What’s in the forecast this winter? Snow-filled boots, slippery car rides, slushy walks to class and severely dry skin.
The summer sun often gets a bad rep thanks to sun burns induced by an innocent enough tanning session. Cold winter air, however, is sort of like an undercover villain. The experience of peeling lips and flaking skin is common enough. So why don’t we take the same measure we take in the summer to protect our skin?
There are two different routes to take when it comes to dry skin prevention and treatment: diet and skin care routine.
Diet, often overlooked, is truly essential. What you put into your body now shows up later on your skin. Sugar and carbs, once digested, break down the top layer of the skin, leaving it without its armor. Once that top layer is gone, it can’t defend itself against cold air.
The healthy fats in foods like walnuts, olive oil, avocado and fish help skin to retain moisture.
The best way to soften skin when it comes to diet is by drinking more water. Sipping on water throughout the day will help to hydrate your body from the inside out.
Tweak your daily skin care routine to work with the newfound sensitivity to the weather. Work in some light exfoliation once a week to fight off flakes. Follow with a gentle cleanser, and finish with fragrance-free moisturizer.
The real key here is the moisturizer, as it is the only thing standing between your skin and the cold air. Using one moisturizer in the morning and a heavier one in the evenings to help skin recover is a good idea. For a simple no-fluff moisturizer, try Cetaphil.
Don’t forget your lips when protecting your skin. A little trick is to keep a lip balm in multiple places. Yes, this sounds a bit excessive, but it works: one in the cup holder of your car, another in your jacket pocket, a third in your backpack, and lastly, one next to your bed. This will leave you with all your bases covered.
Vaseline works great as a nighttime lip protector and will help lips heal from a windy day. When picking a lip balm, don’t get sidetracked by fancy and expensive brands. ChapStick truly works wonders.
Remember to take warm showers, not hot ones, so the water won’t strip skin of its natural moisture. Post shower is the best time to apply lotion all over your body to get your skin to really absorb it. Also, when getting dressed, keep your inner layers soft so they don't irritate your skin.
If your skin is already in bad shape, bring it back to life with a mask. A moisturizing mask can be expensive, and a little unnecessary when an extremely effective mask is lurking in your kitchen. Leave each mask on for 10-15 minutes, wash off with warm water, and follow with a fragrance free moisturizer.
This mask will leave a layer of healthy oils and fats on your skin.
Half an avocado, mashed + 1 tbsp. olive oil
Sensitive skin types will benefit from this mask, which heals red itchy skin.
3 tbsp. plain yogurt + 1 tbsp. honey