Four ways to save your skin, and look sharp for spring.
THE CAUSES, EFFECTS AND FIXES FOR WINTER WOES
Dry, Itchy Skin
Winter winds aren’t just cold—they’re dry, too. And they’ll rob your skin of its natural moisture—if you let it. Nothing hydrates better than your skin’s own oils. Start showering at night with a gentle cleanser (not drying soap), so your body has time to build up its natural barrier to dry air overnight. Using a slightly cooler water temperature will keep your skin from drying out as well. After your shower, use a rich moisturizer from head to toe. A thicker texture will hydrate better. Keep it with you and reapply as needed during the day.
Raw, Chapped Lips
When dry air hits areas with the most moisture—your lips—it not only dries them out, it can cause them to chap. The key is to breathe out of your nose as much as possible, so keep it clear by taking antihistamines to prevent allergic reactions, remove blockage by using saline spray and blowing your nose frequently, and keep your airways moist by using a humidifier at night. Of course, lip balm can help heal chapped lips during the day, but be sure to apply it at night to counteract the day’s dryness, too.
Flaky, Unsightly Dandruff
All the skin on your body is susceptible to drying—even skin that’s protected by hair. Dandruff, while sometimes caused by a common fungus, is made worse by dry air. Since your oil glands are less active in the winter, wash your hair less frequently—just once or twice a week—to preserve its natural oils, and use a dandruff shampoo every other week to keep fungus at bay. Always finish by working a conditioner into your hair for at least three minutes to give it a healthy shine and added protection. Whenever possible, avoid hair gels or other products that can flake and resemble dandruff.
Tough, Cracked Hands
The more your skin is exposed to the elements, the more abuse it takes. Keep a thick moisturizer in your bag to reapply it to your hands throughout the day, but also wear gloves while outdoors, even if your hands aren’t very cold. It will help protect them from arid winds that will leave them tight and ashy. If your skin does start to crack, apply an antiseptic (and bandage if necessary), especially at night when your body has the most time to heal.