If you’ve ever experienced a harsh winter, you learn quick how to prepare for next time. For many of us, some of the first things that come to mind are to dress warmer, get better heating units in our house or car and plenty of hot soups. Forgetting anything? Besides the internal effects of the cold like shivering your butt off, you’re probably suffering through the external effects, like rough, dry hands! So why is it that so many people go through the winter and don’t alter their skin care routine for the season? We’re here to help you get educated on what exactly the winter months do to your skin, specifically your hands, and how to best prepare for Jack Frost.
What’s happening to my hands?! – If your hands are cracked, hurting and cold as ice, you may be going through some winter weather changes. Conditions like dry, flaking skin are a sure sign that the cold is getting to you. You may be finding that dead skin tends to accumulate quicker in the winter and rough patches of skin seem to be all over. This is because in the winter the cell turnover rate is deceased, leading to lizard skin. Serious water loss can lead to deep cracks and fissures in the skin can be extremely painful and even lead to infection.
Why is this happening? – The dry winter air is the first reason, and the most obvious, but this isn’t the only drying agent you’re facing. Artificial heaters are in almost constant use during the winter, and they definitely don’t help with the dryness situation. Dish washing and other daily scenarios where your hands are exposed to moisture and rapidly dries and it ends up being a knockout combination for your skin, in a bad way. Pick yourself up off the proverbial floor by limiting exposure as much as possible, such as using intense hand cream and gloves when going outside. When doing chores like washing dishes, be sure to use rubber gloves in the winter months and retain the moisture you already have. These steps combined with daily moisturizing, especially after you wash your hands will get you through the season without looking as ashy as a blizzard.
What ingredients should I use? – Stave off the dry feeling and rough texture with a hand moisturizer containing moisture drawing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, seaweed, and oils derived from plants such as sesame and sunflower. Hyaluronic acid sits on the surface of the skin and is known to hold 100x its weight in water. Now that’s some serious hydration! Seaweed is of course from the sea, so retaining moisture is one of its fortes. Combine that with a skin softening favorite like shea butter and you’ve got a winning combination to get through the winter smoothly.
Are there any extra steps I can take? – There are several steps you can take to make sure your hands are in pristine condition. Visit your local spa for a seaweed-based hand mask to hydrate rough skin and moisturize cuticles. Your hands can also benefit for professional hand treatments to exfoliate your skin. Specifically, gentle peels that use glycolic, lactic, or marine based acids will help improve the appearance of your skin tone and will complement your other skin care products.