How to keep skin moisturized in the winter
Winter weather really does a number on your skin. Use these tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing, no matter what Old Man Winter throws your way.
Believe it or not, hanging out indoors can be just as damaging to your skin as spending time out in the elements. The artificial heat we use to stay comfy and cozy in the winter dries out the air, sapping up any moisture your skin has managed to hang onto. Use a humidifier whenever possible to restore some moisture to the air -- and your skin.
Protect your hands
You use your hands all day long, so painful cracked skin on your hands can be a real issue. Protect them from the winter elements by wearing gloves every time you go outside, and by applying a thick lotion several times a day.
Washing your hands frequently is key to keeping winter germs at bay, but it wreaks havoc on your skin's moisture level. Wash your hands with cool or lukewarm water and use a mild soap. Pat your hands dry and then use a moisturizer right away to restore any moisture lost. If you wash your hands a lot throughout the day, consider replacing some of those washings with a hand sanitizer. The alcohols in sanitizers do dry out skin, but often not to the extreme that soap and water can.
Head to toe softness
Just like you have to take care when washing your hands, do the same for the skin on the rest of your body when you shower. Those long, luxurious showers do feel great when it's cold outside, but they'll leave you dry and itchy. Swap those for quick showers and keep the water as cool as you can stand. Use a mild or soap-free cleanser with added moisturizers, and then pat dry -- don't rub. Moisturize within three to five minutes of drying off, preferably while your skin is still damp to take advantage of that moisture.
Take care of the skin on your face so you can face the world this winter. Wash your face before you go to bed with a mild cleanser, but skip your morning suds. You don't need any more soap when all you've done is sleep -- just splash with water to refresh your face. The same goes for the rest of the day. Use water and a soft washcloth to wash away or refresh your face, saving soap for when you really need it. Moisturize your face twice a day, and add a bit of extra moisture by switching your facial moisturizer. During the winter months, use a nighttime formula all day long, since those are typically oil-based and much thicker.
Heal your heels
Winter footwear doesn't showcase your feet, so women tend to forget about pedicures and end up letting their feet slide during the colder months. Unfortunately, this can lead to dry, cracked heels and feet that are painful and downright gross. Don't forget about your feet when you moisturize each day, but you'll probably need to take en extra step to heal what winter has done to your tootsies. Before you go to bed, slather your feet with petroleum jelly, and then wrap your feet in plastic wrap. Cover them with socks and leave them covered until morning. Do this at least once a week to keep your feet spring-ready all winter long!
Drink plenty of water during the winter months to hydrate your skin from the inside out.