Winter Skin Care For Older Skin
Winter takes its toll on our bodies, but we don’t take care of ourselves as much as we do in the summer. We’re all familiar with summer-time warnings to apply sunscreen and cover up in the sun, but winter skin care just doesn’t get the same level of publicity. Chapped lips and dry skin don’t seem to merit a public health campaign, even though chapped, bleeding knuckles are an open doorway to infection. So here’s some clear, straight-forward winter skin care tips to keep your skin healthy and happy all season long.
Note: These winter skin care tips are not only for women. Men, you definitely deserve to live without bleeding knuckles and peeling lips. Lots of skin care products are now offered in ‘manly’ fragrances or totally unscented. No one will ever know … except you
Gloves: Your hands can really suffer from the winter weather. Make sure to buy good gloves ones that have a waterproof layer (absorbent fabric is no use in the rain or snow). You could also try wearing a pair of thin leather gloves underneath a warmer fuzzy pair for water protection, or even put plastic washing-up gloves underneath your regular winter gloves. Wearing two pairs of gloves like this has another advantage: you won’t expose your skin to the biting winter wind when you need to take your warm bulky gloves off to find your keys or pay a street vendor.
Tip: If you’re going to be wearing your gloves for a while, rub some hand cream in before putting them on. Covering your hands just after applying moisturizer helps them absorb the cream better and stops the moisturizer from evaporating before it’s been absorbed.
Sunscreen: Remember that you need sunscreen in winter, too. Older skin is at particular risk of being damaged even more by winter sun. Bright, crisp winter days can send a lot of UV light your way even though it’s so cold, especially if it’s reflecting off snow on the ground. Winter sunshine is great for your mood but not so great for your skin, so look for a moisturizer that includes UV protection, or make applying sunscreen part of your winter going-out routine as well.
Eyes: Don’t neglect eye protection in winter. The sun can still be dazzling bright in winter time, especially when it’s shining onto bright white snow and ice. When you drive, you might need sunglasses even more in wintertime than in the summer. The low angle of the sun on winter mornings and evenings makes it more likely to shine right in your eyes. Squinting into the sun gives you wrinkles! And more seriously than that, it’s dangerous to drive squinting into the sun. You could easily miss seeing someone step out in front of you in all the sun dazzle.
Moisturizer – the right way: Hopefully, you’re already applying moisturizer every day to stop your skin drying out. It’s best to apply moisturizer straight after showering, while your pores are still open from the warm water. Your skin will absorb it much faster that way. While you might be attached to your favorite moisturizer, it’s good to reassess your choice when winter comes a-knocking. Oil-based moisturizers are best for winter time, since they help to lock moisture in your skin and stop the wind stripping it from you. Older skin also often needs a heavier cream or moisturizing ointment to lock in the moisture. If you are a die-hard fan of a particular skin care brand, see if they offer a heavy body cream as well as the thinner lotion. But do check the ingredients for lanolin, which many people can become allergic to over the years.
Winter skin-care tip: Vaseline is one of the best winter skin care moisturizers out there, if you can cope with the grease. If you can’t imagine slathering it all over your body, use it on your most exposed areas – lips, knuckles, and perhaps your cheeks. it’s naturally water repellent, too, so it won’t wash off in the rain.
Lips: Cold winds and rain bring chapped and peeling lips – so wear a good lip balm which also includes UV protection. Remember to carry one around with you so that you can reapply it frequently.
At home: We all want to keep warm at home, but central heating can dry out your skin. It’s especially a problem for older seniors who spend a lot of the winter indoors. Make sure to use a room humidifier to keep some moisture in your home. Winter is also not a good time to wallow in a long hot shower. The hot water strips moisture from your skin faster than your post-shower moisturizer can return it. Keep your showers warm but not hot. If you need a long soak, try a warm bath with moisturizing bath oils, or replace it with a pampering massage.
If you’re going to be wearing your gloves for a while, rub some hand cream in before putting them on.
Keep drinking: Once the hot weather ends, we often put away our water bottles and reduce the amount of water we drink. Not so fast! Keeping properly hydrated is the key to good skin health (and all-over-health, too). Central heating can evaporate more fluid than you realize, too. Even in winter, make sure that you drink enough water or other fluids.
Skin care products: Take a careful look at the skin-care products you use. You might be attached to a particular product, but as your skin gets older, it’s in danger of being damaged by the same cleansers, exfoliants or astringent soaps that you loved when you were 30. Consider switching to a more gentle skin-care line to avoid scrubbing away your skin’s self-protective layers, at least during the winter’s onslaught. Unless you work as a chimney sweep, you probably don’t need to scrub your face every day. You should also beware of water-less anti-bacterial cleansers and gels. Many of these are alcohol-based, which is harsh on your skin’s natural springiness. Ironically, even many over-the-counter anti-aging creams can dry out your skin. Just use a gentle cleanser and, of course, a good moisturizer.
Important: if your skin suddenly becomes drier, itchier, or changes in unexpected ways without any clear cause, don’t just ignore it. Consult your physician or a dermatologist. They can check that your winter dry skin is not actually a cover for xerosis, eczema, or a fungal infection, each of which needs to be treated with specific medicated products. They will also often be able to recommend the best winter skin care products to keep your skin soft and supple throughout the cold and rain. Finally, there is a small risk that strange skin changes could be an early sign of skin cancer, so don’t ignore your body.
Don’t forget that no part of your body works in isolation. Healthy, glowing skin can only be achieved through a healthy diet, a regular exercise regimen, and good sleep. During the winter, our bodies are in particular need of healthy fats, so try to include ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados in your winter diet.