Even the best complexions can turn dry and flaky during the cold winter months.
On The Saturday Early Show, Dr. Mallika Marshall offers advice on keeping your skin glowing and healthy all season long.
Skin becomes dry and flaky during the winter months because it needs moisture to maintain a healthy glow. During the cold, winter months, the relative humidity drops by about 30 percent. And what many people may not know is that the humidity drops in warm weather states, too. This makes it harder for your skin to maintain its ideal moisture level. This dropoff in humidity also causes skin lipids, which form the barrier that keeps moisture in the skin, to decline by about 40 percent. The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to ensure that your skin doesn't succumb to the elements.
Exfoliant and Loofah
The first thing you are going to want to do to get back your glow is to use an exfoliant and loofah, which will help clear away the dead flaky skin. In order for products such as moisturizers to be effective, you have to start with a clean slate. So buy an exfoliant that is meant for the face, making sure it is mild. Look for the product to contain ingredients like salicylic acids or alpha and beta hydroxys. For other parts of your body, use a loofah to rub away the dead skin. Make sure you don't rub too hardgh, or you'll irritate your skin.
A moisturizer will help quench your thirsty skin and will provide protection against the elements. When purchasing a moisturizer, look for ingredients such as glycerin and vitamins A, C and E. You may actually want to buy two products -- one for the face and another for the body. The best time to apply a moisturizer is right after you shower, while you are still damp.
Even though you probably won't be spending as much time outside during the winter, you still need to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to all the parts of your body that will be exposed to the sun. This includes your ears, which many people forget. In order for it to be effective, make sure you put the sunscreen on at least 15 minutes before going out into the elements. Make sure the sunscreen has an SPF of at least 15.
Chapped lips can be very uncomfortable and unsightly. So you should apply lip balm every time you are about to go outside. When buying a lip balm, make sure that it contains a sunscreen. An SPF 15 is good for most people, but you may look for a higher number if you plan on taking part in any winter sports, such as skiing.
The skin around your eyes is especially sensitive to the elements. Make sure you have a pair of sunglasses with you. Make sure that the lenses are large enough to completely cover the area around your eyes, and make sure they offer protection from ultraviolet rays.
Shampoo and Conditioner
The dry weather can also wreak havoc on your hair. It's not just the air outside we are talking about, but the hot dry air pumped out by heaters. If you want to avoid flat hair and flyaways, you'll want to invest in a special shampoo and conditioner. In the list of ingredients, look for words like silk, which will hydrate your hair.
Heating units cause the air in many homes to become very dry during the winter. This can not only dehydrate your skin, but make you feel dry and itchy. So you may want to consider investing in a humidifier. If you do buy one, make sure to clean it often to avoid spreading germs around.