Five Ways to Protect Your Skin during Cold Weather
Cold weather is tough on the skin. Cold temperatures and low humidity levels result in dry air that draws moisture away from the skin. Harsh winter winds and dry indoor heat can make the problem worse and lead to cracked and even bleeding skin. Skin situations such as eczema or psoriasis may also flare up during these cold, dry months.
While additional moisture helps, you can do more to treat your skin. Here are some tips to help decrease chapping and redness.
The same old moisturizer you use the rest of the year may not cut it during cold and dry months. If you’re prone to breakouts, you want to stay away from petroleum or oil-based formulas. Look for one that contains lipids instead. Alternatively, if your skin is severely dry, you might try adding an emollient moisturizer that seals in moisture, followed by another moisturizer on top.
While a hot bath or shower can feel great in the winter, it can strip your skin of essential oils. When possible, use warm or lukewarm water instead, including when you wash your face or hands.
Sunscreen isn’t just for hot summer months. Winter sun, combined with glare from the snow, can badly damage your skin. Apply sunscreen to your face and hands (if they’re exposed) about 30 minutes before you go outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time.
Many people think a tanning bed can provide the vitamin D they’re lacking during dark, short, cold days, but in fact, the damage a tanning bed can do to your skin far outweighs any temporary boost. Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation reason cell damage that can lead to skin cancer.
Know your skin-
Whether you’re a sun worshipper or vigilant about sun safety, it’s essential to examine your skin regularly and take note of any new moles or growths, and any changes in existing growths. Lesions that change, itch, bleed, or don’t heal are also alarm signals. Even if you’ve carefully practiced sun safety all summer, it’s essential to continue being vigilant about your skin in fall, winter, and spring. Self-exams can help you identify potential skin cancers early.