Regardless of what season it is, skin seems to bear the brunt of weather's wrath. Whether it's the sun beating down in the dog days of summer or the wind whipping around and causing skin to crack when the weather starts to turn cold, skin is never fully safe from the elements.
Each season poses its own unique challenges to skin, and this year figures to be no different. With fall and winter on the horizon, it's important for men and women to practice proper skin care in an effort to protect themselves from dry skin, which can be irritating and unsightly. Though an extra layer of clothing might hide dry, flakey skin from view, it won't do much to relieve the irritation and damage that result from severely dry skin.
This season, consider the following tips to help the skin survive the woes of winter:
* Take quick, temperate showers. It might feel good to get in from the cold and take a hot bath or shower, but this actually breaks down lipid barriers in the skin, potentially robbing the skin of moisture. In lieu of a long, steamy bath or shower, take a quick shower in warm water.
* Moisturize every day. Moisturizers like O'Keeffe's Working Hands and O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet are designed to relieve dry skin irritation, particularly on those areas of the body that are troublesome during the winter months. Look for creams that contain water and glycerin that will help to draw moisture into the skin and stimulate the body's natural repair process. Moisturizers that are non-greasy, non-oil based and fragrance free tend to work the best to repair dry skin. Oil-based creams will actually repel water that would otherwise hydrate the skin causing further damage.
Men and women should also make moisturizing a part of their nightly routine before going to bed. Skin temperatures rise during sleep, resulting in increased circulation and healing, so be sure to moisturize each night before going to bed.
* Continue to protect skin from the sun. The sun is just as strong in winter as it is during the summer, and winter sun can do significant damage to unprotected skin, especially when winter sun combines with snow glare. Use a moisturizer with SPF throughout the winter, and apply it to both hands and face roughly 30 minutes before going outside.
* Wear a winter wardrobe. Protective clothing like gloves, scarves and thick socks not only keep us warm through the winter, they also keep skin safe as well. Strong winter winds and below freezing temperatures can damage the skin significantly, so bundle up when going outdoors. And be sure to avoid wet socks and gloves, which can irritate the skin and cause itching and cracking, and might even result in the formation of sores.
* Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is another skin care pointer people primarily, and incorrectly, associate with summer. But staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as it is during the summer. Staying hydrated is important for overall health. Men and women who enjoy caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda should know that caffeine is a diuretic that draws water out of the skin. So be sure to counter caffeine consumption by drinking plenty of water.