When the winter weather hits, we tend to switch up our skincare to give ourselves a boost of hydration and nourishment. But sometimes we need a little extra help— especially when venturing out into the elements. Which is why properly protecting your skin in the snow could make all the difference in how chapped and irritated or smooth and balanced you feel. So to find out some of the best ways to guard your skin against the effects of the cold, wind, and snow, I emailed with a couple of experts.
Jordana Mattioli, NYC-based esthetician, and Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, both let me in on some of the best ways to protect everything from your hands to your lips in the face of winter weather. And believe it or not, with these tips, you'll actually be able to make it through the season without irritating windburn or painful chapping. So you can avoid your usual dry and irritated skin in favor of a healthy glow, here are six ways to protect your skin when you venture outdoors this winter:
1. Layer Hand Protection
To keep the skin on your hands guarded against the elements, it always helps to wear gloves. But if you need an extra layer of protection, Mattioli suggests slathering on a rich hand-salve before putting on your gloves. This will help keep your hands hydrated and prevent any cracking.
2. Pick The Right Lip Balm
According to both Mattioli and Dr. Tanzi, a good lip balm is absolutely necessary in winter weather. To make sure your lips are getting the best possible protection though, Dr. Tanzi warns against licking your lips as this can actually make chapped lips worse, and Mattioli says to avoid balms with camphor, menthols, or anything minty or tingly. Instead, look for a formula that contains dimethicone or petrolatum, says Dr. Tanzi, as these ingredients will best help maintain lip health in the snow and wind.
3. Avoid Scratchy Fabrics
"Avoid scratchy fabrics in your scarves, like wool, which can be itchy and disrupt the barrier on the skin," says Mattioli. If you want to keep warm without putting your skin at risk, look for softer fabrics or try a heat-tech accessory instead.
4. Wear Sunglasses
The delicate area around your eyes can become very dry and sensitive in the face of cold gusts of wind or snow, explains Mattioli. To keep this area protected, she recommends wearing sunglasses— they'll even help with that glare from the snow.
5. Cover Up With A Scarf
Especially if you already have sensitive or rosacea-prone skin, the wind and snow can wreak havoc on your face, says Dr. Tanzi. To avoid developing skin sensitivity or even a facial rash from being too exposed to the elements, she recommends covering your face (all the way up to your eyes) with a scarf whenever you walk around outside in the winter.
6. Slather On A Thick Cream
One of the best ways to protect your skin though, is by using a thick cream before you have to go outside. Dr. Tanzi explains that, especially if you enjoy skiing or other outdoor, winter sports, the cold, wind, and snow can dehydrate your skin and leave it more susceptible to inflammation and damage. However, slathering on a thick cream that contains ceramides will help replenish the natural barrier function of the skin and protect it from harsh, winter elements.
So the next time you venture out in the winter weather, remember to take some of these precautions. After all, you can enjoy your time in the snow so much more if you're not worried about your skin.