Winter is here! The freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and wind chill all combine to make taking care of your skin a bit more challenging. With the heat on indoors and the chill outdoors, it pays to update your skincare routine.
Skin is more than a place for freckles, pimples, wrinkles, and tattoos. It’s your body’s largest organ with a total area of about 20 square feet. Skin protects the body from external threats such as bacteria, harsh chemicals, and extreme temperature, according to the National Library of Medicine. In winter, skin endures dry air (thank you, central heating), wind, and bitter cold—all of which cause it to dry out and become more easily irritated.
This time of year, keeping moisture in your skin is a project. Frequent bathing, harsh soaps, aging and certain medical conditions add to the challenge. Here are some strategies:
Change up your bath routine. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends shortening your bath or shower time, using warm water rather than hot and closing the bathroom door to keep steam in the room. Once you’re out of the bath, use a towel to blot your skin (don’t rub) and slather on the moisturizer. Don’t be stingy. Use more than you do in the summer, paying special attention to any areas that seem to be dryer than usual. Wait to open the door—and let the steam out—until you’ve finished moisturizing.
Ointments and creams rule. While lotions are good, creams and ointments tend to be more effective and less irritating than lotions. In fact, people with very dry skin may find that lotions, owing to their high water content, cause their hands to get more chapped rather than less. The AAD suggests using products that contain Jojoba Oil, Glycerin, Lanolin, Mineral oil, or Shea butter; test a new ointment on a small area first, to make sure it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction. Try Russell Organics Sensitive Skin Face Oil or our Shea Mango Butter Moisturizing Blend. See if you can find a non-greasy hand cream to use immediately after every time you wash your hands. If you find one you love, keep a container next to the kitchen sink.
Be gentle. Fragrance-free and skin-sensitive products are best. Try to get rid of products with ingredients like alcohol (except hand sanitizers) and fragrances (deodorant soaps) to help your skin keep its natural oils. Try gentler, hypoallergenic laundry detergent. When your skin is dry and uncomfortable, perfumes and other ingredients in laundry detergent can bring about itchy rashes.
Sunblock year-round. While we associate sunscreen with beach days, it’s easy to get sunburned in winter. Don’t put away your sunblock. The rays are there and you may not notice. UV rays damage collagen and elastin in your skin, causing premature aging and elevating the risk of developing skin cancers. Be liberal in your use of sunblock and give your skin less damage to repair overnight.
Gloves are good. Frequently, the first place we notice dry skin is on our hands. Wear gloves when going outdoors in winter, when you’re washing dishes or the car, and when using household chemicals. If your hands are seriously dry, apply ointment under the gloves.
Lips are skin, too! Don’t forget to wear lips like our Vegan Refreshing Lip Balm.
If your skin is dry and irritated, give it some TLC for a few days and it should start to recover. If it doesn’t, it could be time to check in with your dermatologist. They can confirm if a stronger ointment or moisturizer should be part of your daily routine or whether there’s a skin condition, such as eczema, that needs attention.
Give your skin the consideration it deserves and you can love the skin you’re in!