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Protect Your Skin, Winter Is Coming

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MCLA chapter.

The winter can be one of the most dangerous times for your skin. The cold air dries it out,  making it brittle and more susceptible to cuts and cracking as its moisture is blown away by the wind. I have eczema and type 1 diabetes, both of which dry out my skin considerably, and it becomes twice as bad in the winter. I know firsthand the importance of keeping skin hydrated and happy. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up over my 20 years of life to keep skin smooth and hydrated in the winter. 

1) Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is important at any time of year. Our bodies are 95 percent water and five percent salt, and this also affects our skin. Dry skin cracking can increase the risk of infection and can be painful. Drinking water helps to not only hydrate our bodies, but our skin as well. You should always drink water when you’re thirsty, and in the winter, because our skin dries out, we can become even more thirsty than normal. This is your body’s way of saying you’re losing moisture. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere so that no matter where you are, you can always refill it with water and keep yourself and your skin hydrated.

2) Lotion Everyday!

Lotioning everyday in the winter is important. The lotion can act as a barrier between your skin and the cold winter weather, locking in your skin’s moisture. Be sure to lather the lotion on, especially over any red, dry or cracked areas of your skin. It’s also important to know what type of lotion you’re using. For skin that is doing alright, a regular lotion from Bath and Bodyworks, Walmart, CVS and other such places will suffice. For red, overly dry and cracked skin, try using coconut oil or tea tree oil. Coconut oil is your cheapest and most accessible option as it can be found in any grocery store, Walmart or Target. It is also the best option as it can be used on all skin types and any degree of dry skin. Both tea tree oil and coconut oil are all natural. It is good to know what ingredients are in the lotion you’re using. This information will help determine which lotion is best for you to use based on your skin type and the dryness of your skin. 

3) Use Moisturizing Body Wash, Shampoo and Conditioner

Showering can be a great time to give your skin the moisture it needs. By choosing the right moisturizing body wash, you can give your skin an extra little boost in the winter. The type you’ll need, much like the lotions, will depend on how dry your skin is. Using a body scrub can help exfoliate all the dead dry skin off, leaving smooth, moisturized skin. Have your chosen lotion with you while you take a shower. It is best to lotion up right after a hot shower as your skin will be more receptive to the moisture. It is also important to keep your hair and scalp moisturized in the winter with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. For hair that is doing alright, moisturizing shampoos from Head and Shoulders, Dove, Suave and others will do just fine. For severely dry hair and dandruff, Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner will work wonders! You can also use Tea Tree shampoo as a moisturizing body wash. If none of this works, talk with your doctor about choosing a medicated shampoo and conditioner that works for your hair. 

Wash and lotion your face in the winter as well. Use a moisturizing facial wash or makeup remover. Coconut oil acts as both a moisturizer and makeup remover, and will leave your face feeling extremely soft. The brand Philosophy also has a variety of moisturizing facial cleansers that also act as a makeup remover. Pair your facial lotion with yout moisturizing facial cleanser for the best results. If you want, you can throw in an exfoliating facial scrub, but the cleanser and lotion usually do the trick.

4) Dress Appropriately For the Weather

At the risk of sounding like our parents, I’m going to say it… WEAR YOUR JACKET OUTSIDE! As it gets colder, we’re going to have to bundle up in our jackets, scarves, hats, gloves and boots. It is already getting cold enough for this in New England!  Wearing the proper gear will help keep you warm and shield your skin against cold winter weather. It’s usually the skin that’s exposed in winter when you’re outside that becomes dry and cracked. So to keep your skin protected, wear a jacket, gloves, hat, scarf and whatever else you need to protect yourself from the cold weather. Staying warm helps skin stay smooth.

5) Relax With a Face Mask!

Along with using a moisturizing facial cleanser, do face masks. Skin care is self care, so why not take some time to relax while you do it? Using a detoxifying mask or hydrating mask are your best options for keeping away dry winter skin. The hydrating mask will of course hydrate your skin. It will leave you skin feeling soft and smooth. The detoxifying mask cleans out your skin. It will leave it feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Only use them once a week or once a month as needed and be sure to check the ingredients. This will help determine what kind of face mask you should use. 

All these tips and tricks have helped me keep my skin healthy in the winter. It’s simple: moisturize, stay hydrated and stay warm.  I hope these tips can help someone else. It can be a pain (literally and metaphorically) having dry skin, but if you find what works for you, it can be much easier to deal with. You may have to lather on more lotion sometimes, or use a little more of the shampoo once in a while, but  it all comes down your skin’s health. Whatever you need for that, do it!

Amanda is a junior at MCLA. An English major and dance minor, she is very creative. She loves spending time with her friends and family. Her favorite things to do are dance, write and be out in nature.