Simple Tips to Deal With Winter Skin Problems
Hooray for the end of this miserable year! We’ve made it this far, gang. Now that the colors of autumn are falling off of the trees, the world is finally slipping into the final season: Wintertime. Ah, wintertime. As Lucy from the Peanuts would say: “You know, Santa Claus and ho-ho-ho, and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls.”
The happiest season of all usually tends to put the public in a pretty good mood, but when you’re looking beyond colored lights, candles, and feasts with the family, winter also carries its share of problems: terrible weather, incoming viruses and colds, and long, nights, to name a few.
One of the most annoying parts, though, is dealing with dry winter skin. If you’re one of those people who, unfortunately, has to cope with winter skin, fear not. We’ve got plenty of tips to help your skin look, feel, and stay happy and healthy this winter season.
Try Some of the Organic Green Stuff
Pop quiz: Would you rather use a cosmetic that was created in a laboratory, full of weird ingredients that were also created there — or something natural and organic, grown straight from the Earth? The second one? Good choice! An estimated 70% of US consumers agree with you. If you’re curious about cannabis-infused products, then you’re not the only one.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a hugely popular tool in the medical world these days, mainly due to patients getting all of the medicinal benefits without the “high” that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will give. It is proven to be safe and organic with virtually no adverse effects, but is still in the cannabis family and can be purchased in flower form.
CBD is a fantastic way to naturally manage and treat chronic pain — and CBD oil can be hugely beneficial when used as a topical solution during part of a skincare routine. If you are curious about using it but are not yet ready to break your social distance, look into cannabis delivery services near you. Naturally, rates and availability will vary, but it’s worth checking into. CBD oil can be great for your skin in so many ways:
- It helps with acne. Known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, CBD oil can soothe irritated, bumpy skin and help to more easily manage breakouts. It’s also incredibly mild and is a good choice for children and others with very sensitive skin.
- Your hands will benefit. Dry, chapped hands love a nice drink of CBD. Already antioxidant-rich, using a lotion or other ointment infused with CBD oil will immediately get to work. It will not only repair the cracks and chapped skin on your hands, but it will also begin working internally to treat whatever minor aches and pains you might be experiencing in your muscles.
- Excema is no match against the healing properties of CBD oil. In the same way that everyday dry skin can be treated, so can eczema breakouts. By applying the ointment directly onto the breakout site, the healing properties begin to seep into your bloodstream and start repairing your broken skin. Its anti-inflammatory benefits return here as well, calming your skin and managing your discomfort.
Although the United States still has a long way to go in terms of full cannabis legalization, there has at least been some progress made. Something around the number of 15 states (plus Washington DC) have legalized the herb, while many others are awaiting election results this year. In the meantime, however, the country has more or less accepted CBD, the “little sister” of the traditionally psychoactive cannabis plant.
Consider Your Water
Did you know that, thanks to an excess of mineral deposits, water can be considered “hard?” Interestingly, New Mexico, Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, Utah, and Indiana are the six states known to have the hardest untreated groundwater. That is not to say that you’re necessarily in the clear if you live in any of the other 44 states; it is possible that hard water is damaging and drying out your skin.
If you’re not sure how to tell whether or not you have hard water, there are a few telltale signs (that is, beyond your dry and itchy skin):
- Your laundry is starting to smell and feel weird. It’s not uncommon for laundry left in the washer too long to have a weird moldy odor, but if you start to notice that your clothes have a strange, almost vomit-like smell, then this is one sign. The other sign is that they feel stiff and rough, as though the soap isn’t washing out of them properly. (If you have hard water, then this is exactly what is happening).
- Visible white scale water spots on your faucets, sinks, and other kitchen and bathroom fixtures. This could also apply to the dishes after you hand-wash or remove them from the dishwasher — are there spots all over the place?
- You’re beginning to notice that you and your family have dull, limp hair. Excess mineral deposits affect your hair the same way they affect your laundry: Product like shampoo and conditioner is not properly rinsed, resulting in dull, lifeless hair. Note that this is only one possible reason why your hair could be suffering — if you’re experiencing other symptoms like hair loss, lethargy, or are running a fever, talk to your doctor in case it is something else.
Although the excess minerals are not at all medically harmful to you, they can irritate your skin by drying it out. This can mean you’re itchy more often, which can result in clogged pores, inflammation, and overall discomfort. If you suspect that hard water might be the culprit, there are several very manageable ways to cope with it:
- Install a water filtration system on your shower head, faucets, or whatever your budget allows. These nifty little gadgets do exactly what it sounds like: Filter out the extra minerals from your water, allowing it to soften. You can (and should) have one already if you have a well system, but consider the state of the filters. Is it time for a change? You can usually tell based on what level of grossness is inside the filter — the browner, the more you need to swap it out.
- Keep the shower area clean. This might seem like your mom secretly slipping into nag you, but for real, keeping the shower/bathtub clean can help to cut down on soap scum and protect your skin. What is soap scum? It’s that nasty buildup that you see sometimes in a ring around your shower, caused by hard water mixing with soap and leaving behind residue. Soap scum breeds quickly, eventually collecting skin and oil residue from your body — and if you take a long, soaking bath in soap scum, imagine the effect on your skin. Gross, right? Regularly clean and wipe out your shower to keep up on it and to protect yourself.
- Keep your water heater system’s temperature between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Very hot showers or baths can irritate your skin more quickly if you have hard water, so try and limit how long you’re in the shower.
Taking care of hard water will always be a battle, especially if you live in an area that is more prone to have it. The good news is that, even though hard water is annoying, you can take steps to deal with it. Remember that doing things like keeping the shower clean and cutting down on how much hot water you use can have a huge impact on your dry skin. While it might not solve all of your skin issues, it can certainly help.
Maintain Your Indoor Temperature
Your skin doesn’t like abrupt temperature changes, so if you go from a blizzard outside to a 75-degree house, your skin might freak out a little bit. By “freak out,” we mean itchy, dry skin that might or might not cause flare-ups, so keeping a steady indoor temperature can help.
If you aren’t sure if your HVAC system is up to snuff, contact a reputable heating and cooling service near you. This should ideally be done in the fall, before the weather starts taking a nasty turn, but better late than never. Make sure that the heating service you choose is properly licensed and certified to make HVAC repairs in your state, and ensure that they take care of residential HVAC needs. The very best ones will make minor repairs and clean out the system during the visit, so ask which services are included in the price.
Another tip for keeping a steady interior temperature is to make repairs to your interior windows. Very old, improperly sealed windows are not nearly as effective as more modern options, especially modern windows that have been given the Energy Star label (certifying them as energy efficient). Is it time for a window repair? It’s an expense, sure, but imagine how much money you’re spending on heating bills during the winter.
Protect Yourself From Harsh Cleansers or Chemicals
It has been made more than abundantly clear this year that sanitizing and keeping a clean home is vital to your health. However, even though “SANITIZE” has been the buzzword of 2020, remember what these chemicals can be doing to your hands.
It is always recommended that you wear thick gloves while cleaning, especially if you’re dealing with bleach, ammonia, or any other hazardous chemical. Gloves don’t just keep your hands clean while you go wrist-deep into your cleaning regimen; they also protect your skin from coming into contact with chemicals that can irritate it.
You might also consider changing which cleansers you use from here on out. It’s important to choose a product that will clean well, but it is equally important to choose a sanitizing agent that will disinfect surfaces and prevent germs from spreading. Some of our favorite low-chemical products include:
- Good old-fashioned blue Dawn and water. This makes for an excellent all-purpose cleaner, from cleaning floors to windows to countertops. Dawn smells amazingly clean, and its degreasing properties work like a charm to cut through especially tough stains and messes.
- White vinegar. While it is still hotly debated on how effective vinegar sanitizes versus bleach, vinegar is a totally nontoxic cleaning and cooking agent that works well on shining and polishing surfaces as well as sanitizing them.
- Bon Ami powdered detergent. Bon Ami is like the nontoxic version of Comet, containing nothing harsh and is perfectly safe to use around kids and pets. Best of all, you can use Bon Ami in toilets, showers, sinks, and even on ovens and stoves.
When All Else Fails, Seek Professional Help
Your family doctor, while knowledgeable and able in their field, may or may not be the best person to advise on skincare. If you’re suffering especially badly this winter from rough skin, ask your GP about a local dermatologist in the area. Your doctor likely already has a list of names ready to go, and might even have already been planning to send you in another direction anyway, so it’s definitely worth asking for a referral.
Like any other specialist, a dermatologist will be able to answer very specific questions about your concerns; they can recommend and prescribe specialty medication for your unique situation; and they can even identify blemishes, moles, or anything else you might be concerned about. Anybody and everybody can visit a dermatologist; you don’t have to be suffering from an active outbreak or some other vicious malady. Simply visiting the good doctor to ask questions is reason enough to schedule you for an appointment.
It seemed like this awful year would never end, yet here we are, finally at the dawning of a new year. Thank every deity. Now that winter is here and we have another three months of it to deal with, help your skin to sustain the temperature changes the best way that you can. Whether that means visiting a specialist, applying organic oils to your skin, or double-checking your water system, there are plenty of ways to prepare for and deal with winter skin. Speak to your doctor and find out what the best options are for you and your skin.