One of the most inconvenient things about winters in Minnesota is the dry skin that is brought upon by the cool weather. That rough feeling and eventual cracking of your skin is not just a nuisance, it’s also a health risk as it leaves your body open to infection.
Proper skincare in the winter plays a role in keeping you healthy for the holiday season. Before you find yourself with cracked and painful hands this year, take some precautions so you do not have to play catch-up later.
Why Does Cold Weather Dry Your Skin?
Winter is the perfect storm when it comes to drying out your skin. Many of us wash our hands and bathe more frequently in the winter which decreases the moisture in our skin. You should continue to wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs. However, just be mindful that the more you wash, the more you dry out your skin. Besides the water savings, this is also a great reason to decrease the time you spend taking a hot shower this winter.
The biggest factor though is the humidity both indoors and outdoors. How dry your skin becomes is largely influenced by the level of humidity in your environment. Cool air holds less moisture than warm air and as a result, the little moisture that is available is quickly soaked up. Some households will use a humidifier machine to counteract this exposure in their own home.
Moisturize Your Skin – the Most Obvious Solution
Moisturizing lotions are crucial to healthy winter skin. They’re a replacement for the natural oils in your skin that are washed off when cleaning your hands.
Apply moisturizer as you see fit, be it once a day at night, or more frequently if you think your hands are starting to dry up.
Do Not Forget Your Gloves
The less you expose your hands to the cold winter air the better. Gloves are the ideal solution for this and are a must for cold winter days.
When washing dishes your hands can dry out from the constant exposure to warm water, but you can mitigate this risk by wearing silicone dishwashing gloves.
Can I get Sunburn in the Winter?
Interestingly you can – though most of us do not spend enough time out in the sun in the winter to experience this. While UVB rays that cause sunburn may be strongest in the summer, they are present year-round.
The larger threat in the winter is from the sun on the ground. Since snow can reflect 80% of the sun’s UV light off the ground, you effectively get hit by the rays from two angles (the sky and the ground). This is also the reason why a sunny winter day can make it so difficult to drive in without squinting or using sunglasses.
Are You Drinking Enough Water?
It is amazing how wide-reaching the benefits of staying hydrated are for your overall health. That includes keeping your skin hydrated, as a lack of water intake can result in dry skin.
If you think you have been drinking enough water, take a look here.
Why are Dry Hands Such a Threat to Your Immune System?
Any open cuts or cracks in your skin are opportunities for bacteria and other viruses to creep in. If you work in an environment that requires you to use your hands in a manner that will likely dry them out (such as in hot water or outside), use gloves to protect yourself. Not only will gloves decrease your exposure to the cold outside air or the warm-hot water, but they will also protect your hands if they are already irritated.