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Winter can wreak havoc on your skin, making it dry, flaky, and irritated. Even the things that make winter wonderful, like preparing a fireplace or taking hot showers, can strip the skin of its natural oils.
However, there are several simple ways to combat winter skin problems and help repair the moisture barrier all season long, including some easy changes to your everyday routine.
The air in winter tends to get dry — inside the home as well as outside. This can leave your skin feeling dehydrated. It is important to drink water often during winters. Warm teas such as natural ginger and lemon are also great for keeping your skin feeling healthy and hydrated.
Many cleansers contain harsh chemicals that can cause more damage to the skin than nourishment. Ingredients like alcohol or added fragrances won’t do any good for dry and cracked skin as they cause more irritation and dryness. Using a mild cream-based cleanser can help keep the moisture in, while still taking off the dirt and makeup. It is also advised to avoid masks and peels as they can make your skin dry.
While exfoliating may be the last thing on your mind when you have dry and itchy skin, it offers many benefits. Not only does exfoliating take off the dry dead skin cells, but also helps in regenerating new ones. Natural exfoliating scrubs like sugar and coffee grounds are great for keeping the moisture barrier intact and preventing dryness.
It can be tempting to go for long hot showers when the temperature is dipping. However, extremely hot water can leave the skin feeling dehydrated. If your skin appears red and itchy after shower, it can be a sign that your skin lacks moisture. Using a light moisturizer immediately after a shower can help avoid developing cracks and winter eczema.
We automatically reach for the sunscreen in summers, but it is just as important during winters to shield from the harmful UV rays. Opt for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 protection and make sure to cover your face, neck and hands if they are exposed. Don’t forget the spots that are easily missed, like ears, under the chin and the back of the neck. The Skin Cancer Institute recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours.
It doesn’t need to be elaborate. Here’s a simple skincare routine for winter that anyone can follow. Cleanse your skin twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. After washing your face in the morning, apply a light moisturizer to lock the moisture in. At night, use a heavier moisturizer or an overnight cream, preferably on damp skin as it absorbs moisture better.
Winter apparel fabrics can aggravate skin irritation. Keep rough clothes from directly touching your skin. Instead, wear lighter layers made from soft, breathable materials before pulling over your heavier sweaters. Don’t forget to use comfortable gloves to prevent winter rashes on your hands.