Along with the colder temperatures, for many people winter usually means dry, flaky, itchy skin. Those frigid temperatures mean we crank up the furnace which blows dry, heated air. Long, hot showers to thaw out cold extremities only serve to further dry out the skin, which is already subject to winter’s naturally low humidity levels.
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Here are five great tips to counteract winter’s attack on skin hydration and keep your skin well-moisturized throughout the harshest season:
1. Moisturizers: Choose creams over lotions
When moisturizing your skin, choose a cream instead of a lotion. Lotions are water-based and easily absorbed, while a thicker cream tends to create a seal that locks in moisture. The cream then provides an additional level of protection to the top layer of the skin. Select a moisturizing cream that is fragrance-free and be sure to apply it immediately after your shower before your skin has a chance to lose moisture.
2. Avoid using perfumes
Fragrances can be an irritant to the skin. The alcohol in your favorite perfume will also dry out your skin and disrupt the skin’s own regulation process which helps it to maintain a healthy moisture level. If you do wish to use perfume, use it sparingly.
3. Change your shower habit for winter
This tip may be difficult for the shower lovers out there. Lowering the water temperature and shortening the length of time you spend in the shower will be a tremendous benefit to your skin over the course of the winter months. Baths and showers should be limited to no more than once a day for optimal skin hydration. In addition, using a moisturizing body bar will be gentler on your skin than a harsh soap.
4. Drink more water
One of the biggest factors in maintaining properly hydrated skin is hydration within the body – not only on the surface. One of the most effective actions you can take in the winter is consuming more water than you believe you need on a daily basis. The additional water will be absorbed by your cells as a replacement for the water lost to old man winter’s drying elements. There are some great online tools to help you determine how much water you should consume given your body type and health history.
5. Stay away from alcohol
During the holidays there is always a lot of toasting going on. But did you know consuming alcohol can negatively affect the appearance of your skin? If you really want to achieve maximum skin health during the winter, refrain from (or at least limit) alcohol consumption during the holidays.
6. Get your omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the essential keys to skin health. These fatty acids have a multi-faceted protective effect on the skin. They help to ward off the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure, make hair shinier, and help to keep the skin well-hydrated. You can take in omega-3 fatty acids through supplements found in the natural foods section of the grocery store or pharmacy or at the health food store, or you can also get sufficient quantities by eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish (salmon, sardines, or halibut), walnuts, flax seeds, and tofu.
Winter skin doesn’t need to be that uncomfortable, dry skin that you may have become accustomed to. Take time to follow these six easy steps and you will keep your protective covering supple and glowing even through the season’s coldest days.
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