Winter is tough for a lot of reasons: lack of sunlight, frigid temperatures, runny noses — the list goes on and on. While most of these ailments are out of our control, there is one winter problem that you actually can do a lot about: dry skin.
You know what we’re talking about: dry, itchy limbs and a dull, irritated complexion. It’s what we’ve come to expect in winter, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you take the right precautionary measures and action steps once you start noticing dry skin pop up, you can sail through the dark, cold months with soft, glowing skin. Here’s your action plan.
Stick to the basics.
While you might be tempted to get serious about your skincare routine in the winter and try all the things, according to Harvard-trained dermatologist Iris Rubin, who founded the hair-care brand SEEN, it’s best to keep it simple.
“To keep your face glowing and moisturized I recommend using a mild cleanser and great moisturizer,” Rubin says. “With a cleanser, less is often more, especially in the wintertime as harsher cleansers can dry out your skin.”
Rubin adds that if your skin is extra dry, you should consider using a moisturizer with ceramides to give your skin an extra boost, or a vitamin C serum to give your skin an extra glow.
And one more thing: the sun may be in hiding for a few more months, but that doesn’t mean you can ditch the sunscreen! “Starting sunscreen early and using it every day is one of the keys to the fountain of youth, and of course in helping to prevent skin cancer,” Rubin says.
Go gentle on the rest of your skin, too.
Your face isn’t the only part of your skin that you need to be gentle with — it’s important to take extra care of the rest of your body, too.
“Just using a mild soap can make a big difference. I use a bar of Dove sensitive soap,” says Rubin. “And moisturizer right after a bath or shower is especially beneficial to hydrating the skin. If your skin is really dry, reach for a cream instead of a lotion, as it is thicker and more hydrating.”
More than any other part of your skin, the skin on your hands can take a beating. Although it may seem excessive, if you suffer from super dry hands or eczema, Rubin suggests moisturizing your hands every time you wash them. “I like carrying a small cream in my purse to have on hand,” she says. “It’s also important to keep in mind that industrial office soap can be really harsh and irritating to the skin. I’d even consider bringing your own cleanser.”
Beware of hot baths and showers.
Although few things are more comforting than a steaming hot shower or bath when it’s freezing outside, this small luxury can actually wreak havoc on your skin. We’re not saying you should skip them altogether, but Rubin does recommend getting serious about moisturizing afterward.
And if you do plan on taking hot showers or baths, do so sparingly. “Warm showers or baths that are shorter in length are a much better option,” says Rubin.
Now get out there and keep that skin happy and moisturized until spring rolls around.