Did you know that skin is our body’s largest organ? The average adult’s skin weighs around 20 pounds or more (for comparison, the average liver weighs around 3 pounds).
Skin is sensitive and complex. It’s full of nerves, pores, sweat glands and fat. It has several layers to keep our internal parts in and everything else out. But, like all of our organs, we have to take care of our skin. It needs a helping hand to stay healthy, and this is especially true during winter.
Winter weather can be rough on skin no matter where you are in the world, but we San Diegans reside in a desert, where winter temperatures are mild, but dry. And that dryness can wreak havoc on your skin. Keeping your skin clean, hydrated and protected enhances its overall health, but it also allows the skin to more effectively guard your body from irritants and germs.
Here are our top 10 tips to keep your skin hydrated through the San Diego winter:
Bathe and cleanse your body in lukewarm water every day. Super hot water can strip oils from the skin, making it dry, dehydrated and irritated. Use organic cleansers and skin care products (including perfume and makeup), and especially do not use products that contain alcohol, retinol or alpha hydroxy acid, because those chemicals will harmfully strip your skin of its natural oil. When you’re drying off, pat your body and face dry, as opposed to rubbing it harshly.
Gently exfoliate your face to remove dead skin cells no more than once a week. Use exfoliating body wash once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells from the rest of your body. This will help increase the effectiveness of moisturizers.
Apply face moisturizer and body moisturizer immediately after you get out of the shower in the mornings as well as before you go to sleep. This will seal the hydration into your skin. Again, the quality of these lotions is important, so be sure to look at the ingredients and purchase products from brands you know and trust. Also, wear lip balm to hydrate and protect your lips.
Most people think that sunscreen is only for the spring and summer months, but it’s just as important in the winter, too. Remember that when you live in a desert, sunscreen should be worn every day. You can find also moisturizers and foundations with SPF in them. Learn more: How to Pick the Best Sunscreen for Your Family
Homemade face masks
Homemade food, masks, and everything else homemade is always better, because you know exactly what’s in them. Make DIY face masks once a week to give your face that extra burst of hydration. Here are three awesome homemade face masks that will alleviate dry skin this winter.
Use a humidifier
If you’re using your heater this winter, that can dry out the air in your home and negatively impact your skin’s health. Humidifiers can alleviate dry skin, dry eyes, dry nasal passages, cracked lips, sinus infections and skin conditions. Some humidifiers are expensive, but you can find humidifiers at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond for as little as $20.
Put down the hot chocolate and pumpkin spice lattes and instead, consume lots of water, as well as foods with high water content, such as fruits and watery vegetables. Keeping your body hydrated will in turn keep your skin hydrated.
Detoxify your body
Cleanse your body of harmful toxins by exercising, drinking fresh juice, eating healthy and organic foods, using a detoxifying facial cleanser, using a detoxifying clay mask once a week and taking an epsom salt bath once or twice a week.
Make sure you’re not deficient in the following vitamins: vitamin C, zinc, omega-3 and copper. If so, then taking these vitamins can improve the health of your skin by increasing production of collagen and elastin, making your skin stronger, smoother, softer and reducing inflammation. (Do not overdose on vitamins – please consult your doctor.)
Wear clothes for sensitive skin
Sometimes certain materials in the clothes you wear or blankets you use can irritate your skin, causing itchiness, rashes or flakey skin. If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure you are only wearing or using fabrics that are fragrance-free, dye-free and hypoallergenic.
Your skin, being an organ, can reveal a lot about your health. For more tips to keep your body healthy, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.