My skin tends to be dry, due to my diabetes, but when weather hits...and especially here, in already “super dry Colorado” the air steals moisture away from the skin every second of every day. My dry skin then cracks and bleeds, and harsh winter wind makes the problem worse. Additional moisture helps, but you need to do more to actually counteract these effects and keep skin looking youthful and smooth. To reduce chapping, redness, itching, and keep skin more healthy and comfortable this season, try these tips I have found to help.
1. Wash in Lukewarm Water
Hot showers and baths always feel good in the winter, but when you can, particularly when just washing your face or hands, choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping as many oils away from the skin.
We often forget to help the skin slough off dead cells in the winter, particularly on our hands. Yet moisture can’t get in if the dead cells are too plentiful. Find an exfoliating mask and use it on your face and your hands, as well as gently on your lips. **AVOID use of exfoliating body washes, cleansers that contain “beads or pearls” as they can embed into large pores and cause serious infections. A gentle “Buff Puff” or the like is perfect, just remember to rinse thoroughly to prevent bacteria buildup- I stick mine in the microwave for 30 seconds once a week to kill any bugs.
Cleansers can be extremely drying to the skin. If you’re used to using options that contain glycolic or salicylic acid, rotate with a more hydrating version that contains moisturizing ingredients. After cleansing, don’t leave the skin naked for more than 30 seconds, as this can dehydrate it, leading to increased dryness. Apply a hydrating toner and moisturizer to seal in moisture. I love Dove Sensitive Skin soap and it loves me.
4. Moisturize Immediately Afterwards
Your skin not only needs more moisture, but moisture right after you wash. Applying moisture to damp skin helps seal that dampness into the skin. Keep a bottle near the bathtub, shower stall, and at every sink and use liberally every time you wash. This is the most important, the purpose is not moisturize, but use the lotion to KEEP in the moisture with a protective barrier.
Some over-the-counter moisturizers have petroleum-based ingredients that can actually further dry your skin in the winter months. Be sure to choose a smart formula that has natural, nourishing ingredients. AND, remember the less chemicals in the product the better it is for you- beware of products that say “Natural Ingredients.” !! look at the label !! Go for oil-based rather than a water-based solution, it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture. For me: I have found that a particular Gold Bond lotion for Diabetic Skin is awesome!!! I was amazed after just 15 minutes my hands felt and were better!
We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.
Eating foods high in water content can help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Try watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, oranges, kiwi, and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and zinc to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin. Also consider an omega-3 supplement, or consume more fatty fish and flaxseed to give your skin the building blocks it needs to appear supple and smooth.
Get used to wearing gloves and scarves to protect skin from cold winds, rain, and snow. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun, so apply a safe option like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to any exposed areas. My favorite gloves are mittens, mainly because you can slip them on and off quickly. But the advantage to mittens over gloves is that the fingers keep each other warm and cozy, like cuddling.
Hope these tips help, I know most of them you know and already do, but maybe something is new. If you have any suggestions yourself, please leave me a comment, I love comments. And you do not have to join anything; just post your comments as “anonymous” leaving your name in the comments does help me know who you are.