The Face of Winter

How to Protect Your Skin in the Dry, Cold Months

Cold winter weather can be tough on the skin, but there is much you can do to defend against the assaults of the season. The skin’s primary role “to protect the body” is important ever more in extreme weather. That means in most locations during extreme cold outside and dry, over-heated air inside during the winter. Your skin must weather these drastic fluctuations in temperature, and usually the result is chapped, scaly, flaky skin.

Facing the Frost

One of the biggest wintertime concerns would be dehydration. In colder weather, you definitely need to increase the protection plans. You must over-treat your skin to keep it hydrated. That means a shift from lighter skin care products used during warmer months to a heavier “winter-weight” products. Thicker, cream based cleansers and moisturizers will provide stronger barriers against the harsh winter months. This is especially important for the face, and if much of the time is spent outdoors, your complexion needs heavy duty protection from brisk wind as well as sun protection.

We often forget about sunscreen in the winter. If you are only outdoors for a few hours a day, a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 should be sufficient. But for a winter excursion on the slopes, a higher protective factor would be needed. Both snow and sand reflect the sunlight, so don’t always rely on an umbrella to protect you from the rays of the sun. The lips and the area around the eyes need a continual shield against the elements. Ask your skin-care professional which products are appropriate for your skin type.

When your skin gets cold, you lose blood flow. Resulting in a dry, dull tone. Facial treatments can increase circulation and rejuvenate a healthy glow. But be careful with peels and resurfacing treatments during the winter, as they can do more damage than good with skin that is already taxed from the extreme harsh environmental conditions.

Winterizing the body

It’s not just the face that suffers in the winter. Skin everywhere dries out, gets itchy, flaky and uncomfortable. A delightful hot bath sounds great in the winter, which can further tax the skin making conditions worse. The solution – Add about ten drops of essential oil to the bath to moisturize. Lavender is a nice choice for soothing dry skin. Then immediately after drying off, apply moisturizers, the thick, creamy body butter type lotions. The skin is most ready at this time to absorb the lotion and restore its barrier. If dryness is still bothersome, indulge in a salt rub and full-body conditioning wrap to re-moisturize.

Relax and Enjoy It

Winter does not have to take its long, hard toll on your skin. And don’t skimp on the self-care. Schedule time for pampering, relaxing treatments.

Some Final Tips

  • Drink water! Even when there is a chill in the air and thirst isn’t overwhelming, water consumption needs to be high to combat the dry air.
  • Avoid products with a percentage of synthetic ingredients and artificial colors and fragrances. (propylene glycol, petroleum, sodium laurel sulfates)
  • Employ quality skin care products suited to your skin
  • Check your medications; pharmaceuticals can upset pH balance
  • Incorporate nutritional supplements into your regimen, such as fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, vitamins A and B

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