Even if you have great skin the rest of the year, winter still can be brutal. The drop in humidity and temperature dry out the air. Most homes and businesses have forced-air heating, which makes the air even more dry and causing skin to dehydrate further. As we age, the natural oil layer on our skin is depleted, while frequent hand washing and showering removes this layer. [discovery health]
I follow a special regimen to keep my skin moist in the winter.
Keeping my body soft and smooth.
1. I don't use hot water when I shower. The hot water can dry skin out even worse! I can't handle cold or lukewarm showers, but I make sure they are cooler that what I prefer.
2. I only use body wash if my body is really dirty. I don't work outside or anywhere where I get dirt on my skin, so I rarely need to soap my entire body. There are parts, of course, I wash every day.
3. At least every other day, when I shower I use Elle's Lemon Vitamin E Sugar Scrub. It's very inexpensive, easy to make, and it lightly removes the dry skin. The vitamin E oil provides a protective moisturizing layer over my skin. The sugar keeps the skin moist (as opposed to salt-based scrubs) and dissolves in the shower.
4. Everyday when I shave my legs (yes, I'm one of those women), I use conditioner instead of any soap or body wash. It is more moisturizing than most body wash (with the exception of Olay Pro Age Body Wash) and cheaper!
5. I use Olay Quench Body Lotion every day. This is the best inexpensive lotion that I have found. I'm an Olay girl, though I really love the Lancome treats I buy myself once in a great while!
For my hands and feet.
I am a chronic handwasher (I have a three year-old and live with my husband, our 19 year-old male roommate, and two dogs!). I also cook quite a bit from scratch (see RECIPES), therefore, my hands get REALLY dry, so dry they crack and threaten to bleed. To keep my hands from drying out, I put Look Ma, New Hands! hand cream on them and wear moisturizing gloves at least twice a week. Yes, it was awkward for me at first, but they keep the cream on my hands, giving it plenty of time to absorb. I use the same cream for my feet and cover them socks several times a week, too.
Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, as well as flaxseed oil, some types of eggs, and grass-fed beef. Evening primrose oil and borage seed oil, which are high in omega-6s, help hydrate the skin and prevent water from evaporating, says Leslie Baumann, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute. "If you don't like fish or are pregnant and can't eat it, omega-3 supplements are a good option." [everydayhealth.com]I increase healthy fats like olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocados in my diet.
And most importantly, WATER!
While most treatments call for keeping moisture in the skin, hydrating my whole body is a must for healthy winter skin. Increasing consumption of water also helps combat the dehydrating effect of warming winter drinks like coffees and alcohol.
What do you do to protect your skin in the winter?