How to Care for Your Skin During the Harsh Cold Months

Although winter activities can be fun, being out in the snow and subzero temps this time of year can lead to painful dry, cracked skin. These tips and product recommendations from our staff can help your skin survive Wisconsin’s harsh conditions:

1. Make changes to your skincare routine sparingly. If you’re considering a complete overhaul of your skincare products, now may not be the time. It can take a month for new products to work, and since your skin is already fighting to stay moisturized, new cleansers and toners can be more damaging than helpful this time of year, especially if they contain potentially irritating ingredients. It’s best to get to know your skin throughout the seasons and to stick with a simple, gentle cleansing and moisturizing regimen. Brands we stock that offer good options are Andalou Naturals, evanhealy, Mad Hippie, and Derma E Natural Body Care.

2. Don’t forget the SPF. You may not think sun exposure is a problem in the winter, but it definitely is. UVB levels fall during the cold months, but UVA levels can still be damaging, so be sure to slather on a protectant before you head out. Our go-to brand is Alba Botanica because it feels less sticky than some brands and it’s biodegradable.

3. Always wear lip balm. While drier air is the main culprit behind chapped lips in the winter, licking them will irritate them further. That’s why it’s important to seal in moisture at all times with an effective lip balm, especially before and after eating or drinking. Our staff’s longtime favorite is evanhealy’s Whipped Shea Butter.

4. Avoid long, hot baths and showers. This may sound counterintuitive because you would think soaking in water would moisturize your skin, but it actually does the opposite when the water is too hot. A good rule of thumb in the winter especially is to bathe in water that doesn’t turn your skin red; any warmer, and it may dry out even more, or worse, trigger skin conditions.

5. Add moisture to your environment. In the winter, the air tends to hold less water, which is what dries out our skin so much. Placing a humidifier or two set to 30-50% humidity in rooms where you spend most of your time can help prevent that.

6. Wear nonirritating fabrics. It’s important to bundle up as temperatures fall, but when you do, be sure to layer breathable fabrics such as cotton or silk underneath irritating fabrics. Direct contact with wool and other rough materials can cause dry skin to itch.

7. Drink more water. Increasing your water intake during the cold months can help to hydrate your skin from the inside out. Keep a bottle with you constantly, and consider swapping your morning coffee for green tea to get more antioxidants.

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