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Pittsburgh Winter Skincare 101

Derm tips to protect your body's largest organ

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tips for winter skincare can keep cold temperatures funPittsburgh winters take a real toll on your skin. Dry skin can lead to discomfort and, if neglected, can affect your skin’s elasticity and trigger outbreaks of irritated skin.

Help keep your skin feeling healthy and hydrated this winter with these tips:

Drink water. Hydrating your body from the inside out plays an important role in keeping skin supple and soft. When you’re dehydrated, the body pulls water from any source it can, including your skin. A good rule of thumb is at least 8 cups of water a day.

Hydrate with food. You can also boost your internal water reserves by eating foods rich in water, nutrients, vitamins and beneficial fats and oils. Fish, nuts and avocados all contain plenty of essential nutrients that help promote well-hydrated skin. Foods like cucumber, zucchini, lettuce and watermelon also naturally have a high concentration of water.

applying lotion for healthy skincareUse body lotion. Your skin naturally loses moisture throughout the day through evaporation, but you can help trap the hydration you add from bathing by adding a layer of quality lotion. Kathy Romero, of Your CBD Store in Bellevue, carries a line of award-winning skincare products, including lotion. “Hemp oil is high in omega and vitamins,” she explained.

Curious about the benefits of CBD skincare? Romero says to come in, ask questions and take home samples. “We are always teaching, sharing and explaining CBD. I would say that most days, more than half of my time is spent educating.”

Protect skin. Exposure to harsh weather can quickly dry and chap your skin, so any time you’ll be outdoors, especially for extended periods of time, be sure to cover up exposed areas. Keep an extra set of gloves and a scarf in your vehicle so you’re prepared for unexpected time outdoors, whether from an accident or impromptu stop at a local park for some fresh air and exercise.

Change out of wet clothes. Always remove wet clothes as soon as possible. Not only do cold, wet clothes affect your body’s ability to regulate internal temperature, but they can also create the friction that leads to uncomfortable and painful skin irritation. If getting wet is unavoidable, consider layering your clothing so you can shed wet outer layers quickly before they can soak through.

Use a humidifier. The indoor climate becomes considerably drier in the winter months when the furnace runs regularly. Using a humidifier can help restore a level of humidity that’s better for your skin. Aim for humidity levels in the range of 35-50%; depending on your climate, you may need to err on the lower side of the scale to reduce condensation on windows.

Wear sunscreen. Winter sun rays are just as strong as summer rays, even if you don’t feel their heat quite as much. In fact, snow burns that result from the sun reflecting off the snow can be even more dangerous than regular sunburns. Protect your skin from burning and drying out by using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 any time you venture outdoors.

6 tips for those with dry skin from Harvard Health

1. Turn down the thermostat. Hot air tends to be drier than cooler air.

2. Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can help. The problem is that moisture may be soaked up in walls and furniture or disperse rapidly, depending on how airtight your home is.

3. Take warm, not hot, baths and showers. Hot water whisks away the fatty substances in the skin that help it retain water. Some doctors recommend bath oils. You can also use bath oil as a post-bath moisturizer by rubbing yourself down with a teaspoon of it diluted in a couple cups of warm water.

4. Use a mild soap. Dove is a familiar brand. Cleansers like Cetaphil are an alternative to soap.

5. Wear loose clothing. Clothing that binds and rubs can dry out skin.

6. Stay protected. Cold, windy air is very drying, so bundle up and wear warm mittens or gloves to protect your hands.

Content Courtesy Family Features, Harvard Health and Remedy Skincare.

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Meg A. Watt

Meg is relatively new to the Pittsburgh scene but she's already made herself a community fixture through her involvement in community events, boards, the SHOP Bellevue social and this site. She started her career as a journalist and still writes daily as a Content Director, and loves that this publication lets her come full circle with those skills - and her love of the North Boroughs. You can also find her writing on www.lit.buzz where she waxes poetic about all the books she loves. If you see her around Lincoln Avenue, she likely has her husband, grown daughters or a pack of dogs around; don't worry, no one bites! (And before you ask, yes; that is really her name)

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