Seasonal changes, especially when transitioning from warmer to cooler months, can be a cause for skin worries. Decreasing temperatures mean a drop in humidity, taking much-needed moisture away from your skin. The cold weather can also leave your face looking duller, prone to cracking and flaking, and even cause acne flare-ups.
Minimizing time outdoors and staying hydrated are good habits to keep up, but they may not be enough to make a significant impact. Much like changing your clothes to suit the season, the best way to battle the cold and prevent dry skin is to make changes to your skincare routine. Here are some tips perfect for keeping your skin healthy in the cold weather.
1Use a humidifier
Getting a humidifier can help return and retain the moisture in your skin. It’s recommended to set the humidity level between 45% and 55% to have a significant effect on your skin. Keep the humidifier in your room, office, or any space you spend a bulk of your time in. Luckily, there are different types and sizes of humidifier units that can best suit your space.
2Avoid too much heat
While the weather may have you wanting to keep warm and toasty, exposing your skin to excessive heat can also be harmful. Things like turning up the thermostat and taking long hot showers may drive the chill away, but also drive what little moisture your skin has.
Resist the urge to use your heater excessively and opt to layer on clothes and blankets instead. It’s also recommended to limit your showers to 15 minutes or less with warm water rather than hot.
3Moisturize well and often
Given that the cold weather can make your skin dry, investing in a good moisturizer is an absolute must. Ideally, your choice of moisturizer should contain ingredients like glycerin, which hydrates the skin, and ceramides, which provides hydration and creates a barrier to lock in the moisture.
When applying your moisturizer after a bath, make sure to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Your skin should still be slightly damp as you use the moisturizer on your face. A body moisturizer can address dry skin on other parts of your body exposed to the elements, like your hands.
Adding more moisturizing steps to your routine, such as masks and overnight creams, can help give your skin the boost of moisture it needs further.
4Put on sunblock
This may sound counterintuitive during cold weather, especially if it’s cloudy and dark outside. While the sun may not be out, its harmful UV rays can still reach you, causing damage to your skin. On sunnier winter days, the snow can reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your UV exposure and putting your skin at risk.
Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide are very effective, as these ingredients create a layer that filters out the worst of the UV rays. Make sure to avoid sunscreens with comedogenic ingredients to prevent the chance of breakouts.
5Lessen facial exfoliating
During colder months, take a step back from regular exfoliation in your skincare routine. With the weather drying out your skin, you won’t be doing it any favors by using facial scrubs or exfoliating toners. If you’re suffering from dehydrated skin, it’s better to cut it out of your routine entirely until the weather changes.
6Go for gentler products
Given that your skin will be prone to drying and irritation in cold weather, you’ll need to switch to mild products. Choose cleansers and toners that don’t strip the natural moisture of your skin.
Astringents like alcohol can work against your efforts to keep the skin hydrated. It’s also advisable to use soaps made with natural oils in order to add another source of moisture for your skin.
Additionally, steer clear of skincare products that have synthetic fragrances and colors, which can aggravate any skin issues. It helps to keep in mind the difference between unscented and fragrance-free—the former makes use of a masking scent while the latter has no additional ingredients and feature the product’s natural smell.
7Wear soft clothing
You may be prioritizing warmth over comfort for your winter wardrobe, but common cold-weather fabrics can aggravate your skin, making it itchy and irritated on top of being dry. If you have to venture out into the cold, having abrasive fabrics like wool and polyester directly on your skin can cause further irritation, especially around the neck area.
Soft fabrics like cotton are a better choice for inner layers and undergarments. Heavier and warmer outerwear can be safely layered on top of these fabrics.
Make sure to keep your hands protected from the elements with gloves or mittens made from fabrics that aren’t abrasive on the skin. If needed, have cotton or silk glove liners handy to layer under wool or other similar fabric gloves.
8Change out of wet clothes immediately
Wet clothes and shoes caused by treading through the snow can contribute to further skin irritation and itchiness. Additionally, going out into the cold with damp skin can cause it to get chapped more frequently. Make sure to remove wet clothing as soon as possible and avoid letting wet skin be exposed to the elements.
You can’t change the weather but you can change and adapt to it. By following these steps, your skin will thank you once you return to more fair-weathered months. Should you experience excessive dryness or irritation, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist for a more specialized solution.