9 Winter Hazards for Your Skin

Winter can cause as much harm to your skin as summer's damaging sun rays, especially if you suffer from dryness or a skin condition. Take care to defend your skin against the effects of these common culprits:

1. Dry indoor air is one of the most damaging, dehydrating elements of winter. Keep a few humidifiers around your home, especially in rooms where you sleep or spend a lot of time.

2. Extremely cold weather puts you at risk for frostnip, especially if you don't protect your extremities well. If you feel a numb or burning sensation in your skin, get indoors immediately. Frostnip can not only lead to dangerous frostbite, but even in mild cases it can damage capillaries and potentially lead to itchy or blistered skin.

3. Snow glare may seem like something you only need to worry about on the slopes, but the sun reflects 80 percent of any snowy surface, and without SPF your skin can suffer. Apply sunscreen daily throughout the year.

4. Hand washing is your best defense against colds and flu, but it can take a toll on your hands, leaving skin dry, chapped, and peeling. Be sure to moisturize with an emollient-rich lotion after every wash.

5. Skipping moisturizer may be a habit you can get away with in the summer, but almost everyone needs an emollient moisturizer during the cold-weather season. Look for thick, oil-based creams that can help reconstitute dry skin.

6. Woolen, itchy clothing keeps you warm, but it can also scratch or irritate sensitive skin. Dress in layers, keeping only soft fabrics right up against the skin.

7. Anti-aging moisturizers can actually damage skin during winter, since the skin is already overly dry. Steer clear of retin-A or abrasive exfoliants during this season, and reach for the super-emollient kinds that can give your skin a burst of moisture.

8. Hot baths or showers can feel wonderful after a day out in the cold, but hot water can stimulate your skin to shed essential oils. Keep the temperature to warm and try to make your time in the water brief. Be sure to dry off as soon as you get out of the shower and apply moisturizer right away.

9. Reduced hydration can unexpectedly worsen your skin condition. Most of us tend to drink less water during the winter, causing us to shed fewer toxins, which can show up on our skin. Remind yourself to keep drinking water, even if you alternate with a steamy mug of cocoa!




Aad.org: "Dry Skin: Tips for Relieving." American Academy of Dermatology. Web. 2011

Skincarephysicians.com: "Winter Skin Care Guidelines." EczemaNet. Web. 2010