Your face bares the brunt of harsh winter conditions so it often gets extra special treatment, but it's not the only exposed area of skin that needs extra care. Your hands and your neck are often exposed to the drying winter temperatures and need to be protected from chafing, cracking and drying out. Even the skin that is warmly wrapped can suffer due to the drying effects of central heating.
Skin care during winter can be a challenge for some people, especially if your skin has a natural tendency to dryness. Skin can become sore and itchy and some people experience patches of eczema as a direct result of winter weather.
The good news is that simple, common sense steps can help reduce the harsh effects of winter on your skin. Here's how to top up your moisture levels:
Though the cold mornings mean that it's tempting to take long, hot showers or baths, bathing in hot water strips skin of its natural acid mantel. Without this, your skin is prone to dryness.
Avoid soap-based products for both your face and body, though you should be avoiding these in summer as well. Switch refreshing summer shower gels for richer, more moisturising shower creams for your body and richer cream cleansers for your face for dry skin types.
Moisturisers help protect your skin against the harsh winter elements. Applying a good quality, rich moisturiser after a bath or shower will help to seal in moisture and the body's natural oils. Even skin that's not exposed during the winter can dry out, especially in centrally heated homes. Apply moisturiser to your entire body, but you should pay extra attention to the areas that will be more exposed, perhaps with a second application in the evening.
Moisturiser is an effective barrier against cold temperatures and dry air that can trigger eczema. This is because dry skin can be itchy and become overly sensitive, resulting in fragile skin and possible eczema and dermatitis. The prevention of excessive loss of moisture is important to avoid further complications of dry skin. If you develop dry and itchy skin or eczema, don't let the condition get worse. Take action and start using a good quality skin care range suitable for sensitive skin.
Carry around hand cream and apply after washing. Gloves can also prevent cracked and split cuticles and fingernails.
For your face, apply an alcohol-free toner to prevent loss of moisture from your skin. This is often neglected by many, yet it is a very important step for dry skin. The astringent effect of toners help to close the opened pores to actively prevent loss of moisture.
Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin when you're outdoors, even in winter. You should also protect your lips by using lip balms and ensure you are drinking enough water, even if you don't feel thirsty. Too many people only drink enough fluids when it's hot or when the thirst mechanism kicks in, but waiting to feel thirsty before drinking dehydrates your body, and skin. Your body's minimum requirement of 1.5l doesn't change just because the weather cools down.