The favorite time of the year is just around the corner. Even as you are fishing out your boots, jackets and woolens, it is absolutely important to prep your skin for the winter months ahead! Winters bring along uncomfortable dryness to the skin, especially of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling. With the cold weather and falling temperatures, the skin can become so dry that it might start flaking, cracking and even sometimes may end up in having eczema, where the skin becomes inflamed. Dry skin is usually a long term recurring issue, especially in winter, and it is important to avoid it. Here are some useful tips to ensure that your skin remains hydrated and healthy -
Facial care: Moisturize More! The use of a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer may not be adequate. An "ointment" moisturizer that's oil-based is preferred, rather than water-based. The oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. Lotions containing "humectants" are advisable because they include glycerin and hydroxyl acids which attract moisture to the skin. Applying a soothing lotion right after the bath or shower will help the skin's protective layer stay intact.
Yes, sunscreens in winter! Sunscreen isn't just for summertime. Winter sun can still damage the skin. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your face and neck, about 20-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you're out for a long time. Combination sunscreens which contain both sunscreens and moisturizers are convenient.
Drop the harsh products! As weather conditions change, so, too, should the skin care routine. If the facial skin is even mildly dry, avoid of harsh scrubs and alcohol-based toners, these will remove vital oils from the skin. Instead, use cleansing milk or mild foaming cleansers. They will gently cleanse without stripping natural skin moisture. Masks that are "deeply hydrating," rather than clay-based (which draw moisture out) are also helpful.
Hand care: The skin on our hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. It's harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Keep your hands warm at all times to avoid excessive dryness, and keep a hand moisturizer in your bag wherever you go.
Feet care: Simple foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, the feet need stronger stuff. Lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerin would be thicker and more effective. Also use exfoliants (physical ones like coarse loofahs and pumice stone) to get the dead skin off periodically; this will help moisturizers to sink in faster and deeper.
Body care: Soaking in hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. Luke warm water is any day better than hot or cold waters. Using a mild bath product or one that is pH balanced helps to maintain skin's oil balance. Showers may be better than baths as they minimize the contact duration of water with skin.
Professional care: Since dry skin makes the skin more sensitive, some care has to be practiced in selection of suitable products. If the dryness or itchiness persists in spite of regular emollient application, you should definitely visit a professional dermatologist.
Don't forget that water is good for our overall health and severely dehydrated skin will definitely benefit from fluids. Citrus fruits, nuts, green leafy vegetables are good sources of nutrients.
The write-up has also appeared on www.fridaymagazine.ae
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