It’s the same story every winter. I am surprised to see that my skin is peeling. I see skin flakes all over my black socks. (Gross, I know.) Even my eyebrows start flaking, and I have to clean skin off my glasses. You get the sad picture. I look like a face-peeling zombie. I dry up in the winter.
If you are suffering dry winter skin like I am—or, I hope, not quite so much as I am—take a few steps to care for yourself to avoid the worst of it.
Why Is Your Skin Dry Now?
In the winter, the humidity is low outside and even lower inside, if you use dry heat. The normal moisture of your glowing summer skin is being sucked away.
Also, as you get older or as your hormones change, your skin can change. If you have noticed a difference lately, it’s possible this is your new normal.
This is part of the normal cycle of the year.
Steps to Keep Your Skin Moist in the Winter
Remove as little of your own natural skin moisture as possible.
- Use a mild cleanser. You might want to switch to a milder soap just for winter, if you already have a cleanser that works well for you in the summer.
- Pat your skin with a towel rather than rubbing.
- Avoid long exposure to hot water. If you hands are all cracked and dry, use this as a good reason to have a family member help with the dishes.
Use natural moisturizers.
I’ve written before about the ingredients to look for and avoid in moisturizing cosmetics.
- If the lotion you have been using feels waxy or greasy, switch. The same moisturizers that work for me might not work well for you if we have different type of skin and we’re dealing with different weather.
- One of my favorite lotion tips: apply body lotion when your skin is still slightly damp.
Make it easy to remember.
When do you think about how dry your skin is? If just before you go to bed, put lotion on your nightstand. I think about it during homeschool, while my children are reading and my hands are idle. I look at them and feel how dry they are, so I reach for the lotion that I keep on the table next to where I sit. Wherever you are most likely to have the thought and the time, keep your lotion there.
Use heavy duty treatment when your daily routine isn’t enough.
Every few days, I just have to use oil on my face. I use mild facial cleanser then oil. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to cover one’s face with oil, but it is the only way I can keep my skin from peeling.
When I was growing up, at night my mother would cover my hands in lotion and put cotton socks over my hands to keep the lotion from rubbing off. It worked, but I have managed to avoid this by using lotion daily, morning and night.
How heavy your treatment needs to be depends on how bad your problem is.
Either avoid wind and water or create a barrier.
Wind won’t just kiss your face—it will bite your face and suck out the moisture. Hot water will remove natural oils and leave your skin tight and uncomfortable until it cracks or peels.
Sound bad? Just create a barrier. Wear a mask when you are out in the wind. Don’t use hot water to wash your face. So simple!
You won’t just avoid one winter of tight, dry skin. You will avoid premature aging caused by overexposure to the elements.
If you are more hearty than I am, I’m very happy for you. My very pale, very sensitive skin just can’t handle the outdoors in winter without a lot of help, so avoidance is my first line of defense.
What Moisturizers Do We Use?
Our favorites are two made in Canada brands: Anointment and Cocoon Apothecary.
bynature.ca staff members love Anointment skin care products like the handmade soap, lip balm, and ointment. If you haven’t tried it before, start with the gift set of mini soaps, Anointment Petit Fours, to find a scent that you will enjoy.
I am still in love with Cocoon Apothecary. I use Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream when I’m going out. It is thick and rich without being greasy or leaving any kind of film. It absorbs into my skin really well. When I’m staying in, I use Rosehip Oil Facial Serum, which is a golden oil that definitely does not work into the skin all of the way. I rub it in some then let it work its way in over the day. I also use Magic Bean Body Lotion (which smells like sweet cocoa) for my hands and body.
My husband uses a heavy duty hemp lotion on this hands in the winter because his normally soft skin just dries and cracks, leaving his knuckles looking like he’s just been punching trees for sport. I find the lotion too strong and too thick for me, but he is very happy with it. You might need more than one solution for your family.
When I was in bootmaking school, working hard with my hands all day, cutting myself accidentally and often, and washing my hands over and over, my teacher had all of the students rub tea tree oil on our hands at the end of each day. That was my introduction to tea tree oil. I was amazed how quickly my cuts healed. If your hands are so dry that they are cracked or bleeding, tea tree oil or a moisturizer with tea tree oil can help speed the healing process.
Bundle up out there so the wind can’t whip you around.
Image © Chupacabra47 | Dreamstime.com