Winter is just around the corner! When it gets cold outside we turn up the thermostat and curl up in front of the fire in our favorite blanket but all of this heat can reap havoc on our skin. While turning up the heat can give you a warm and cozy feeling, it can also dehydrate the skin leaving it dry, itchy, flaky, red and in some instances even crack. Indoor heating is necessary to prevent us from feeling like we live in an igloo but it acts like a gigantic blow-dryer throughout the entire home. (Think about the purpose of a blow-dryer for your hair.) Since you can’t totally forgo heated comfort, there are some things you can do to make your skin healthy, hydrated and looking great.
1. Heal from the inside. You should start by making sure you are healthy from the inside since organs like the kidneys and liver can have more to do with the health of your skin than anything you put on it. The most important thing you can do is drink plenty of water. If you are not a huge fan of H2O, flavor enhanced waters and juices are good ways to hydrate. Soup is another good source of water (and oh, so good on a cold winter night) but just make sure that the sodium content is not too high. Remember that drinks containing caffeine and alcohol do not count toward water consumption since they are diuretics and actually leech water from the body. You may want to up your consumption on days when you will be consuming these beverages. Also make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy pizza and wings while watching the game, just make sure you get plenty of the foods that contribute to a healthy body and skin. Fruits and vegetables contain an array of vitamins and minerals and also have a high moisture content. Foods containing EFA’s are also important to the health of your skin, essential fatty acids can not be manufactured by the body so we must eat foods containing them to keep our cells healthy and functioning properly. Statistically 99% of Americans do not get enough omega 3 fatty acids so here is a list of good sources: Fish especially Salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, soy and canola oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and leafy green vegetables.
2. Turn down the heat. As I stated in the beginning, the heat in your home can be treacherous for your skin but that’s not where it stops. Your car is another place where heat can be very hard on the skin. Many people like to aim the hot air vents directly onto their face especially on a very cold day. Fight the urge to do this since the prolonged exposure to heat (or cold) can cause capillaries to break down and if the exposure is repeated enough it can lead to skin conditions like Rosacea. Use your floor vents, heat rises anyway and it wont take long to heat the whole car. Another place to keep the heat down is in your shower or bath. Staying in the concentrated water of a shower or bath that is too hot and too long can rupture the lipid barrier and severely reduce the moisture in your skin. Instead, use warm water and limit the amount of time you stay in.
3. Bring in the humidity. A humidifier will restore moisture to the dry air that your heating system leaves you with. Several placed around your home will have the best effect but placing one in the areas you spend the most time, like next to your bed, will make a difference too. If you can stand how funny it looks, placing bowls of water around the house can produce a little moisture in the air as the water evaporates.
4. Increase moisturization. People with all skin types, even oily, may find that they need to increase the amount and type of moisturizer they use. A thicker, oil-based moisturizer especially at night will help to combat dry winter skin, just make sure that the product is non-comedogenic meaning that it will not clog pores. Also, in certain climates you need to watch out for products containing humectants which pull water out of one side and give it to the other. If there is no moisture in the air they will pull it out of the skin and it will evaporate off. Humectants work better in a humid climate. If you need an extra kick, a moisturizing mask can intensify hydration and help your skin perform better.
Following even a few of these tips will leave you with healthy and hydrated skin all season long. Consult your Aesthetician or Dermatologist for any persistent problems and remember that even though the days are shorter, the suns rays are just as dangerous so don’t forget to wear SPF every day.
Happy WInter – Kristin Malone