Dry, cold air. Wind. Snow. Cold temperatures. Hot water. Radiating heat.
All of these factors and more are typical during the winter season, but they’re also all horrible for your skin.
Most of us have to deal with a little dryness around this time of year, but some of us have even more serious winter emergencies. Maybe you’re cheeks have turned permanently red, your psoriasis is flaring up, or your lips look like they’ve been rubbed with sand paper.
You don’t have to suffer through these and other skin ailments through the next three or more months. Instead, check out our skin savers below, and help your skin recover now!
1. Eczema and Dermatitis
The word “eczema” describes a group of skin conditions that share similar symptoms, including swelling, irritation, and itchiness, and sometimes redness, burning, blisters, dryness, scaling, and oozing lesions. All these conditions have one thing in common-inflammation of the skin. And another word for skin inflammation is dermatitis.
Winter weather can be especially tough on people with eczema. All that cold, dry air aggravates symptoms, and can cause more frequent flare-ups. Some of the warmer clothes you wear may also aggravate eczemic itch.
Take these steps to help your skin recover and bounce back:
- Use lukewarm instead of hot water to wash. Warm water feels great in the winter, but it saps the moisture right out of your skin. Use lukewarm as often as you can.
- Avoid your triggers. Many times eczema is triggered by allergens, so make sure you know your triggers so you can avoid them. Remember that you may be allergic to some clothing materials, too.
- Take healing baths. Baking soda and oatmeal both help soothe itch.
- Moisturize! When you emerge from that healing bath, try our CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion to seal in moisture and create a lasting radiant glow. The unique Tri-Rescue Complex provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to calm and soothe skin.
- Get your humidifier on. Moisturizing the air in your home-especially in your bedroom-can help your skin recover and make flare-ups less likely.
- Get more omega-3 fatty acids. Consider taking a fish oil supplement-some studies have found that they can help build up the fatty acids in your skin and make flare-ups less likely.
2. Rosacea and Red Cheeks
Rosacea is a common skin disease affecting about 13 million Americans-one out of every 20 individuals. Redness, swelling, bumps, pimples, and even skin thickening are all symptoms of the condition, which most often occurs on the face, but can also affect the scalp, neck, ears, chest, back, and even the eyes, where it can cause grittiness, tearing, and burning.
Cold weather is a rosacea trigger for many people. The harsh winds and cold air exacerbates dryness, and can make redness much worse.
Here’s what you can do:
- Protect your skin. That means gloves, scarves, hats, and other pieces of soft, warm clothing to help keep your skin from being harassed by the weather.
- Get some stress relief. Wintertime is often stressful, particularly around the holidays. Try to incorporate regular stress-relief into your daily schedule so you’re not overextended.
- Take cool-off breaks. If you’re cooking or baking, take regular “cool-off” breaks to get away from the hot oven heat.
- Cut back on hot drinks. Hot drinks and alcoholic drinks can cause flushing. Keep your drinks lukewarm, or add an ice cube to the hot ones to bring down the temperature.
- Spritz on the cooling effects. CV Skinlabs’ Rescue + Relief Spray helps calm, soothe and reduce redness. A multitasking formula, it brings instant, cooling relief to itching, burning, irritated, and inflamed skin.
3. Psoriasis Flare-Ups
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that causes red, dry patches of thickened skin on areas like the elbows, knees, and scalp, though it can affect any part of the body. These patches are the result of new skin cells being produced too quickly. Since they out-pace the body’s ability to slough them off, they pile up on the surface of skin, creating lesions.
Cold, dry air and harsh conditions worsen psoriasis symptoms, and so does a lack of sun exposure. With the shorter days and colder temps, most of us don’t get outside as much as we do at other times of year. When we do, we’re usually bundled up head-to-toe, which prevents the UV rays from getting through. Yet studies have shown that sun exposure, within reason, can actually help ease psoriasis symptoms.
Try these tips to help your skin deal:
- Try phototherapy. You can ask your doctor about it, to be sure it’s a good idea for your condition, but if you get his or her “okay,” try a home UVB unit. There are a lot of these out there, and it may be a good investment for you over the winter season.
- Avoid your triggers. Alcohol and some foods can cause psoriasis flare-ups. We tend to eat and drink more over the holidays, so be careful.
- Dress in natural fabrics. Wool is a warming fabric, but it can make irritated skin feel worse. Use clothing that feels warm but comfortable.
- Soothe the dry patches. CV Skinlabs’ Restorative Skin Balm has carnauba and bee’s wax to safeguard the moisture barrier; perfect for hydrating and soothing extra dry patches of skin.
- Relax! Studies have shown that stress can trigger a flare-up, so find ways to relax over the winter months. Usually doing something mildly active is your best choice (rather than just sitting home watching TV, which can actually increase stress). Choose yoga, meditation, walking, art therapy, pet therapy, or other similar pursuits that help you get your mind off your troubles.
- Eat more fish. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish, flaxseed, and nuts may help reduce flare-ups.
- Use a humidifier. Moistening the air, especially in your bedroom overnight, helps ease skin stress and reduce dryness.
4. Chapped Lips
Our poor lips. They sure suffer during the winter. We apply lip balm and apply lip balm and still they dry and flake and hurt.
Lips don’t have the oil glands that the rest of the skin has, so they are even more vulnerable to dryness, and a good blast of wind will suck the moisture right out of them. Licking your lips will also make it worse.
Try these tips to keep kissable lips all winter long:
- Resist! It may be hard to resist licking your lips, but it makes dryness and flaking worse. Resist!
- You have to get all that dry skin off before any moisturizer will work, so it’s time to step up your exfoliation. Use a gentle scrub that’s not too abrasive. Don’t use it too often, though, as that can make the dryness worse. Go for 1-2 times a week, then watch your lips to see how they react.
- Drink water. We tend to be less thirsty in the winter, but we still need water just as much-often more-than we do the rest of the year. Take a water bottle with you and get used to sipping regularly.
- Wear scarves. They help protect your mouth from cold, winter weather.
- Most lip balms contain petrolatum, which can lead to more dryness over the long-term. Try CV Skinlabs’ Restorative Skin Balm, which instantly softens severely dry, rough and chapped skin.
5. Dull, Dry Skin
There’s nothing like getting ready to go to a holiday or New Year’s party and looking in the mirror to find dull, dry skin.
Winter brings together a number of factors to create this uncomfortable condition. First, there’s the cold, dry air that saps the moisture from skin. Then there is the dry air inside that continues the degradation. The body tends to slow down in winter, too, which means that cell turnover is a little slower than it is during the warmer months.
Fortunately, this is probably one of the easiest skin emergencies to treat:
- Exfoliate. This is a critical step anytime, but most skin types benefit from stepping it up during the colder months. If you have sensitive skin, avoid harsh scrubs and go for exfoliating products that use fruit acids to get rid of that layer of dead skin cells. Watch your skin to see how it reacts, and if you’re still seeing dullness, exfoliate a little more. Watch for redness, irritation, and tenderness-those are signs that you’re doing too much.
- Mist! Toning is important in winter, after washing but throughout the day as well. You need a product you can mist over skin to help it stay hydrated even when you’re working all day in a dry office cubicle. CV Skinlabs’ Rescue + Relief Spray is perfect for the job.
- Moisturize. It’s critical that you moisturize immediately after toning so your skin doesn’t dry out. CV Skinlabs’ Calming Moisture for Face, Neck & Scalp super hydrates dry skin with soluble oat fiber to soothe dry skin and help restore smoothness and radiance.
- Brighten. If your skin is seriously suffering and exfoliating is helping, but not enough, try a brightening mask. These help brighten your complexion and make it more radiant. You can choose a safe product, or make your own mask with ingredients like yogurt, honey, baking soda, lemon juice, citrus peel, papaya, pumpkin, milk, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Use a gentler cleanser. That acne-fighting cleanser you used over the summer is likely too drying for the winter months. Switch to a creamy, moisturizing cleanser that leaves your skin feeling soft, not tight.
Do you have other tips for rescuing winter skin?