Simple and effective tips to protect your skin when it’s freezing outside. Brrrrrr….
1: Take fewer, faster and cooler Showers
One shower a day is enough! If you’re out playing sports or sweating a lot you can shower more often – but the key thing is to keep the time spent in the shower to a minimum – staying in the shower too long is dehydrating. Keep your showers under 10 minutes and use water that’s just warm enough.
2: Use a bland gentle shower cream / emollient
Avoid harsh, drying soaps for sensitive skin – soap can trigger a flare-up of eczema, worse still if it’s strongly fragranced/scented or full or preservatives – avoid perfumes, antibacterial components or deodorant ingredients.
Skin pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity, healthy skin is naturally acidic, with a pH of about 5.5. This acidity plays an important role in skin barrier function and skin health – soaps raise the skin’s pH and disrupt this delicate balance.
3: Be careful of harsh sponges or washcloths
Facecloths / washcloths do make you feel clean but they do so by literally stripping the skin by mechanical force and weakening the skin barrier. Instead use your hands to wash your body.
4: Focus on key areas of your body
In the western world we’ve gotten into the habit of over washing our skin; ok, we all like to be clean but sometimes things go to the extreme – yes teenagers – we mean you! Washing yourself with soap or harsh shower gels can really dry out and weaken your skin – especially if you’re doing it several times a day.
Instead, concentrate on cleaning on the key areas such as your armpits, groin, your feet, and collar areas – anywhere that tends to sweat basically. This way you’ll be clean but avoid drying out or irritating your skin.
5: Drying after washing
After showing gently pat (rather than rub) your skin dry; this leaves some moisture on the skin. Be sure to dry skin folds, under arms, groin and in between your toes thoroughly though! Apply a moisturiser, after drying, to seal remaining water into the skin.
6: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!!
It’s always good to keep your skin moisturised, but especially so in winter because to the extremes of cold and heat, going outdoors and back indoors, take a heavy toll on our skin. Buy products that are bland, un-fragranced and preservative free.
If you have questions about your skin contact the ISF Helpline for one-to-one information and support.