The unusually warm weather for December may have taken your focus off the fact that it’s technically winter but your skin will notice the difference.
It’s not freezing or sunny all the time, but the air is dryer. The temperatures are still lower than in the summer. Cooler weather brings the humidity down and the cold takes a toll on your skin. It also gets very dry from overusing sanitizers or washing it with harsh soaps. Turning the heater on at home will have the same effect on your skin, too. Basically, you have nowhere to run so be prepared.
The skin on the face, hands, and feet is the most affected by the uncomfortable dryness. It is a lot worse people whose skin tends to be dry in general – their skin often gets too dry causing and it eventually flakes or cracks which poses a huge risk of catching an infection.
“The single most important factor in protecting your skin is hydration,” Dr. Elizabeth Hale, spokesperson for the Skin Cancer Foundation and board-certified dermatologist, says. “So drink your eight glasses of water or have soup for lunch, or any fluid-based food.” When your body is dehydrated it will slows the blood flow and your skin doesn’t get enough oxygen or nutrients.
Exercising increases blood flow as well. It also helps clear the skin from toxins and all the things that enter the body through the skin.
The most common mistake people make, according to Dr. Hale, is thinking that they don’t need sunscreen. It is not true that you only need to apply it only at the beach. Research has shown that most skin damage is the result of incidental sun exposure – that’s when you’re pretty much everywhere but the beach and have not put sunscreen on. “90 percent of premature skin aging is caused by overexposure,” she adds. “Put sunscreen on no matter what.” The UV rays penetrate the clouds and windows so they are going to get you if you’re not ready.
People who have exceptionally dry skin can use certain oils under the sunscreen. Hyaluronic acid – a substance often applied to the skin for healing wounds, burns, skin ulcers, and as a moisturizer – is a good choice. “It pulls water in and can be applied periodically to increase hydration to the face,” Dr. Hale says.
Keeping your body moist requires a slightly different method than the face. The best time to apply a moisturizer is right after shower or bath, Dr. Hale says, to “seal in the moist.” You don’t want to skip that step because when the skin gets dry – and it will – it itches and it cracks. As a result you start scratching. You may then break the skin barrier making yourself prone to infection. “The skin also heals better when it’s moist,” Dr. Hale adds.
Another common mistake people make is to think that they need soap to stay clean. It has high pH levels and dries the skin too much, Dr. Hale says. “You don’t really need soap at all.” It’s much better to use non-soap cleanser because they don’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Another miss is thinking that you need to wash your whole body with soap. Remember that most of your body is covered when it’s not summer, so your skin is a lot cleaner. “So don’t overdo it.”
When you’re looking for the right moisturizer for you, keep in mind that generally creams are better than lotions because they are thicker. Look for moisturizer than contain ceramides – natural lipids that retain on the surface of the skin that retain moisture.
A common mistake associated with moisturizers in that people don’ pay attention whether the product has an SPF factor. “This is a must,” Dr. Hale says.