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Winter Skin Care

Winter Skin Care

If you’ve long suspected that the winter months serve up a slew of itchy, red, and just plain unpleasant skin problems, feel free to pat yourself on the back—because you’re absolutely correct.

With the self-congratulations complete, now ATRIO Health Plans wants you to focus on steps you can take to help winterize your skin.

Water Wisdom

Good old H20—both what you put in it, as well as its temperature—can go a long way toward enhancing your skin’s ability to survive the season.

If you’re a big fan of bath-taking, before sliding in the tub, sprinkle a few drops of olive or grapeseed oil into the water to help ward off—or to help heal—dry skin. Adding a few cups of whole milk to your bathwater is another way to proactively moisturize your winter epidermis. The proteins, fats, and vitamins in milk also can work to sooth rough skin.

Regardless whether you’re on team bathtub versus team shower, the water used should be lukewarm rather than steaming hot. As wonderful as a super-hot shower or bath sounds, such intense heat actually breaks down lipid barriers in the skin, leaving a path of dry destruction.

Reverse the Redness

Whether it’s Santa’s suit or shiny bows, red is a prominent winter hue. And red is a perfectly pleasing color, except when said color replaces your nose’s normal shade.

Fortunately, there’s a remedy for Rudolph nose, which occurs when you’re outside in cold weather and your blood vessels decide to make your nose a no-circulation zone. When you return inside, the blood vessels dilate quickly, resulting in a rush of blood and a clown-colored honker. To counteract this unsightly turn of events, apply a warm (not hot) compress to your nose for several minutes.

Winter cold also can leave your nose raw. To mitigate the damage, apply a thin layer—throughout the day and night—of moisturizing ointment or lotion to the affected area.

Lip Lessons

Lips—like noses—can find winter to be a season of discontent. Chapped lips are common and can progress to deeply and painfully cracked lips. Frequently applying lip balm is a good first line of defense. However, if your lips have become noticeably flaky, gently exfoliate them with a clean toothbrush. Next, liberally apply beeswax or a lip balm with lanolin; repeat throughout the day. In the case of severely dry lips, apply honey or petroleum jelly and leave on for 15 minutes; remove with a cotton swab dipped in hot water and repeat as necessary.

Face Facts

Winter is perhaps most brutal on that general region we refer to as our face. The face is home to the body’s most sensitive skin, and winter’s drying ways can really wreak havoc. As a starting point, avoid any face products containing alcohol. Next, purchase an ointment moisturizer that’s oil-based rather than water-based, as oil creates a protective layer capable of retaining more moisture. Be sure, however, to select non-clogging oils, such as avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil.

If you’re a fan of facial masks, you probably should pull back on your mask schedule during winter. If you can’t kick the mask habit entirely, at least opt for deeply hydrating masks, rather than those that are clay-based. And when washing your face, reach for cream-based cleansers.

Hand Health

Winter’s cold temps and whipping winds can leave your hands a dry, cracked, painful mess. Prevention is priority one, so always apply moisturizer after washing your hands, as well as periodically throughout the day. If your hands are especially dry, replace moisturizer with hand cream. If daytime moisturizers or creams prove insufficiently healing, apply very thick hand cream before going to sleep, and then slip on white cotton gloves.

With a little TLC, your skin will survive the winter season, and you’ll be in tip-top shape to greet the spring.