How to protect your skin this winter – The Daily Star

From dry hands to chapped lips to cracked heels, see the top cold-weather threats to your skin – and what you can do about them.
SOS for chapped lips: No one is immune from dry lips in winter! Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and use a humidifier at home. Liberally apply petroleum jelly to your lips. Don’t lick your lips — it may feel better briefly, but it only makes chapped lips worse.
Heal cracked heels: Painful, cracked heels are a common skin condition, especially in winter. They are often caused by dry skin. Keep feet healthy by marinating cracked heels in petroleum jelly, covering them with plastic wrap, and putting on a pair of socks overnight. You should see improvement in a few days.
Give dry hands extra care: Your hands may be hard hit by the cold winter air. Washing your hands frequently helps eliminate cold and flu germs, but it also increases dryness. Give dry hands some glycerin-based moisturiser when you wake up, before you go to bed, and any time your hands feel dry throughout the day.
Use super-fatted soap: The same products that keep your face looking fresh in the spring and summer may cause skin problems during winter. Choose a gentle, super-fatted, fragrance-free soap — bar or liquid — for cleansing. Super-fatted means the soap is loaded with oils. Use a non-astringent toner, or just skip it altogether. If skin is dry, moisturisers that contain urea, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, or mineral oil can be good bets.
Choose a winter moisturiser: Should you change your moisturiser? Maybe. If you usually use a light lotion, try a heavier cream, at least on dry skin patches. Ointments — like petroleum jelly — have more oil than creams or lotions. That makes them more greasy, too, so they may be best for feet and body. Minimise the greasy feeling by using a very small amount and gently but thoroughly rubbing it into skin. Apply after a warm shower.
Clear away dead skin first: To get the most out of your moisturiser, exfoliate. Clearing away dead skin cells lets a moisturiser better penetrate dry skin. Exfoliate gently with a moisturiser that contains lactic acid or salicylic acid. Some exfoliants can be irritating, especially in winter, so try them on a small patch of skin first. If your skin is really dry or irritated, ask your doctor before starting a new skin care product or regimen.
Winter showers: A shower can add water to your skin — as long as you keep it short and sweet. Long, hot showers can actually draw moisture from your skin. Appealing as a hot shower on a cold morning may be, lukewarm water is a better choice. It will not strip away skin’s natural oils.
Lock in moisture after your bath: Right after you step out of the tub, pat skin dry and apply moisturiser to retain the water your skin just absorbed. A glycerin- or hyaluronic acid-based moisturiser can increase the amount of water that is drawn into your skin. Baby oil is also a good choice, because it prevents water from evaporating from your skin.
Plug in a humidifier: The warm, dry indoor air can mean parched, dry skin. Use a humidifier to restore moisture to the air.
Lube your locks: Protect your hair this winter by shampooing every other day instead of daily. Shampoos and excess shampooing can strip hair of moisture. Use warm water and a mild shampoo with sunscreen. Apply extra conditioner to keep your hair hydrated, shiny, and soft. Don’t overstyle with the blow dryer or flat iron. And protect your hair from the elements by wearing a hat.
Winter sunscreen required: Think you can’t get a sunburn in winter? Wrong. Skiers and other winter athletes are at special risk of sunburn because snow reflects sunlight. In fact, it bounces 80% of the sun’s rays back to us, compared to less than 20% for sand and surf. Even if you’re not hitting the slopes, you still need the protection of a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Apply daily, and reapply at least every two hours if you’re outside.
Beat the itch of winter skin: Dry winter skin can be incredibly itchy. Beat itchy skin by taking a lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, reapplying your moisturizer frequently, and steering clear of wool and other rough fabrics. If these techniques don’t make a difference, see a dermatologist. You may have an underlying condition such as eczema or psoriasis that requires different treatment. 
Source: WebMD

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