Are you dreading the winter chill for the dehydrating effect it has on your skin? Are you worried about the approaching season that invariably brings along rough skin, chapped lips, and excessive dryness?
Winter means chilly winds that sap away moisture, leaving your skin and lips dry, feet cracked and irritable. From oily skin, we may suddenly go over to the dry side of the spectrum. Some people even experience skin allergies and patchiness due to dryness. As we prepare our wardrobes for the cold season, caution and proper care can also help ensure a smooth transition to the winter months for our skin.
Turn to cream-based products early: When winter approaches, it’s time to turn to skincare products that have cream-based, thick moisturisers. Similarly, you will need to switch to a milder face wash that doesn’t rip away all the moisture from your skin. Also, try to use a sunscreen that also acts as a moisturiser. For removing make-up, use moisturising cleansers and toners. Do not wait for your skin to start cracking to replace your products; do it a couple of weeks before the skin starts showing signs of excessive dryness.
Give yourself oil massages: When you wake up in the morning, just give yourself 15 minutes to apply warm oil all over the body, including on the face and scalp. Leave it on for an hour as you finish your morning chores like reading the newspaper, preparing and eating breakfast, etc. Then take a bath as usual and proceed with your normal routine. This will go a long way towards keeping your skin healthy – not just for winters, but for a long time to come.
Exfoliate and steam: As we apply more creams, more oil and more products to stave off the dehydrating winter chill, the skin’s pores may sometimes get blocked. For this reason, exfoliating your skin once or twice every 10 days or so is highly recommended. Use a gentle scrub in circular motions to remove dead cells and clean up the skin. Once a month, use steaming therapy. This will help soften the skin, open pores, and remove whiteheads and acne. Any process that opens pores and removes dead skin also makes the skin more receptive to topical nutrients like moisturisers.
Nourishing skin procedures: Visit a dermatologist just before the onset of winter and seek a good solution for skin dryness. Deep moisturising hydra facials once a month can be of much help in treating and even preventing excessive dryness. A brief session with Juvederm Refine filler will also help nourish the upper layers of the dermis with hyaluronic acid that promotes water retention and, hence, hydration. It will also give the skin glow and shine, preventing that dull and dry appearance that often occurs in winter.
Drink water: The cold weather often discourages us from drinking enough water, in turn resulting in dehydration of the skin. Since we sweat less in wintertime, we feel less thirsty. But remember: if you do not feel thirsty, it doesn’t mean you need less water. If you dislike cold water, heat it slightly to make it lukewarm. Keep heated water in a thermos. But keep drinking to keep the skin hydrated and prevent lips from cracking. If the skin looks scaly and dull, a quick cosmetic procedure with hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers like Juvederm can also help hydrate your skin and give it radiance and glow.
Use sunscreen: Just because the sun is not as harsh as in summer does not mean you can pack away your sunscreen. In fact, we spend more time out under the sun in winter, and need to be all the more vigilant about sun protection. Harsh sun or mild, UV radiation is as harmful to the skin in both cases. So make sure your sunscreen is on, even in winter.
Care for your feet: While feet tend to be at the lower end of our priorities, cracked heels, irritated soles, and itchy and swollen feet can be a major irritant. Apply cold cream to your feet every night before going to bed. Use an exfoliating agent to remove jagged and hard skin from the heels once every fortnight. It is extremely important to wear warm, preferably woollen socks in winter. However, there are some people who suffer from an extreme sweating disorder, called hyperhidrosis, which causes them to sweat irrespective of the weather. For them, Botox can be a wonderful remedy to prevent sweating and keeping the feet dry.
Diet is important too: Whatever is healthy from within will usually appear healthy on the outside. Do not forget that real health comes from a healthy body. It is important to have an adequate intake of vitamin- and mineral-rich foods during winter to boost immunity and health. Consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, and follow a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fish to boost skin health and nourishment. – Dr Madhuri Agarwal, dermatologist, Mumbai.