The cold months are upon us and it will take a toll on our skin. Heat flows from warm to cold objects and as the temperature drops we loose heat from the body. Cold skin is poorly functioning and is characterized by itching, dryness and sub-acute inflammation resulting from a greater loss of water. Here are some tips to protect your skin from winter damage:
1. Use sun protection of at least SPF 30. Winter sunlight still has UVA and UVB energy, and the skin is vulnerable to damage especially during prolonged outdoor winter sport activities.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Cool air looses its ability to hold water and transepidermal water loss increases resulting in dry skin. Look for moisturizers with shea butter, jojoba oils, silk, and glycerin.
3. Drink lots of water. Try to drink 2 to 4 ounces of water every couple of hours throughout the day.
4. Diet is essential! Eat a diet rich in essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Fats are metabolized in the body to generate heat. Eat good sources of EFA’s including salmon, avocado and nuts.
5. Free radicals thrive in dry, cold skin. Make sure your sunscreens and daily skin care products contain antioxidants including vitamin C and E to fight off free radicals.
6. Dress appropriately during winter months. Dress in layers and wear a hat to retain body heat. Heat is lost from the body by conduction, convection and radiation.
7. Avoid long hot showers. Prolonged exposure to hot water and aggressive soaps can impact the skin barrier. Keep showers short and water temperature not too hot.
8. Protect your lips. Lips loose water very quickly, therefore apply a balm with an SPF that is also rich in emollients.
9. Watch the humidity in your house and workplace. If it falls below 60 percent, your skin will loose more moisture. The body is 70% water and water will always go from a higher level to a lower level.
10. Watch the wind chill factor, frigid air will carry heat away from the skin quickly, which can cause severe damage. Cover your face during extremely cold and windy winter days.