce, and citrus fruits, which hydrate you from the inside out. Also make sure to get a fair share of salmon, eggs, and seeds, which have essential nutrients and proteins that help your skin produce cells. For foods that feel like winter and moisturize your skin, make sure to eat lots of sweet potatoes, yams, kale, and walnuts, which all have important nutrients for your skin, and will likely be abundant in your holiday cooking. Or try adding any of these foods to your diet.
Exfoliate your lips
Everyone hates chapped lips, and yet in winter, everyone usually has them. Avoid chapped lips in the winter by lightly brushing a toothbrush over your lips one to three times a week (depending on skin sensitivity). If using a toothbrush is too harsh, try a lip scrub. Afterward, apply an oil, petroleum jelly, or lip therapy to prevent any drying.
Remove makeup with oil cleansers or cleansing balm
Swap drying makeup remover wipes and cotton pads with products that not only remove your makeup, but also keep your skin hydrated. These are perfect alternatives, even if your skin is oily or acne-prone, because these cleansers can work as the makeup-removing first step, and you can wash your face with your typical cleanser after removing your makeup, removing any leftover oil or product, so it will not clog your pores. But avoid foaming cleansers, which strip the good oils from your skin.
Resist the urge to take long, hot showers
I know… the colder it gets, the longer and hotter you want your showers to be. Try your best to resist the urge to warm up in the shower, because the combination of harsh water and heat strips your skin of its ability to produce a balanced amount of oil, leaving your skin dry and irritated. Keep your shower as brief as possible, keep water lukewarm, and moisturize when skin is still damp to seal in as much moisture as possible.
And start seriously moisturizing on the regular
If you’re like me, you typically dab on a dollop of lotion after your shower half the time, and the other half you’re too lazy to moisturize at all. But if we only start moisturizing once our skin is already starting to crack and dry, it wont retain much moisture past the surface. To prepare skin for the drying elements that come with winter, start moisturizing at least every day, if not once after your shower and once before bed. The most efficient and hydrating way to moisturize is with a lotion containing shea butter or other intensely hydrating ingredients, then topping with an oil like coconut or Bio Oil, and adding in Vaseline or Aquaphor to areas such as hands, feet, knees, and elbows, which are prone to extra drying. Stash hand cream bottles in your purse, at the office, or in your kitchen, so you can put some on whenever you get the chance.