Winter is a harsh time of year, especially in our part of the country. The days are short, and darkness falls early—for some of us, even before we leave the office at the end of the workday. There can be icy winds that nearly knock us off our feet. There can be massive snowfalls that complicate our commutes and interfere with our plans (not to mention make us chilly and soggy!). Hypothermia, although not a realistic risk for some people, can set in under extreme weather conditions. All around us, the cold, wet, wintry conditions pose a variety of risks.
One thing we tend not to think about during wintertime is sun care. Yes, we’re far more bundled up nowadays than during beach season, but that doesn’t make the sun’s rays any less damaging. Any skin that is exposed in daylight is at risk for skin cancer, especially in snowy environments where the sun’s light is reflected, so it’s important to apply a broad-range sunscreen prior to spending time outside. Use it on any exposed skin, especially your hands, face, and neck.
And let’s not forget that indoor environments can be extremely harsh in their own way, too. Dry heat and hot baths may feel like the best. thing. ever. after spending time in frigid outdoor weather, but in fact both can be incredibly damaging to the skin, causing flaking, redness, pain, and, in some cases, even eczema. According to WebMD, it makes no difference whether your heat comes from electricity, oil, or wood-burning sources—all wreak the same havoc on the epidermis.
Since you’re unlikely to opt out of heating your home (and we don’t recommend doing so!), consider the following wintertime tweaks to your skincare regimen:
•Exfoliate. According to WebMD, sloughing off dead skin helps the new skin better absorb moisturizers.
•Hydrate. Dehydrated skin cells don’t reproduce as quickly as hydrated ones, which can leave your skin looking dull, says Women’s Health magazine. Drinking water and upping your intake of omega-3s can improve hydration.
•Look all over. Don’t just stop at your hands and face, which are the parts most commonly exposed to outdoor air. Dry skin can occur on the scalp, on feet, on the arms and legs, all over . . . and it all deserves some TLC.
Check out this video from Dr. Oz for more crucial tips for keeping skin healthy all winter long.