I ticked off the tabby the other day when I had to cut short our regular morning walk. There was a chill in the air that I just couldn’t shake — certainly not in the sweatshirt, jeans and flip-flops I’d gotten used to wearing on our little jaunts — and even though the first official day of winter doesn’t arrive for more than a month, Jack Frost was already nipping at my toes.
From here on out, at least for the next few months, it’s cold weather season, and that means dry air, dry skin and cold, cold, cold.
For me it also seems to mean scaly shins and crusty cuticles that get worse and worse every year. Thankfully, I’ve figured out a few ways to keep my skin from staging a revolt as the temperature drops. Here are five ways to winterize your skin care routine.
1. Some like it lukewarm
When it’s cold out, I like it hot! My showers, that is. Unfortunately, hot water can strip away skin’s natural oils, leaving it far worse off.
The solution? — to turn the temperature down, and take shorter lukewarm showers and baths.
Now, I have a really tough time with this one because I think hot showers just feel so dang good when there’s a chill in the air. Coupled with my tendency to daydream in the shower (it’s where I do my best brainstorming), and I can easily spend 30 minutes dillydallying while the hot water dries out my skin.
That’s where a waterproof watch with an alarm and timer can help. I’ll set mine right before I step in the shower, and then I have no excuse…
2. Mighty mittens!
Regularly exfoliating removes the layers of dead skin (eww!) and other gunk that soap doesn’t or can’t. It also restores skin’s natural ability to absorb moisture, and sure, I love the way it makes my skin glow.
Anything that encourages me to exfoliate and makes it easier and fun gets a big thumbs up from me, which is why I like exfoliating gloves. They have a rough texture and can even be worn in the shower. Most drugstores sell ’em for about $3.
Whenever I feel the need to exfoliate — and sometimes it is a need — but don’t want the aggressive abrasiveness of a scrub, I squirt a small amount of a moisturizing body wash onto the gloves and massage my arms, legs, shoulders, back and tummy using gentle circular motions. Then, I’ll got to town on my rougher parts, like my hands, elbows and feet.
3. It’s great to hydrate (or, sock it to ’em!)
To help trap and lock moisture in your skin, apply a body butter or cream to damp skin within three minutes (give or take) of stepping out of the shower.
My hands and feet tend to get really dry every fall and winter, so before bed I also like to slather them with moisturizer and cuticle cream, and then put on moisturizing socks and gloves, which you can find at most beauty supply stores.
Yes, you’ll probably look a little crazy town wearing gloves to bed, but it’s so worth it. Like when people say that something “works overnight,” in this case it really does. I wake up with softer hands, cuticles and feet.
4. The validity of humidity
Heaters blow. I mean seriously, they blow hot hair. And they also suck…every ounce of moisture from the air.
A small humidifier can restore some of that moisture, but be sure to keep them clean by changing their filters; otherwise, bacteria and fugi can grow.
5. Protect your neck!
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t get sunburned. On the contrary. It happens all the time, so when you’re slathering up with sunscreen or looking for something to wear (I’m a fan of scarves), please don’t neglect your neck.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,