Fall has officially arrived!
Football games on the patio, trick-or-treating and pumpkin patches,celebrating with family and friends during the holidays… many would say we are entering the “most wonderful time of the year.” However, along with the change in season comes one major downside—the onset of dull, dry skin. During the winter months, your skin struggles to produce its natural oils as effectively, which can lead to dryness, cracking, and sometimes an itchy, scaly rash known as eczema. Below are several tips to help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy during the colder months to come.
Change your bathing routine.
Think about the way you wash a greasy dish pan—the hotter and soapier the water, the better the grease washes away. Unfortunately, the same concept applies to the skin—hot water and soaps with strong surfactants can melt the natural oils out of our skin, leaving it dry and scaly, especially during colder months. Try switching to a moisturizing soap (Dove and Cetaphil are a few good ones), turning down the dial on the water temperature, and limiting your shower time to five minutes.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Combat skin dehydration by applying a moisturizer to your full body at least once or twicea day. The skin is especially good at absorbing moisturizer if it’s applied within five minutes of getting out of the shower. Which product should you choose? As a rule, creams are more hydrating than lotions, making them a better choice during the winter. Cetaphil cream and Cerave cream are both nice options. If your skin is especially dry, you may do best with an ointment-based moisturizer, since ointments are even more hydrating than creams. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or Aquaphor are both very effective. Don’t forget places like your hands, which are often left exposed to the cold, dry air and therefore are more prone to getting chapped. It’s a good idea to limit excessive hand washing this time of year and to apply a handointment orcream several times a day— consider keeping a small tube in your purse or your pocket for easy access. Also, don’t forget about your feet— stash a tube of Vaseline or Aquaphor on your nightstand to apply before you hit the sack.
Invest in a humidifier.
Heaters and fireplaces are great at keeping us toasty, but they tend to zap air moisture and can contribute to major skin dryness. Consider placing severalsmall cool mist humidifiers throughout your home to replace some of that missing air moisture. Of course, be careful to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions to make sure it stays clean and pathogen-free throughout the winter.
Keep your face and lips glowing.
Remember that the sun doesn’t stop shining in the winter, so continue to use a facial sunscreen with at least SPF 30, every single day. Wind and dryness can make your skin more sensitive to products, so consider limiting your use of harsh toners, masks, and peels during the winter. And don’t forget to moisturize— use a hydratingface cream at least twice a day. The same thing goes for your mouth— banish cracked, dry lips by applying a moisturizing lip balm with SPF 15+ several times throughout the day.
Consult an expert.
If your skin is not looking or feeling its best despite trying these measures, it may be time to consult your local dermatologist, who can prescribe you any necessary medications and can help you design a personalized skin care regimen.