A few timely tips can help you care for your skin better during winters, says MINNAL KHONA
It’s getting colder, with winter having arrived in full swing and cold biting winds, plus dipping temperatures can play havoc with your skin. Skin reacts immediately to changes in weather conditions, and needs maximum protection in extreme temperatures. In winter especially, if not looked after well, skin can get dry and flaky, even itchy. That’s because there is low humidity in the air and the moisture from our skin gets dried out; in fact, it can even wrinkle prematurely, if not properly moisturised.
So what do you need to do to make sure your skin is kept healthy during winter? Most people know what needs doing, but few follow through with this. However, if you do follow these simple tips, you can protect your skin from the harsh effects of the winter season.
Don’t clean your skin
Now don’t take this the wrong way, but a lot of people have a cleansing, toning and moisturising routine. You can skip that routine at night as cleansers strip the skin of its natural moisture, and toners can be alcohol-based which further dry the skin. Splash your face with lukewarm water if you feel the need to clean it.
Moisturise, come what may
No matter how busy you are, you must moisturise your skin every day. Cream based ones work better in winter, for all types of skins. For sensitive skin types though, a hypoallergenic one works well as these are usually fragrance free.
Prevent lips from chapping
An inevitable fall out of winter winds is dry, chapped lips. So always keep a chapstick or lip balm handy and rub some on your lips the moment you feel them starting to go dry. If you leave too long between applications, the skin can crack and bleed.
The winter sun may not be very harsh, and sitting in the park in a sunny spot feels great in winter. But that doesn’t mean the sun is not harming your skin, just because it seems far away from your part of the world. It still has UV rays that can harm, so even in winter, please do use sunscreen. You can reduce the sun protection factor to 15+ if need be, but don’t step out without it.
Sydney and Melbourne can get very windy and if you work in the city, you often have to walk through wind tunnels, those strong gusts of air that blow between tall buildings. So make sure you have lip balm on and your head covered, as the extreme cold can make hair very dry too.
A really hot bath can be a divine respite on a freezing day, especially if you work outdoors a lot. But that is one temptation you have to avoid for the sake of your skin. Use hot water by all means, only don’t make it really, really hot. It might warm your skin, but nothing strips the skin of moisture the way very hot water does. So ensure the water is hot enough for you to feel comfortable, without your skin drying out.
Also, avoid getting into the warmth of indoors and running out into the freezing cold too often. If you are going skiing and if your skin changes colour in the extremities and is painful, see a doctor. You could be suffering from frostbite.
A lot of people are not exposed to enough sunlight, so a vitamin D supplement helps to keep immunity levels up. Our body produces some amounts of it naturally, but that is usually more so during summer. So avoid the winter colds and flus by drinking warm water and taking Vitamin D supplements.
If, despite all these precautions, you still have scratchy skin, please consult a doctor. And moisturise your hands and feet every night before you go to bed. Your skin will thank you for it.