Saturday, January 3, 2015

Relief for Winter Skin

For many with chronic conditions, problems with skin are a year round issue, and so winter’s cold and dry air creating adds insult to injury. While some products may be very helpful, others can be dangerous. Ingredients like Vitamin A (retinol) can be particularly harmful for some people and is generally not recommended. Anything with added fragrance should also be avoided. However, in addition to lotions and creams, there are other things you can do to avoid “winter skin.”

Consider the following:
•  Limit baths and showers to 5 to 10 minutes and use warm rather than hot water. Go easy on the cleanser. Blot skin gently dry-no hard rubbing. Since ointments, creams and lotions work by trapping existing moisture in your skin, applying just after the bath, showering or hand washing is important.

• Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion: Look for a cream or ointment that contains an oil, such as olive oil or jojoba oil. Shea butter also works. Many cultures use oils, such as grape seed and sunflower directly from the bottle. Do not use oils such as corn, canola or other vegetable oils are many are genetically modified and/or can actually dry your skin. Check out the products you are currently using or are considering at Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website. Top 4 Moisturizers for Dry Skin includes some good ways to save money, improve your skin without going any further than your kitchen pantry.

• Avoid any product with Fragrances. Don’t use deodorant soaps, skin products that contain alcohol, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) For other safety tips, check Environmental Working Group’s Top Tips for Safer Products.

• Use lip balm:  If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.

• Wear Gloves: Whether it’s washing the dishes, cleaning or going outside, gloves protect your hands.

• Use hypoallergenic laundry detergent

Wear cotton or silk under clothing, avoiding direct contact with wool or other rough material next to your skin

• Avoid being close to your heat source. While we all love standing right next to the wood stove or fireplace, doing it too long can dry out your skin.

• Hydrate you and your house: As one of our local runners noted, Water, water, and more water. I've tried a million things because of winter running and dry skin but drinking tons of water has always been the best fix. Humidifier for the house also helps


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