Winterize to keep this chap at bay

Posted on January 4th, 2010 by Michelle

In a good portion of the country, the storm windows are in, the snow tires are on (or at least the chains are in the trunk), and the mittens, scarves and hats have been out since November.  That’s all well and good, but what about winterizing your skin?

Few, if any of us, get to settle in for a long winter’s nap, hide from Mother Nature or dodge Father Time, so it’s just as important that we prep ourselves for winter the same way we do our houses and cars. We need to keep the cold and drafts out. We need to keep the moisture in, up the oil usage and keep the heat at slightly below cozy.

Shortcut those showers has several videos and slideshows about taking care of your skin during the cold months, and at the top of every list is limiting the hot showers. Isn’t that like sticking your head in a bucket of ice water?  The last thing we want to do on a cold morning is cut short a hot shower, but the higher the heat and the longer the shower, the more the healing oils are stripped from your skin.

Lather it on

Another thing to consider is adding fat and oils to your skin’s winter diet. Just like you pull out the heavier clothes for the season, pull out the thicker moisturizers too. And soaps with more oils. You want humectants (urea, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, propylene glycol), that pull water from the air; and emollients (baby, mineral, jojoba oils; petroleum jelly, lanolin), that add oil to the skin. Products that contain retinoids might make already sensitive skin even drier.

Protect the extremities

Finally, go for overdraft protection. Northern exposures take a toll on hands and lips, especially ]”throughout the cold months.  Both tend to chapping and cracking without the proper TLC. Keep them moisturized during the day (we like Burt’s Bees products and Aveda’s Hand Relief). Before bed, slather on a layer of petroleum jelly to lips, hands and feet as well to do some uninterrupted healing through the night. Slip a big warm pair of socks over your hands and feet to allow the heat and moisture to penetrate those areas better.  Although we might tell you to put a sock in it, we don’t recommend pulling a stocking over your lips unless you are trying to hydrate while robbing a bank.

Here’s a really good slideshow from WebMD that covers all the winter skin hazards.

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