Winter weather is harsh on the roads, our vehicles, our health and moods – but especially our skin. Extended and even short-term exposure to the frigid temperature, winter winds and the dry heat cranked up inside everyone’s home are a recipe for dry and sometimes cracked, bleeding skin.
So, what can be done for your poor, parched skin? Below is a list of tips to prevent the uncomfortable chapped lips, dry and flaky skin and itchy discomfort that follows in the wake of winter:
- Invest In A Humidifier
Your apartment is being kept warm and dry and so is your skin as the water inside your body evaporates. Humidifiers add hydration back into the air. This can be purchased at almost any general merchandise store or pharmacy.
- Alternatives To A Humidifier – ways to facilitate moisture evaporating into the air without spending money
- Leave the bathroom door open when you shower – if you have roommates, leaving the door open just a crack should do the trick and protect your privacy!
- If you take baths, let the water cool down before draining the tub. This allows the warm water to vaporize.
- Save a $1.25 and skip the dryer. Let your clothes air dry in the apartment.
- Air dry your dishes. The dishwasher works as a great drying rack for extra space.
- Keeping house plants can be a great addition because leaves release water vapor into the air through a process called transpiration. This is only useful if you water your plants regularly.
- Place a bowl of water – preferably on a coaster to avoid water rings – on a sunny windowsill.
- Shorten Your Showers
Nothing feels better than taking a hot shower after braving the cold! Regardless, you should be cutting back on temperature and time. The longer you stand under the hot spray the more you’re drying out your skin. Taking a really hot shower strips away the epidermal lipid layer that creates a barrier against moisture leaving your skin. Showering too often with hot water and exfoliating frequently doesn’t allow your skin enough time to repair and replace the lipid oil that was stripped.
- Creams, Ointments And Oils Are Your Friends – Lotion Is Not!
After showering or bathing, slather up with a thick moisturizer. Lotions are often too thin to really moisturize so investing in a cream or ointment will benefit in the long run. Body oils are a great addition before getting into the shower or before applying your moisturizer.
- Coconut oil
- Argan oil
- Tea tree oil
- Rose oil
- Rose hip oil
- To Be Bold Or Be Bland?
Use a gentle, bland and unscented cleanser to help care for your skin during the dry winter months. Save the floral, fruity or musky body washes for summer when your skin isn’t so much at risk.
- Don’t Forget Your Lips
Unlike your skin that can replace the oil lost from the lipid layer, your lips aren’t as lucky. Keep Chapstick and lip balm on you at all times to avoid painful chapped lips that you know you’re going to keep licking despite knowing you shouldn’t. It’s a vicious cycle once it starts.
- Drink Up!
Water and tea are excellent choices to keep your body hydrated. If remembering to drink water is a struggle, look into gifting yourself a ‘motivational water bottle.’ Not only will it look stylish, but it will help you track how much water you’re drinking during the day and let you know how much you should drink by a certain time of the day.
- Paper Straws & Metal Straws Aren’t Just Good For The Environment
Often times when you take a drink there are leftover droplets on your lips that either evaporate or you wipe away. This drying process removes moisture and oil while leaving your lips stripped and vulnerable. Drinking with a straw will help prevent this cycle! – We recommend paper or metal straws to be environmentally friendly. There are ‘motivational water bottles’ with straws 😉
- Limit Alcohol And Coffee
Alcohol is dehydrating and coffee is a diuretic.
- Add More Fish, Nuts And Avocados To Your Diet
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish will help your skin stay supple and protect the moisture barrier. Nuts have both omega-3 and vitamin E. Avocados, besides being delicious, supply your body with vitamin E and antioxidants – so add it to toast and don’t let anyone ‘hipster shame’ you!
The sun doesn’t stop being a health concern once summer is over, so unfortunately, you’re still at risk of sunburn and damage even in the winter. The glare from the snow actually makes it more dangerous! Apply sunscreen to your face, ears and neck before heading out to protect from further damage and reapply if necessary.
- Winter Gloves And Cotton Gloves
Remember to wear gloves outside during the winter so your hands don’t burn and chap from the dry, cold air. Thin cotton gloves are great to wear under warm, wool gloves (wool can be an irritant to the skin) or wear cotton gloves at night to keep moisturizer from rubbing off your hands and onto your blankets and sheets before it has a chance to hydrate your skin.
A few products recommended by a J. Michael staff member with eczema:
- Aquaphor – hand relief best paired with cotton gloves, chapped lip relief, burned/cracked skin relief
- Aveeno Eczema Therapy – great product even if you don’t have eczema
- Aveda Botanical Kinetics™ Hydrating Lotion – face/neck moisturizer
- LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask
- Aveda Lip Saver
- Nivea Lip Balm