The change of seasons always puts stress on the skin. The calendar has just turned to November, but our skin can soon be a casualty of the yo-yo temperature changes.
Cold and chafing winds, as well as stagnant indoor air, can leave skin parched because it tends to lack natural moisture. And the stress of the holidays, including eating and drinking to extremes, only adds to skin challenges.
Don’t despair. You don’t have to surrender to all of winter’s indignities. Here’s an arsenal of simple advice to help us prepare our skin for winter’s assault:
1. Wear gloves
Most people wait until temperatures turn frigid before donning gloves. Consider wearing them starting now. That’s because even minor skin chapping on the hands can turn into fissures that become course and sometimes infected. The same is true for lips, which should always be covered with lip balm when venturing outdoors.
2. Switch from lotion to cream
When you switch your seasonal wardrobes, it’s a good idea to do the same with your skin emollient. Use creams, which are typically more moisturizing, instead of lotions, which don’t provide as strong an oily barrier to reduce water loss in the skin. Creams feel a bit heavier on the skin but they do a much better job at protecting against temperature and humidity extremes. It’s definitely good to put it on at night.
3. Take shorter showers
Ironically, the very things that make us feel good in the moment, such as long, hot showers or baths, can leave our skin crying out for moisture over the longer-term. Opt for shorter, more lukewarm baths and showers and pat your skin dry afterward. Follow up quickly with a layer of moisturizer from head to toe. Also, try shower gel instead of soap for extra skin enrichment.
4. Celebrate in moderation
Winter brings a bevy of holidays that can be fun to celebrate, but between all of the alcohol, rich foods, and deprived sleep your skin can pay a price. Seasonal stress can also bring on certain skin ills, such as acne or cold sores. Cutting back on simple sugars and carbohydrates, which are plentiful in fast foods or processed foods, is another measure we can take to avoid breakouts when a stressful situation (such as Thanksgiving dinner with 10 of your least favorite relatives) looms. In general, stress can make any skin problem a little worse. It’s not the reason you break out per se, but it’s one of the factors.
5. Don’t skip sunscreen
This is our mantra. Though we’re less exposed to sun in winter, that doesn’t mean we can stop protecting ourselves from its rays altogether. Some skin creams have sunscreen built in, but make sure yours carries an SPF rating of 30 or higher, whether you spend most of your time indoors or are one of those adventurers hitting the slopes.