Cold winter air holds less moisture so it’s the driest time of year as far as your skin is concerned. Couple that naturally dry air with wind and indoor heating, which literally bakes moisture from the skin, and the result is often dry, irritated skin, cracked lips and blotchy red patches.
For years I have encouraged the following four winter skincare tips:
- Exfoliate regularly;
- Change to a thicker moisturizer;
- Use a humidifier when you sleep; and
- Refrain from overly hot showers and baths.
This year, I want to give you four additional tips to help improve your skin this winter.
- Eat more seafood. Cold water fish, such as salmon and black cod, are naturally oily and that makes them excellent sources of essential fatty acids (EFA’s). EFA’s help keep your skin hydrated from the inside while also protecting it from the damaging winter environment. If you don’t enjoy seafood, you can get similar benefits by incorporating flaxseed oil into your diet.
- Get to bed earlier. Darkness is your brain’s cue to produce more melatonin to make you tired and ready to sleep. With the onset of shorter days and longer nights, take a cue from nature and get to bed earlier. When you sleep, your skin and your body repair and regenerate. Inefficient sleep has been linked to everything from wrinkles to heart disease.
- Eat your water. If you have dry skin, your cells could likely use hydrating. The best way to keep skin hydrated from the inside out is to eat your water. Increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables during the winter months and you will not only be increasing your water intake (remember a cucumber is 95% water), you will also be providing your skin with the vital nutrients it needs to fight off winter weather damage.
- Carry an extra pair of gloves and socks with you. If you live in an area where it snows or rains often, you know that water can sneak into your boots and dampen your socks. Damp socks can irritate already winter-worn heels and feet. If your socks get damp, dry off your feet, apply moisturizer and put on a fresh pair of socks. The same goes for your hands. If they get wet, dry them, moisturize and put on fresh dry gloves. Keeping your hands and feet dry and moisturized will help keep your skin feeling and looking great.
And finally, don’t forget your sunscreen! Harmful UV rays are still present despite the colder temperature and onset of rain and snow. Make sure to use an SPF 15 or higher on all exposed skin.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world-renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement.