As much as I love my life in Miami, I have my Michigan roots. Like many of us, I grew up with cold winters — and I learned the hard way that those winters often came with “Winter Skin.” As soon as the temperature dropped, we all felt it: that dry, irritated, itchy skin that resulted from a lack of moisture in the air.
Jan. 8 is National Winter Skin Relief Day, and in honor of the education and awareness it brings to this skincare issue, I’m offering a few tips of my own. Backed by medical advice and research, here are some surefire ways to keep our skin hydrated during the cold winter months:
- Avoid hot showers. I know, I know — it’s cold out! You want a long, hot shower. I’m not saying never take one, but don’t do them every day. Heat strips our already-dry skin of its natural oils, causes inflammation and makes our skin cells swell, which leads to skin cracking. If you can manage it, take shorter, lukewarm showers.
- Use gentle cleansers on your skin. Soaps consisting of surfactants and “pH balance” can actually be harsh on skin. And speaking of gentle, don’t scrub too hard, either. Let the water and lathering do most of the work.
- Hydrate your skin the right way. Dry, cracked skin needs creams and ointments with light petrolatum, hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Moisturize regularly and sleep with a cool mist humidifier.
- Pat your skin dry. After showering, we often want to dry ourselves quickly, especially if it’s cold. Rubbing causes irritation and inflammation, so pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead.
- Always wear layers. The layer that touches your skin should be made of soft, natural fibers like flannel and cotton.
Even here in sunny South Florida, our skin can get irritated and dry from time to time. Use the above tips whenever your skin isn’t as plump and hydrated as you would like it to be. Trust this Michigan girl — they work.
To your health!