It may be winter, but imagine it’s early May and you’re sliding on that glorious pair of shorts that have been tucked away in the back of your closet all winter. You’re getting excited about the warm weather ahead, ready to feel the sunshine and get started on your favorite spring activity—then you look at your legs. You see scaly, cracked skin that you’ve been neglecting all winter under your cold weather clothes.
Taking care of our skin isn’t something we tend to think much about in the winter months. The dry and harsh upstate New York climate can be unforgiving to our skin, and it’s easy to forget about it when we’re bundled up to keep warm. Neglecting our skin is not only a cosmetic problem, but it can be detrimental to our overall health by making our bodies susceptible to germs and pathogens that might slip through the cracks.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, after all, so it’s important that we take care of it before it becomes a problem. Use these five tips to help keep your skin healthy this winter.
1. Drink water
Drinking water is not only beneficial for overall health, but it can help you achieve healthy and hydrated skin. Drinking the recommended daily intake of water (eight glasses per day) helps wash toxins from the body, including the skin. While it’s not an overnight solution, drinking water can make a world difference after a couple of weeks.
2. Shorten your showers
Long hot showers can be hard to resist when cold weather strikes—but prolonged exposure to hot water can actually dry out your skin. Try to shorten your time in the shower or tub and limit bathing to once a day if possible.
Maximize hydration by using thick moisturizers and creams in lieu of perfume-y lotions. It’s best to apply moisturizer within three minutes of getting out of the shower (especially if you didn’t utilize tip number two). This will help you lock in water in addition to protecting your skin. Don’t forget the SPF—even though it’s cold out there, sunburn is still a possibility.
4. Use a humidifier
Just because the air outside is dry and biting, doesn’t mean the air inside your home has to be. Using a humidifier in the areas of your home where you spend the most time can improve the air quality and the overall health of your skin.
5. See your Doctor
For more tips and help for preventing and improving your winter skin woes, see your primary care physician or dermatologist. Don’t have a primary care physician? Find one here.