Winter weather is here and ready to mount an assault against your skin. Your skin has just survived a summer of chlorinated water, air-conditioned malls, and excessive sun exposure accumulated through outdoor activities. Now it must fight against harsh cold winds and blasts of warm dry air from indoor heaters.
Winters mission seems to be to make skin dry, irritated and chapped. Cold air will chap any exposed skin and low temperatures will slow down blood circulation in facial skin making it dull or pale. The dry heat of indoor heaters and dehumidifiers attack and steal moisture from the air, drying and irritating skin. The winter sun will also dry out skin, damaging the DNA which will lead to premature aging. Combat nature's forces by moisturizing with creams and lotions. Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier. Also, try not to linger in warm baths and showers because hot water removes natural body oils that help to protect skin.
Proper sun protection is extremely important in the winter, too. One of the things to do to keep skin beautiful and healthy during the winter is to protect it against UV radiation. Just because it is winter, it does not mean sun protection should be forgotten. UVB has lessened but UVA is still in full force all day long! And don't be fooled, cold temperatures have nothing to do with the amount of UV radiation you will receive. It is just as easy to sunburn in the winter as in the summer. Clear or cloudy, skin is continually exposed to UV radiation. The sun's reflective rays are strong all year long too, 17% on the sand and up to 80% on the snow! It is important to use a moisturizing broad spectrum sunscreen that has a SPF of 15 or higher. Apply it to the exposed areas that get the brunt of winter's force: the face, neck and hands. It will also create a barrier against the harsh elements. Natural, non-chemical sunscreens, a "green" alternative to chemical sunscreens is good for both your health and our water supply.
Hands are exposed to both cold and warm air, as well as frequent hand washing to ward off winter germs. The result; hands will become chapped and dry. Wear gloves outside to protect against cold dry air and for added moisture, apply lotion to your hands before you slip them on. Give hands an intense moisturizing treatment at night by applying a heavy cream or lotion and then keep the gloves on until morning. For weather that does not warrant woolen gloves, sun gloves should be worn to prevent cumulative UV damage.
Lips are extremely sensitive to winter's wrath. Besides being constantly exposed to the elements, the skin on lips is thin and doesn't produce as much UV protective melanin as other parts of the body. Be sure and use a lip balm that protects against UVA and UVB radiation. And, be sure and keep it handy because you will want to reapply it often.
Winter may be here, but with proper care and protection your skin can survive and be ready for the next battle: summer!
Janice McKellogg is a writter and Public Relation Executive with www.sungrubbies.com an online company specializing in sun protection since 1997. She joined the firm to promote sun safety especially with children, having been a stay home mom for many years. She can be reached toll free at 888-970-1600. If you live in the San Diego area, be sure to visit the SunGrubbies.com boutique-style showroom and Hat Shop offering everything from sun protective clothing and sun hats to Sun Gloves and Sun Umbrellas for adults and children. They even have a special section dedicated to baby sun protection.