When the temperature starts to dip and holiday decorations start showing up in stores, visions of gingerbread houses, time with loved ones, and family traditions are on everyone’s mind. Long, humid days are a thing of the past and are replaced by drier, cooler nights. With this change of climate comes a change to something often taken for granted: our skin’s health.
At Kyle ER, we want our community to enjoy this holiday season while keeping their skin unaffected by the change in weather. In honor of Healthy Skin Month, we are sharing our top three tips to keep your skin soft and healthy.
Tip #1: H20 and You
Did you know that the origin of the word “spa” is a Latin acronym for sanitas per aquam(healing through water)? Water has always played an essential role in wellness and its importance is not relegated to just the summer months. While it is tempting to submerge yourself in a hot relaxing bath this winter, too high of a temperature can actually be harmful to your skin. Dermatologists recommend not indulging in any baths or showers that are over 110° F in order to maintain your skin’s essential moisture and naturally occurring oils.
To make these baths more nourishing, consider adding Epsom salts to relax sore muscles or even finely-ground colloidal oatmeal if dry, itchy skin is troubling you. Since oatmeal does not dissolve in water, one suggestion for these baths is to fill a clean satchel with colloidal oatmeal and add that to the bath to reduce clean-up. Another solution to inflamed skin is baking soda, but as with any bath addition, you should do research and talk to your dermatologist to ensure any new ingredients used do not interfere with any pre-existing medical conditions.
In addition to these rejuvenating baths, hydrating your body is important to maintain healthy body functions and bright skin. Curious on how much water you should be drinking? Most scientists agree that 2.7 liters (91 ounces) is adequate for women and 3.7 liters (125 ounces) is adequate for men. This amount will vary depending on body composition and activity level. By not skimping on your daily water intake, your skin will thank you!
Tip #2: Updating Products
Thinner moisturizers and lightweight serums help us to beat the heat in spring and summer, but in colder months they fall short of our skin’s moisture needs. By taking inventory of your current winter skin concerns and skincare products, you will get a better picture of what formulas you would like to explore. From plumping serums packed with hyaluronic acid to shea-enriched sheet masks, there are a bounty of options that can enhance dry and tired winter skin.
Even oily skin benefits from additional moisture, as long as that moisture does not clog pores. If you rely on the dry climate to reduce oil production, you will find that your skin will actually produce more sebum (oil) to replace what the environment is taking, thus making your skin tighter and shinier. Introducing an overnight mask suited for oily skin in addition to a light moisturizer under daily sunscreen can make all the difference.
Additionally, any new products should be tested in a discrete area of your face and tested for a few days to ensure that it does not trigger any sensitivities or allergies. Even hydrating products such as lip balm should be monitored when you first begin using them. Anyone with rosacea or reactive skin should be also careful not to over-exfoliate or go overboard with new products. This includes retinol, or Vitamin A, based products, which can irritate skin that it was meant to revive. With a little due diligence and gradual addition of new products, your skin can stay nourished in even the coldest of climates.
One product that needs to stay on everyone’s shelf? Sunscreen! UVA and UVB rays do not take a holiday vacation and still contributes to accelerated aging and burning of the skin. An SPF of at least 30 is generally advised, and one should not rely on makeup to meet this requirement. It takes much more of the product than what is present in any cosmetic to protect your skin. Moisturizing products in addition to SPF make a perfect duo to combat winter skin.
Tip #3: Hands-On Treatment
As cold and flu season is now upon us, handwashing with soap and warm water is often touted as one of the best preventative measures to stop the spread of these illnesses. Be sure to wash hands especially after being in public or interacting with anyone exhibiting symptoms. By washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and focusing under the nails, fingers, palms, and back of the hand, your risk of spreading or catching these diseases is lowered.
With all this handwashing, it is important to restore balance to the moisture of your hands to avoid dry, cracked skin. Merritt Knize, licensed esthetician and owner of Austin-based Merritt Knize Skincare, shared her secrets to glowing skin with us. “Cocoa and shea butter are excellent ingredients to look for in hand and body lotions as they soothe chapped skin. Cuticle oil is also crucial to nail health—nobody wants to snag a hangnail when putting on gloves! Traditional carrier oils such as jojoba or argan are good choices and can also play double duty as a hair cuticle smoother.” That’s right: hair cuticles will also get dry in winter weather. Knize also adds, “By adding serum with a hyaluronic acid under your moisturizer, your skin can enjoy a nice gulp of water in these dry months.” It is getting easier to find lotions, serums, and even masks with this beneficial moisturizer, also called a humectant, so now is a good time to introduce it to your skincare regimen.
All these products can also be used to moisturize your feet at night. After working hard to create memorable holiday activities, we need to pay attention to the feet that carry us day after day. At night, wear your favorite thick socks to lock in moisture and protect your bedsheets.
This winter, treat yourself to the gift of healthy, glowing skin. As the saying goes, sharing is caring, so please share these tips with your loved ones to lower their risk of infection and to enjoy moisturized skin all year long. From our family at Kyle ER, we wish our community a wonderful start to the winter season and are available 24/7, even on holidays, for any emergency situations that might arise.
This blog is written by Elise Beaty, Marketing Manager at Nutex Health.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Kyle ER or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.