Cold winter temperatures can play havoc on skin health. The Mayo Clinic says, the two biggest factors affecting skin health during the winter include colder temperatures and a lack of moisture in the air.
Dr. James F. Balch , author of Prescriptions for Natural Healing, says in order to maintain healthy skin and prevent dryness during winter, a balance of oil and moisture is crucial.
Dr. Balch explains that oil is secreted by the sebaceous glands and works to lubricate the surface of the skin, while moisture is the water present within the skin cells and reaches the cells via the bloodstream. So it is the water within the skin cells plumped up and healthy.
Unprotected skin is vulnerable. But by following some simple skin care, healthy skin can still be yours even during the toughest winter weather. Since the skin is the largest organ in the body, it’s important to wear protective garments like hats, gloves, and scarfs to keep the skin protected against the elements.
Keep your hands moisturized and avoid dry, cracked areas by using formulas rich in Vitamin E and Aloe Vera. You can apply the lotion at bedtime and also wear plastic gloves while you sleep, if your hands are very dry.
Cleanse the skin with a hydrating cleanser that is free of preservatives or other harsh chemicals. You may have to research alternatives, but it will be worth the effort. Cleansing creams should be avoided since they are made from hydrogenated oils that result in dryness and wrinkling.
Skin that is exposed to low temperatures, is at risk for dryness, so to keep the skin hydrated, drink at least eight glasses of pure water, and use moisturizer.
Many people think sunscreen should be used during the summer months, but your skin needs protection all year round. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen at least 30 minutes before venturing outdoors.
Daily unprotected sun exposure can cause dryness, wrinkles, and skin cancer and it’s important to note the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 PM.
Since the hair is an extension of the skin, it’s important not to neglect it. Dry winter weather can cause flaking of the scalp, and the best way to control this condition is to cleanse the hair with a gentle shampoo and follow-up with conditioner to boost hydration. Avoid shampoos that contain sulfate and can strip the hair of its natural oils.
Dr. James F. Balch, author of Prescriptions For Nutritional Healing says, the process of selecting skin care products can cause some confusion with all the options on the market. He suggests exploring products containing natural ingredients.
- Aloe Vera- rich in nutrients and tends to soften the skin
- Glycerine- a byproduct of soap that tend to hold in moisture
- Alpha-hydroxy acids- these are natural fruit extracts that act to help shed dead skin cells and form fresh cells.
By using products that contain humecants, or substances that draw water to the skin and hold in moisture, you will the be able to prevent dryness during the winter season. Vegetable glycerine, Vitamin E, and panthenol, a form of Vitamin B5, are all natural humecants.