After months of avoiding super-cold temps, it looks like Mother Nature has decided it's finally time for it to be winter. For me, that means dry winter skin is going to be my reality for the next several months. Even though I'm going to be bundled up in leggings, sweaters, and scarves all winter long, I still want my skin to remain moisturized. With all the conflicting information out there, I wondered how often I should apply lotion to my skin, according to science.
Turns out there's a wealth of information out there from associations, medical schools, and dermatologists about how (and how often) you should be applying lotion. The good news? I waded through it all so that you wouldn't have to. Let's start with the basics.
According to a publication from Harvard Medical School, lotion works because it's made up of water (which moisturizes your skin) suspended in a greasy substance (which holds the water in). That's the reason that your grandma swears by Vaseline — it may be greasy, but it's a great moisturizer.
Finding the right lotion is all about trial and error and finding what's right for you and your particular skin. Once you find it, you'll want to apply it directly after showering, shaving, or exfoliating.
This tip comes directly from the Mayo Clinic, so you can trust it. After showering, pat skin until it's barely dry (don't rub), then immediately moisturize. This helps trap water in the cells near the surface of your skin, which is great for hydration.
Some people don't shower every day, which is actually great for your skin — the hot water can totally dry it out. If that's you, you probably don't need to moisturize every day. However, it's good to moisturize certain areas of your skin every day. For example, if your heels and feet are dry, a daily lotion sesh before you go to bed can totally help.
You should also be moisturizing your face more often than the rest of your body (I usually stick to two times a day). In the morning, I use SPF, and at night, I use a heavier hydrating cream. According to Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist, it's best to apply face lotion after your face toner, because your skin will be primed to soak up the hydrating properties.
Finally, you should definitely be moisturizing your hands frequently, especially during the winter months. During cold and flu season, you'll naturally wash your hands more often than normal, and that can majorly dry them out. I know my hands get dry and cracked if I'm not careful. That's the reason I always keep a mini bottle of hand lotion in my bag and at my desk at work (and the Mayo Clinic agrees that's a good idea).
Luckily, with these tips, you'll be set to keep your skin hydrated all winter.
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