With chapped lips, scaly arms and cracked heels everywhere, it’s beginning to look a lot like winter.
Winter brings more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks; uncomfortable dryness to the face, hands and feet also accompanies the weather. Skin tends to result in flaking and cracking. It’s time to start protecting your skin against the harsh climate by following these simple steps.
Pucker up, chaps
Your lips are particularly at risk when the cold strikes, as the skin on your lips is very thin and has no oil glands. Using a lip balm is a given, but rubbing a soft exfoliator over them before applying not only removes dead skin, but also allows better absorption. Try rubbing shea butter lip balm or vaseline topped on a light toothbrush so that the fine cracked particles on your lips are removed completely, reports webmd.com.
As weather conditions change, so should your skin care routine. Find an ‘ointment’ moisturiser that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion (many lotions labeled as ‘night creams’ are oil-based). Look for ‘nonclogging’ oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil or almond oil, reports Elle magazine. “When skin gets dry, it becomes itchy. When people start scratching it, ultimately it will lead to inflammation and a rash,” warns Dr Ayesha Yaseen, a dermatologist based in Islamabad. She further adds, “the rash can get ‘quite dramatic’ and even lead to an infection from bacteria in the environment.”
Not only is it important to eat sensibly and healthily throughout the year, but applying products rich in vitamins can be beneficial as well. Vitamin D and E are some of the best for promoting healthy skin. Vitamin A, E and C, which can be found in oily fish, citrus fruits, liver, poultry and leafy vegetables help to repair the skin, allowing it to heal quicker. Vitamin E is a great defence against the winter as it not only helps the skin deal with the winter elements but with premature aging as well, reports webmd.com.
Hot water is a no-no
Though it may be incredibly tempting to hop into a hot shower or have a soak in a steaming bath when winter comes knocking, this can be one of the biggest ways to drain skin of the oils and vitamins it needs. “As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out,” states Dr Seema Ahmad, a general physician. She also adds, “resist the temptation to take a hot water bath in winter; lukewarm water is better to prevent dryness. After bathing pat skin dry — don’t rub because this can irritate the skin.” She recommends applying moisturising lotion onto towel-dabbed skin after having a shower as it is more effective in locking in moisture in the skin, as compared to when applied to dry skin.
Heal your heels
Yes, those minty foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, your feet need stronger stuff.
Try finding lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine instead. And use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturisers you use to sink in faster and deeper, reports femalefirst.co.uk. “If heels aren’t treated it can lead to a dry, flaky appearance, and, eventually, cracks in the skin can resemble a ‘dry desert floor’,” warns Dr Yaseen.