Cold weather can be really hard on your skin. Although we’re still in the throes of fall, winter tends to creep up on us and our skin quickly. Not only do the freezing temperatures do a number on your skin, but central heating and any other attempts to keep warm may be making your dry, itchy, flaky, and chapped skin situation even worse. It also makes your hair brittle, and if you have a hefty beard, you’re going to need to take extra care, despite your plans to insulate your face as much as you can by growing one in the first place.
You need a great plan of action to put in place before the weather gets bitterly cold. Here is your Cheat Sheet guide to taking care of your skin this winter.
1. Get in the habit of taking quick(er) showers
Although hot showers on a cold day may feel like God’s gift to mankind, your long morning or evening shower is wreaking havoc on your skin, especially during the colder months of the year. “Hot water strips the skin of its natural, protective oils which can cause it to dry out,” dermatologist David Orentreich told FashionBeans. Even if the thought of giving up your steaming hot late fall/early winter showers sends a cold chill down your back, Orentreich suggests turning the heat down just a little and making your shower a quick one in order to keep your skin from drying out too much.
2. Utilize your time in the shower and lather up
When the temps plummet, using a simple bar of soap just won’t do — in fact, it could be drying out your skin even more. You need a hydrating body wash and a loofah. Yes guys, that means you, too. “Since some men don’t like the idea of using a loofah in the shower, it’s important to simplify the body-washing process with a product that lathers easily,” Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist in San Diego, told Operation In Touch.
It’s best to try a body wash that is designed specifically for men that you can lather on easily by using either a loofah, which happens to give you a little extra exfoliation, your hands, or a washcloth. Look for body washes that specifically moisturize.
3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
And repeat. Once you get out of the shower, this is the optimal time to moisturize, both your entire body and your face. Wind exposure and shaving irritation are sure to do a number on your skin, leaving it dry, a little itchy, and sometimes flaky due to less moisture in the air during the colder months. Your face also tends to feel tighter in the winter as well. “Quite simply, your skin doesn’t like the cold because it makes keratin stiffer and less flexible,” Dr. John Gray, author of The World of Skincare, told FashionBeans.
According to Esquire, Dr. Jessica Krant, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, recommends looking for a moisturizing cream with two main ingredients: a humectant, like hyaluronic acid, and a barrier, like shea butter. These ingredients will help lock in moisture.
4. Don’t forget about your lips
Your lips need some tender love and care during the winter because having dried out, red irritated lips is the worst of your skin problems. They especially need extra care because your lips don’t produce any natural oils, making them much more susceptible to moisture loss and chapping. Interestingly, licking your lips is one of the worst things you can do during the dry winter months. In the same Esquire story, Krant suggests using a shea butter lip balm.
5. Carry a hand cream with you
Keep a travel-size hand cream in your briefcase, purse, or backpack. Your hands suffer a lot in the winter, and can sometimes get dry to the point that they become painful. Opt for a cream specifically winter friendly or targeted. Don’t leave home without it, and make sure to drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated.