Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin During Winter

Skin TipsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Now that cold months are here, those who live in areas that experience frigid temperatures may notice that wintry weather can wreak havoc on their skin. Outdoor exposure to harsh winds, freezing temperatures and dry indoor heating can result in chapped lips and skin that is rough, dry, itchy, and irritated. Cold weather and low humidity result in dry air that takes moisture from the lips and skin. While sitting by a roaring fire may be cozy and warm, it can also contribute to dry skin. A hot shower or bath is a tempting way to warm up on a cold day, however hot water can strip natural oils from the skin, which keep it soft and pliable.

During winter months, normally fine facially lines may become more visible and skin may lose its youthful glow. While most people pay careful attention to their hand and facial skin, the body also requires some extra TLC, as dry skin commonly occurs on the arms and legs. Very dry skin can cause severe itching that may interfere with sleep or daily activities. Because cold air has very low humidity it can dry out the skin, as well as mucous membranes. Dry air can aggravate sinus troubles and asthma or cause throat discomfort and nosebleeds.

Simple changes to one’s usual skincare routine and a few lifestyle adjustments can help to combat the harsh effects of winter weather. Extra hydration and dietary considerations can help keep the skin moist, supple and comfortable throughout the season.

  • As long as it’s properly maintained, a cool mist humidifier can be utilized to add moisture to the air. A humidifier can be especially helpful during a cold or respiratory illness or to relieve a case of extremely dry skin or associated dermatitis.
  • Use warm, rather than hot water for baths and showers. Hot water actually dehydrates the skin and quickly evaporates, which can subject the skin to “winter itch.”
  • Limit showers or soaks in the tub to no more than 10 minutes every 24 hour period. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the bath water will help moisturize the skin but may also make the tub slippery, so be wary.
  • Use only mild unscented soap designed for sensitive skin or try a gentle moisturizing soap to repair and protect the skin’s moisture barrier.
  • After bathing, pat skin dry and apply a moisturizer while skin is still damp to help prevent moisture evaporation. For very dry skin, apply moisturizer again later in the day or before bed.
  • If skin is dry in winter, switch to a moisturizing cream rather than a light lotion. Avoid fragrances with can also further irritate dry skin. Use a noncomedogenic cream on the face to avoid clogging pores.
  • Don’t exfoliate if the skin is very dry. Gentle exfoliation of normal skin can give the skin a healthy glow. As well, gentle exfoliation removes old skin cells and helps speed up skin cell regeneration, allowing better penetration of applied moisturizer.
  • Gently exfoliate lips when they are dry or chapped. You can lightly brush them with a dry toothbrush or use a wash cloth and a splash of warm water.
  • Thin skin of the lips tends to dry faster than skin on the body. When lips are chapped try to avoid licking them, which exacerbates the problem. To repair and prevent chapped lips, regularly apply lip balm with natural moisturizing ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter, coconut butter or olive oil.
  • Cuticles also tend to be dry during winter months. Use a cuticle cream regularly or apply olive oil several times a week.
  • Chronic skin conditions can worsen during seasonal changes. Symptoms of stress can also exacerbate the skin. Relaxation techniques can help bring both the body and the skin back into balance, helping to keep skin conditions under control.
  • Drink plenty of hydrating fluids to moisturize the skin from the inside out. Limit caffeinated beverages that trigger the body to eliminate water.
  • Indulge in watery foods such as soups and salads, as well as antioxidant -rich colorful vegetables and fruits to nourish the skin and provide a healthy glow.
  • Be sure the diet includes healthy fats found in nuts, olives, avocados and fatty fish. A diet deficient in essential fatty acids can result in dry, lackluster skin.

Vitamins are crucial for maintaining healthy skin. Collagen plays a central role in skin health and may help with skin elasticity and hydration. Vitamin D aids skin, immune and bone health. Fish oil may help soothe inflammation. Antioxidant vitamin C helps to prevent cell damage and stimulates collagen synthesis, while vitamin E helps preserve skin health. Curcumin has been shown to help relieve inflammation and soothe skin irritation. Vitamin A provides a first line of defense against skin issues, and helps reduce signs of aging when applied in a topical cream directly to the skin. Multivitamins provide a range of nutrients that support skin repair, skin elasticity and overall wellness.

Professional Supplement Center offers many high quality nutritional supplements in support of skin and overall health:

Collagen PeptidesCollagen Peptides by Vital Proteins: These highly digestible bioavailable collagen peptides are sourced from grass-fed, pastured-raised bovine hides in support of skin, joint, ligament, tendon, hair and nail health. Odorless and tasteless, each serving provides 20 g of collagen containing 18 essential and non-essential amino acids. Gluten, dairy and sugar free single ingredient formula.

Vitamin C Renewing...Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer by DermaE Natural Skincare: This synergistic eco-ethical skincare moisturizer provides a stable non-oxidizing form of vitamin C along with probiotics and rooibos in support of the skin’s natural defenses. A lightweight radiance-boosting moisturizer, this 100% vegan product supports collagen health, helping skin to appear smoother, firmer and revitalized. Free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, soy, petrolatum and artificial colors. Non-GMO formulation.

Lip BalmLip Balm by Living Nature: This truly nourishing lip balm seals in moisture to prevent dehydration with antimicrobial manuka honey, calendula, soothing essential oils and fruit waxes. Good enough to eat, this certified natural balm leaves lips beautifully soft and supple. Use alone or as an ideal color-free base before applying your favorite lip color. Free of parabens, surfactants, petrochemicals, phthalates, BPA and artificial fragrances. Non-GMO formulation.

Lip Care StickLip Care Stick by Dr. Hauschka: Moisturizing and protective, Lip Care Stick nurtures dry, chapped lips, soothing and softening even the most sensitive lips without causing dependency. This fortifying  formulation promotes healthy lips with sweet almond and apricot kernel oils, shea butter, rose hips, beeswax, carrot extract and more. Free of synthetic fragrances, dyes and preservatives, mineral oils, parabens, and PEGs. Dermatologically tested, 100% certified organic fair trade ingredients.

Dermatologists’ top tips for relieving dry skin.
Winter dry skin.
Top 10 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin.

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