It’s that time of year again! Yes, it’s time for wool sweaters, warm coats and….dry skin! You heard me; dry skin is in this season and will not be out for another three months (or four, if you’re lucky (?) enough to live in Toronto.) That’s right, although winter brings back the cozy sweaters and weather that calls for hot chocolate and festive socks, don’t forget that dry skin is inevitable during this magical time of year. And if your skin doesn’t get dry, rough, and flaky during the winter, then you are basically the human form of a unicorn.
I, for one, have combination to oily skin on regular days that gets completely dry and flaky during the winter. This problem is very common and normal, and can get embarrassing for most people. However, have no fear because every problem has a solution! There are many things you can do to be prepared to face that mean weather every day.
Although most of us do actually moisturize, you must remember to crank up the level of moisturizer you have on your face, hands, legs, etc. BUT by no means am I saying you should empty one bottle on one part of your body every day, because…well, that’s gross. Instead, moisturize more frequently. Keep a travel sized moisturizer bottle by your office table, in your school bag, or with you wherever you go. Keep your skin in check and feel it; does it feel extra dry? Is it looking flaky and cracked? Also, make sure you slather on that moisturizer within three minutes of stepping out of your shower or bath, because it works best when the skin is damp and warm.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Don’t use skin products full of alcohol or harsh chemicals as they can upset your skin even more. Opt for something more natural and oil based, because that’s more likely to give you good protection without adding all those chemicals that can upset the balance of oil in your skin (which practically doesn’t exist in the winter). Invest in something you know will work well for your skin—talk to someone in a pharmacy for advice or ask your dermatologist.
Another way you can keep it simple is using natural ingredients! Your fridge and pantry contain many foods that banish dry skin! For example, milk is an excellent moisturizer; it contains all the right vitamins and fats that help replenish your skin’s oils and moisture. So, next time you make yourself a warm bath, pour a few cups of milk to the bathwater!
- PUCKER UP!
Protect your lips! Chapped lips are scary can turn into a more serious problem if not treated, and they are mostly caused by the lack of dehydration and dry weather. Use a lip balm or lip cream regularly to keep your lips soft and rosy, and make sure you keep applying it throughout the day.
Personally, I recommend the Vaseline lip therapy! I struggled with extremely dry lips until I found this miracle worker. But be careful, because putting on too much will make your lips look like a sticky mess, so apply a tiny amount at a time as needed. The Vaseline lip therapy is a must have this winter: it’s uni-sex (Men, PLEASE use it), super cheap, and comes in an ADORABLE tiny pot!
- DON’T NEGLECT THE FEET!
You know what goes well with dry feet and cracked heels? Horror music, that’s what. Dry feet are inevitable and you WILL experience them in the winter—unless you’re the human form of a unicorn, as previously mentioned—but, of course there’s always a cure! Simply purchase a pumice stone or a foot file and use it a couple of times per week. Moisturize your feet with lotion before bed—I recommend baby lotion; it’s not harsh and will keep your skin very soft—and wear cotton socks to keep the moisture in while you sleep.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR HANDS!
Our hands get dry in the winter very quickly and easily, because they can’t always be covered up (How else am I going to act busy while walking if I’m not playing with my phone?!) And let’s be real—who even wears gloves? Do you even know the struggle of touching your thick hair with those evil woollen things? If your hands are dry, you should first look at what soap you’re using to wash them with. A lot of times, the quality of the soap makes a difference in how your skin feels. If it’s a cheap quality and full of chemicals (hint: every public place, ever) then it’s probably going to strip your hands of their natural oils and moisture. In addition, look at your hand sanitizer! Most of the time, there’s tons of alcohol in it and that is not the best for you skin. So, look for something with vitamin E, because it’s more likely to be gentle on your sensitive hands.
Make sure your hand cream is a fast drying, non-greasy product! Aveeno has a great line of moisturizers that are very affordable, effective and very winter-appropriate. For some night therapy, apply a thick hand cream and slip some cotton gloves on to seal the moisturizer in your hands for a long time. Doing this at night is helpful since skin normally regenerates at night.
- SAY ‘NO’ TO HOT WATER!
Sure, spending ten minutes under the steaming hot shower water is the ideal way to end a long cold day, but the longer time you’re subjecting your skin to the steam and intense heat, the more moisture it’s losing and the drier it will get. Instead, you should make your showers quick and use warm water. Your skin will thank you!
- FIX THOSE (LITERAL) FLYAWAYS!
One thing I love about the winter (or, possibly the only thing) is the fact that there’s no humidity and so my thick mane cannot be a frizzy mess, so bad hair days are unlikely! Yay! However, I can’t tell you how many times I tried wearing a beanie or a fluffy sweater, only to find out my hair defied gravity and looks like I rubbed a balloon on my head. Yes, static hair is awful and becomes worse in the winter since the scalp tends to dry and hair loses a lot of oil and moisture. One of the simplest things you can do is rubbing a dryer sheet on your hair! It really works! Another important thing you must do is to keep the moisture in your hair by applying oils and conditioner—I recommend coconut oil and jojoba oil! Let it sit for a couple hours in your hair and then wash it out for smoother looking locks!
So, my dear dry-skinned friends, I hope you’ve learned a few tips on how to take care of yourself during the winter time. Experiment and see what works best for you, but most importantly—be patient! Now go out there and show the winter who’s boss! (Just kidding, stay in a onesie all day and drink hot chocolate because winter sucks.)