Health Blog

Staying Warm and Protecting Your Skin in the Winter

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This winter has been pretty brutal in some parts of the country. From early winter snowstorms in the upper Midwest to the bone-chilling polar vortex that swept across the country in January, anyone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors has really been up against it this year. And as always, two of the biggest challenges have been staying warm and protecting the skin.

Winter weather and temperatures can be problematic for a whole host of reasons. For a start, winter air tends to be a lot drier when compared to summer air. That is why so many people suffer through the winter months with dry, flaky, and sometimes chafing skin. Individuals who have it the worst may even experience cracking and bleeding in their hands, feet, etc.

So how do you get by in the winter? What do you do to both stay warm and protect your skin when mother nature isn’t cooperating? You practice a few basic concepts as described below.

Dress in Layers

The key to staying warm during the winter is to dress in layers. And by the way, this applies to both indoor and outdoor activity. Dressing in layers accomplishes three important things:

  • Insulation – Multiple layers of clothing actually insulate your body better than a single, heavy layer. The air in between each layer even adds extra insulating power.
  • Perspiration – Dressing in layers allows each layer to act as a wick for perspiration. This makes it easier for perspiration to travel through your clothing and evaporate, rather than being trapped against your skin and making you feel cold.
  • Regulation – Finally dressing in layers makes it easier to regulate your temperature. If you get too warm, just remove a layer. If you start feeling cold, add one.

Cover Your Skin

Next, protecting your skin during the winter months starts with keeping it covered. Though this applies to both indoor and outdoor activity, it is more important when you are outdoors. Cold temperatures and low humidity create a perfect storm for drying out your skin very quickly. So keep it covered.

Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants both indoors and out. When you are outside, be sure to wear a hat that covers your ears along with a scarf across your face. Or just wear a ski mask if you are so inclined.

Moisturize Regularly

Poethique, a Massachusetts skincare company specializing in all-natural beauty products, says that moisturizing regularly is one of the best things you can do to protect your skin during the winter. Believe it or not, moisturizing can also help you feel warmer, too.

The skin needs to remain lubricated in order to function as intended. Naturally produced sebum provides that lubrication. However, the skin also needs water as well. Moisturizing adds a protective layer on top of the skin that keeps moisture trapped inside. This both protects the skin and helps you feel warmer, just like high humidity makes you feel warmer during the summer.

Eat Well

Finally, be sure to eat well during the winter months. Your body burns a tremendous number of calories just to try and stay warm, so eating well gives your body the fuel it needs. Choose lots of fresh foods including fruits and vegetables. Avoid empty calories and those high-fat, high-sugar snacks that carried you through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Just a few easy-to-implement strategies can help you both stay warmer and protect your skin as you work through the final months of winter. And as you do so, remember that April is coming.

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