Protect your skin from the cold this winter

Most of us know how to protect our skin from the sun, but what about the cold? The air is typically dryer in the winter months, making it more difficult for our skin and hair to retain the moisture it needs to stay healthy, vibrant and supple. Prevent chapping, cracking and dryness with these winter skincare tips.

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1. Use an oil-based moisturizer

The cold dries out your skin, so you will need a heavy duty moisturizer for the winter season. Oil-based moisturizers are preferable to water-based, as the oil will not only hydrate your skin, but form a protective layer to shield you from the cold. Keep a travel-sized product in your bag or pick up a tester from your local cosmetics counter.

2. Humidify

Indoor heating systems can suck the moisture out of the air – and ultimately, out of your skin! Fortunately, a humidifier can return the moisture to the air, without stealing any of that glorious warmth. Include a few drops of essential oils to help your skin, sinuses and stress levels.

3. Keep a hand cream handy

There is a reason why hand cream is often thicker than other body moisturizers! The skin on the hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands, meaning it is harder for them to stay moisturized. Keep a hand cream in your purse, and moisturize after you wash your hands.

4. Protect your lips

The cold can burn and chap your lips, so be sure to keep a lip balm handy. You will need something thicker than your normal gloss or balm. Avoid a balm with perfumes that will sting or irritate cracked lips and opt for something organic and protective. The thicker and oilier your balm, the better it will work to prevent wind burn.

5. Avoid the heat

Sticking your feet in front of the heater is a no-no for your skin. We know the temptation to warm yourself by the fire, or jump straight into a hot bath is strong, but exposure to extreme temperatures can be more damaging than beneficial. When in the cold for long periods of time, your body hoards heat around your vital organs, reducing the circulation in the parts of your body that are far from the centre, ie. toes and fingers. This can put you at risk of chilblains – a form of frostbite – in these sensitive areas. Chilblains can be exacerbated by sticking your hands and feet directly in front of the heater when you return home. You want to encourage the natural flow of your circulation to these areas so put on some socks and wriggle those toes!