Winter is officially here! While in India this means a welcome break from the otherwise humid and hot climate, unfortunately, your skin is in for a bit of a rough ride with the drop in mercury levels. Dry, flaky, and irritated skin owing to the low temperatures and humidity levels is common. If not taken good care of, it can potentially turn cracked and inflamed. The skin is our body’s protective layer with its share of important functions like maintaining the body’s temperature and shielding against various pollutants, allergens and irritants. It is imperative for us to make sure that the skin cells and tissues are well maintained, thus making winter skin care sacred.
The most important way by which this can be achieved is by tweaking your skincare routine to accommodate elements that are stripped off your skin by the dry, wintery air and thereby aiming to get that perfect balance between water, fat, and protein back into your skin.
Common Winter Season Skin Problems
- Dry Skin – This is probably the most common skin problem encountered during winter season. The cold and dry air, with extremely low humidity levels, tends to dry up the skin’s natural moisture and oils leading to skin that feels tight, flaky, and rough; that sometimes can crack too. The best way to deal with this is to add moisture back into your skin using moisturizers that contain the right ingredients suitable for the extreme weather condition being experienced by the skin.
- Skin Rashes – If you are someone with sensitive skin, be prepared for it to break into winter skin rashes more often during the colder months, especially around the cheek area. To avoid this, make it a point to choose skin care products that are free of any color and fragrance.
- Eczema (Dermatitis) – Eczema flare-ups are common in winter because the skin fails to stay moist on its own. Another reason for the flare-up could be multiple layers of clothes on the skin as well as long and hot baths. Try and not stress about it as this worsens the condition, while simultaneously treating it with some OTC ointments.
- Folliculitis – This condition is an inflammation of the hair follicles and a rise in afflicted cases is observed during winter season. The dry winter skin can irritate the hair follicles and lead to the formation of small bumps that can be sore and itchy. This is further worsened with overly tight clothes that also trap a lot of heat. Therefore, by avoiding tight and heat-trapping clothes in addition to OTC antibiotic creams, folliculitis can be brought under control.
- Rosacea – Often misdiagnosed as acne, the symptoms of rosacea include rashes, redness, and red bumps that are filled with pus. A kind of bacterial infection, rosacea is frequent during winter when a drastic drop in temperature is observed causing an irritation on the skin. This can be kept in check by appropriate facial moisturization and the use of OTC metronidazole creams. In severe cases, a visit to the dermatologist is advised.
- Rough And Bumpy Skin – Apart from winter skin rashes, bumps on the skin can be attributed to woollen knits that are worn to shield the body from the cold weather. Not all knits are smooth and non-itchy; therefore, it is important to make sure these clothes are not in direct contact with the skin by wearing them over a cotton or silk shirt/t-shirt. Thereby, avoiding further irritation that leads to rough and bumpy skin.
- Acne Flare-Ups – Usually associated with greasy summer days, acne flare-ups in winter are more common than you think. The cold, dry air strips the skin of its natural oils, which are essentially barriers that retain moisture while keeping other irritants and germs at bay. With the removal of this barrier, it gets easier for the acne-causing bacteria to attack the skin. The best way to avoid this is to keep the skin sufficiently moisturized without overdoing it and going easy with the harsh soapy cleansers.
Also Read: Best Skin Care Routine Acne Prone Skin
- Cracked Fingers And Toes – It is easy to focus on the skin on your face and ignore your hands and feet, which is so wrong. The harsh cold weather doesn’t spare the delicate skin on your fingers and toes, which tends to dry up and peel. To avoid this, you can pamper them by soaking in lukewarm water for 10 mins and generously slathering moisturizer before going to bed. Make sure you use moisturizing creams specially meant for your hands and feet, which are usually thicker in consistency.
- Sun Damage – Everybody likes basking in the warm winter sun, but doing so without using sunscreen will damage your skin without a doubt. Especially in high altitude areas, the air is thinner which makes the sunrays harsher. Sunlight also reflects off the snow causing a much severe exposure.
- Oily Skin – Yes, over-moisturizing with the aim to avoid dry, flaky skin is a thing too. This will eventually lead to oily skin and breakouts. Therefore, make sure the moisturizer being used is not unreasonably heavy for your skin type, whilst avoiding reapplication a few too many times.
- Scaly Skin – Extreme weather conditions, especially in the northern part of the country, give rise to overly dry skin that turns scaly and rough beyond measure. This is where exfoliation becomes key in order to get rid of the rough scaly patches so that the moisturizer can do its job well. However, also make sure that the exfoliation is mild, since harsh exfoliation can cause more harm than good.
- Chapped Skin – The lack of humidity in winters doesn’t just affect the skin on your face but also other parts of your body, like your hands and legs especially if you are an outdoor person. It is therefore essential to appropriately cover up in layers before venturing out. To relieve the already chapped skin, apart from commercially available moisturizers, homemade packs with essential oils, aloe vera, etc. can also be of great help.
- Cracked Lips – Cracked and chapped lips are one of the first signs of knowing winter has arrived. Not only do they look unappealing, but can be extremely painful too. To treat them, exfoliate using a lip scrub followed by generous application and re-application of lip balm that is rich in plant-based oils, natural waxes, and shea butter.
- Itchy And Irritated Skin – In severe cases, dry skin can become extremely shriveled which can lead to cracking, itchiness, redness, and can also bleed at times. Simple moisturizing will not do the trick anymore. It becomes imperative to use healing ointments as well as essential natural oils to help the skin regain its lost moisture and texture.
Winter Skin Care Routine
Prevention is always a better option than cure. The dry wintry air, the frosty winds, and the usage of indoor heaters have the capability to dry out your skin to great lengths with the skin losing its radiance and glow. The only sure-shot way to avoid this is to amp up your winter skin care routine with richer, hydrating products while at the same time avoiding some skincare rituals that can aggravate a condition. With some easy switches and additions to your routine, dry, flaky skin can be kept at bay.
Winter Skin Care Tips (Indian Skin)
1. Change To A Cleansing Oil – A cleansing oil is a great alternative to an otherwise soapy formulation, to get rid of dirt and makeup, while still leaving the skin soft and supple instead of tight and dry.
2. Deep Clean At Night – While switching things up a little, it is advisable to thoroughly clean your skin of dirt and impurities at night followed by applying deeply hydrating serums and moisturizers. The next morning, you can skip the cleansing and wipe your face with a toner on a cotton pad, to make sure the skin’s essential lipids are not stripped away. This can be done on the particularly freezing, odd days.
3. Choose Moisturizer Carefully – Moisturizing is key, and a good moisturizer with deeply nourishing ingredients can be a game changer with winter skin problems. Make sure to choose a product that contains appropriate humectants to hold on to the moisture/water, emollients that soften your skin, and occlusives that block the moisture from evaporating.
Also Read: Natural Skin Care Tips For Glowing Skin
4. Overnight Moisturization – Do not forget to pamper areas like your elbows, knees, hands, and feet with intense moisturizing balms before going to bed. Follow this up with putting on gloves and socks, so that the product is absorbed and sealed in all night.
5. Include Some Gentle Exfoliation – Yes, exfoliation even during winters is beneficial. By exfoliating in a gentle manner, we can get rid of the layer of dead skin cells that are blocking the moisturizer from going deep into the skin and working its magic. Just make sure to choose a gentle option and nothing too abrasive.
6. Peel Away Flakiness With Enzymes – Elaborating on the above winter skin care tip; it is always better to go in for chemical exfoliators with gentle fruit enzymes that eat away dead skin cells without irritating the skin surface.
7. Reduce The Use Of Skin Scrubber – Mechanical scrubbing can do more harm than good, especially during the winter months by causing the skin to flare up. Limit its use as much as you can.
8. Wash With Lukewarm Water – Hot water baths are synonymous with bitter winter days. However, hot water can strip the skin off its essential lipids. Therefore, it is better to stick to lukewarm water especially when it comes to washing your face and hands.
9. Try To Avoid Long Baths In Winter – Yes, they feel heavenly, but do not overstretch your bath duration at the cost of looting your skin off all its moisture.
10. Cleansing, The First Step To Healthy Skin – The harsh winters are no excuse to skip this step. You can use milder options are cleansers and also raid your kitchen for cold milk to replace your cleanser. Do not exceed cleansing to more than 1-2 times a day.
11. Switch To A Soap-Free, Non-Foaming Cleanser – Doing so will ensure that these mild cleansers with neutral pH do not disturb the pH of your skin, while still doing the job of getting your skin rid of its impurities.
12. Moisturize Immediately After Bath – By doing so, you will ensure that the skin is enabled to lock in the moisture more effectively and for longer duration’s. Therefore, slather on the moisturizer when your skin is still damp.
13. Toning To Tighten The Skin – Toning is beneficial by means of prepping the skin by tightening it for the application of a hydrating moisturizer and serums. Choose a toner that is mild and doesn’t irritate the skin.
14. Add Moisturizer With Your Toner – Nothing better than a toner with additional moisturizing benefits, which also balances the pH levels of your skin.
15. Use A Sunscreen – Shield Your Skin From The Sun – Come winter, come summer, a sunscreen needs to be a 12-month phenomenon in your skin care routine. Underestimating the harsh winter rays can prove detrimental.
Also Read: Tips to Remove Sun Tan From Skin
16. Do Not Expose The Skin To The Cold Air – Cover up before stepping out into the chilly, dry air, as this will ensure that the moisture locked into your skin remains there and is not stripped away.
17. Use Humidifier In Living Area – Indoor heaters of any kind, strip the air of all its moisture thus parching your skin too. By adding a humidifier into your living area and bedroom, you can ensure that some moisture is retained in your skin.
18. Avoid Toxins, Specifically Allergens And Irritants – Winter skin can be extremely receptive to flare-ups of any kinds be it acne, eczema or psoriasis. To keep them at bay, make sure to avoid woolly fabrics that can itch, chemically loaded detergents, heavily scented lotions, etc.
19. Hydrate From The Inside Out – Not just external applications, what you feed your body too is crucial. Therefore, load up on water-rich foods, omega-3s, vitamin C, zinc supplements etc.
20. Use DIY Masks – There is nothing that a few home kitchen remedies cannot improve. For your DIY masks include hydrating ingredients like honey, yogurt, bananas, almond oils, avocados, etc. and see them work their magic.
21. Add The Fruit And Fruit Juice To Your Diet – Fruits can be a great source of hydration with their vitamin A and vitamin C goodness.
22. Add Vitamin A And Vitamin E Rich Foods To Your Diet – Vitamins A and E with their antioxidant and soothing properties work wonders on dry winter skin. Load up on nuts, sweet potato, avocado, spinach, carrots, etc.
23. AHA And Vitamin C Kick – AHA peels as well as vitamin C supplements do a great job at brightening and bringing that much-needed glow to parched winter skin.
24. Apply Petroleum Jelly On The Face, Lips, Hands, And Legs – By doing so, the skin is sealed with a water-protective barrier, which not only heals but also retains moisture.
25. Do Not Apply The Makeup Products With High Alcoholic Content – The alcohol content in these will further dry up your skin, which can lead to peeling and irritation.
26. Use A Lip Balm – The skin on your lips is extremely sensitive and prone to drying, cracking, and peeling. Make a good lip scrub and a heavy lip balm your best friends this winter.
The colder months of the year do not always have to be a period that is harsh on your skin with multiple winter skin problems. By being a little thoughtful as well as self-indulgent with your winter skin care needs, you can make sure that the cold winter months remain joyous, festive, and beautiful for you and your skin.
Pamper it! Cherish it!