Winter Skin Care Survival


With record-setting low temperatures across the country, are you making special efforts to take care of your skin this winter?

Skin suffers more than you think this time of year, due to the dramatic fluctuations of temperature and humidity. As you go about your day coming in and going out, you are exposing the delicate skin of your face to harsh conditions. From warm, dry air to cold, windy and sometimes snowy conditions, your skin silently suffers from extreme environmental changes.

Indoor heating is drying. Add dry, cold wind to the formula and dehydration, chapped skin and wrinkles occur. Extreme temperature can break the capillaries under your skin, creating visible patches of fine red veins on your complexion. Snow reflects light rapidly and leads to sunburn and spots. With all these winter skin hazards, you need a specific winter care survival routine to keep your complexion looking its best.

Not all skin is alike. You need different care, according to skin type, to keep your skin healthy, hydrated and wrinkle-free. The following are skin care suggestions for different skin types.

Sensitive skin
The majority of women today suffer from sensitive skin. Sudden temperature changes and harsh chemicals are sensitive skin’s worst enemy. Telltale signs include red blotches, itching and in extreme situations, rosacea.

Keep sensitive skin safe in the winter by avoiding dramatic temperature changes and heavy-duty skin treatments. Wash with light, chemical and dye-free facial washes. Always follow with a special moisturizer for sensitive skin. Specialty moisturizers act as a block against harsh conditions like wind and cold weather, without irritating your skin. Use sensitive skin creams before going outside and when you notice tight or dry skin.

Dry skin
If you have dry skin, the symptoms are similar to sensitive skin. You will notice flaking, cracking and in more severe cases, eczema.

Choose a moisturizer for winter that is heavier than the water-based, summer cream you normally use. An ointment based cream is ideal. Many night creams on the market are the perfect solution. A richer, oil-based moisturizer will replace moisture and seal skin from extreme weather.

Combination skin
As with all skin types, change your skin care routine during the winter. Winter is the time to switch to a gentler cleanser and skip the toner. An antioxidant-rich moisturizer containing shea butter is a great option. Apply lightly to the normally oilier “t” sections of the face and use the lotion more liberally on the cheeks and other dry spots.

Oily skin
Oily skin suffers from winter elements as other skin types. Gentle face washes and regular moisturizing is key to survival. Use a designated moisturizer for oily skin that is oil-free and noncomedogenic to keep your pores from clogging.

Regardless of skin type, include these five tips in your winter skin care survival regime:

1. Always use sunscreen
Sunscreen is vital to good skin, year-round. Harmful UV rays are still present during the winter. The UV rays often reflect and bounce off snow and clouds, creating sunburn conditions.

2. Alternate moisturizers according to season
Use a lighter, water-based moisturizer in the summer. Use a richer moisturizer for the drier winter months to not only hydrate, but protect your skin from the harsh elements.

3. Reduce exfoliation during winter
The tougher exterior layer of skin protects you against the harsh elements. Over-exfoliating exposes fresh, vulnerable skin to damage.

4. Care for your extremities
Don’t just focus on your face! Your hands and neck are also sensitive to the elements. Moisturize and cover up with gloves and a scarf before going outside.

5. Treat your skin to ideal conditions when home
Give your skin a regular break. Run a humidifier while you sleep. Help your skin by simply holding your face over warm, rising steam from a sink or bath. The steam soothes, open the pores and replenishes moisture.

With some planning, you can prevent premature aging of your skin year-round. Taking special care of your skin in winter does not require a lot of work and keeps your complexion fresh and gorgeous.

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