Try these Winter Skin Care Tips.

By Nina Radcliff, MD

Is the glass really half full or half empty when it comes to cold weather? Arguments for the half full point of view of brisk weather include not rushing to take in the groceries, the body burning more calories to stay warm, and having a good excuse to cuddle with loved ones. The downside is that it can wreak havoc on the skin. That is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine. Here are some tips to help keep the glass looking half full by protecting the largest organ of our bodies, our skin:

Dry skin. Between the cold outside and the artificial heat blowing when we are indoors, our skin may feel like it is in a no-win situation. To avoid these losing odds, let’s consider some easy steps to tip them in our favor. There is no need to buy fancy or expensive products. Start with some hidden gems located inside the kitchen. Consider mixing a few drops of olive oil, a few cups of whole milk, or a cup of oatmeal to a bath. If it’s good enough to eat, it’s good enough to bathe in. The proteins and fats can help soothe rough skin. Don’t stop there. Double-down by applying lotion, cream, or oil to the entire body within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath while the pores are open. This helps lock in the moisture.

Red nose. Rudolph had a very shiny nose, but red does not look good on everyone’s nose. When temperatures drop, the blood vessels cut off circulation to our schnoz to prevent heat from evaporating. It’s Mother Nature’s way of “insulating” the body in order to preserve heat. When we warm up, the same blood vessels quickly dilate and bring along a rush of blood, making the nose appear red. This can be prevented by applying a warm compress to the skin for several minutes after coming inside. Red nose may also creep up on us while battling a cold due to the constant wiping. Use extra-soft tissues to avoid making the skin on our nose raw or chapped. Consider applying moisturizer or lotion to the sensitive area throughout the day.

Chapped lips. We do not want our loved ones to turn their cheeks away because we are trying to kiss them with a set of brillo pads. To prevent this from happening–moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Lip balms with lanolin can soften the skin and reduce evaporation, allowing the skin to stay hydrated. Lanolin is the naturally oily wax that is extracted from sheep’s wool. For the vegetarians and those who have reservations about puckering up with sheep on their lips, consider vegetable oil.
Dry hands. Don’t let this make you bah humbug when it comes to hand washing. Those ten digits and two palms are weapons of mass destruction for spreading germs and viruses. When washing them it should be water, soap, lather, rinse, moisturize. Moisturizing needs to take place throughout the day. Keep lotion next to your sinks and consider carrying a small bottle in your purse, car, and at your desk. When washing dishes consider wearing gloves to prevent drying out. For severe cases, use a thick cream at bedtime and put on cotton gloves to facilitate absorption into the skin.

Dry, rough hair (hair is dead skin cells and keratin). Our hair does not have to be collateral damage to the cold weather. For those who shampoo their hair every day, consider changing it to every other day. If it is once a week, consider changing it to every week and a half. Shampooing removes buildup and dirt (desired) but also removes moisture from the scalp and hair (undesirable). More now than ever, we need to apply hair conditioner. Again, we can turn to our kitchens. In addition to its numerous culinary usages, olive oil can moisturize our hair. Consider adding a few drops on a wide-tooth comb after showering.

Family gatherings, time by glowing fireplaces, and making snowmen should be hallmarks of cold weather. Not dry, cracked, and irritated skin. Give yourself a New Year’s gift of healthy, happy skin. In addition to the above tips, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and your skin moisturized. And when heading outside, dress the part. Take a hat, scarf, gloves, and some lip balm to protect yourself from the damaging effects of cold weather. Remember—warm head, warm hands, warm heart…and healthy skin! The glass really is half full. Cheers!

For more information on Dr. Nina Radcliff see her website at: www.drninaradcliff.com




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