Winter skin care in Colorado

The cold Colorado winter season can bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks.It can also bring dryness to your skin. For some people, the problem is worse and your skin can get so dry it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed). Here in Colorado we already have an arid climate and it gets even more so in the winter time.

When you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out as well. It doesn’t matter if you heat your home using oil, wood, or electricity. Your skin can get dryer from it.

Ideally if you can you should consider going to an esthetician or dermatologist. Even once is a good investment. Such a specialist can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care products you should be using.

Many experts advise changing you winter skin care products. For the Colorado winter especially find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.
Choose your oils wisely because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Look for “nonclogging” oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. Shea oil — or butter — is not considered a good choice because it can clog facial pores. You can also look for lotions containing “humectants,” a class of substances that attract moisture to your skin. These would include glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids.

If you are going outside you need to remember that the winter sun along with snow glare can still damage and dry your skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands especially about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time and even more so if you are going hiking or skiing.

Another tool for skin care is using humidifiers. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly. They also keep the static electricity down which helps not only your skin but also your hair and who wouldn’t love to cut down on those irritating electric shocks from touching things around the house. Before I started using a humidifier even the house plants were shocking me every chance they got as I passed by and accidentally touched a leaf! ( The plants loved the added humidity in winter too! Maybe that’s why they stopped picking on me! ) If you can’t afford several humidifiers there are a myriad ways of adding moisture to the air. Setting decorative bowls of water around or vases with water and flowers will add moisture as they evaporate and add beauty too. When you are home you can put a kettle on to simmer or you can put a large pot of water on the stove at a low setting and throw in spices and an apple or orange. Adds humidity and smells good, too, even a crock pot on low without it’s lid will work great ( make sure there is no cord hanging for safety ). Be sure to keep an eye on simmering pots and refill the water as needed. At night when you sleep or when you are gone you simply turn off the stove and the water will still evaporate helping the humidity level in the house. Of course if you have a wood burning stove a cast iron kettle on top is a must, so Colorado too!

We are all probably guilty of soaking in a wonderfully hot bath after being outside in the cold. It feels great after skiing, hiking or just working out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in our skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. Sorry, but you’re better off with just warm water and staying in the water a shorter amount of time. A warm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy and so can periodically reapplying your moisturizer. After bathing or showering, quickly and gently pat the skin partially dry with a towel,do not rub!. Within three minutes of getting out of the water apply a moisturizer.

This is a good time of year to get in the habit of moisturizing your hands every time you wash them. Place a pump bottle of moisturizer right next to the sink making it easier to remember and convenient. Be sure there is one by the kitchen sink as well as the bathroom sink.

Lips retain even less moisture than other parts of the body, so they tend to dry out more quickly.                                        
They lack the oil glands the face has for lubrication, so additional moisturizing is a major need for them in the cold winter months. So don’t forget your lip moisturizers and nourishing lip balms to protect them!

It is a myth that drinking more water can help with dry skin. You definitely should drink plenty of water but for other health reasons and remember that here in Colorado we tend to dehydrate faster and don’t realize it before it’s too late to avert it. What does help your skin from the inside is taking omega-3 fish oil pills.  People who took fish oil pills in a study reported in Allure magazine, saw significant results within a few weeks. You can usually see your skin, hair and nails improve markedly within six weeks or so. These nutrients also do much more for our health so they should be considered year round too.

Here is another suggestion to add fun to your skin care, ask that significant other to apply some of that lotion all over and in those places where it’s so hard for you to reach. And be sure to return the favor to them! Everybody wants to be soft and smooth and cuddly!
So chase away any winter blues and the dry skin that comes with it by taking care of your skin , your lips and pamper yourself with wonderful skin care products and you will be glad you did!

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