It’s tempting to dream about hibernation during a blistery winter, but chances are your skin will still have to face drying elements like wind and low temperatures this season. To make sure your skin stays soft and healthy, it’s a good idea to keep hydrating tools on your nightstand. The convenient placement will act as a reminder to treat your skin while you sleep.
Here are some common winter-weather skin problems, and what you should have handy to deal with them.
Tight, dry facial skin
Prepare your complexion for battle against harsh winter assaults by applying a hydrating overnight mask three or four times a week. These types of treatments are thicker than a night cream and are formulated to work while you sleep without clogging pores, says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Look for versions made with hyaluronic acid, a magnet for moisture, and omega oils, which are rich in nourishing fatty acids.
Thanks to cold weather — and runny noses that force us to breathe through our mouth — the thin skin on our lips sometimes suffers the most this time of year. “Once cracked and fissured, lips can take a long time to heal because you’re constantly using them to speak, eat, and emote all day,” says Dr. Fusco. Use a lip serum with sugar at night, which works to moisturize and soothe problem areas.
Itchy, parched arms and legs
Hot showers and indoor heat this time of year can suck the moisture right out of your skin, causing itchiness. Keep a thicker moisturizer, like a body butter rather than a lotion or cream, next to your bed to re-energize flaky skin while you sleep. “The heavier formulas allow the product to hydrate and form a barrier, diminishing moisture loss,” Fusco says. “Butters and ‘whipped’ products are high in oils and emollients,” she adds.
The beauty of having a humidifier in your bedroom is that it can remedy any number of wintertime woes, including cracked lips and dry sinuses, according to the Mayo Clinic. Humidifiers produce water vapor that increases moisture in the air that’s been otherwise lost from the drying heat. Look for a model that utilizes upside-down plastic water bottles to maintain a healthy, safe environment, Fusco says. “That way the bottles can be disposed of after they’re empty,” she says, explaining that it’s more hygienic.
Especially troublesome areas of dryness can appear for a variety of reasons. If a spot like the elbows is already prone to dryness, then cold weather can make matters worse. The skin between your nose and lips can become irritated because of excessive nose-blowing. Stash a moisturizing, multi-purpose healing balm closeby at night to smooth on irritated patches. “Multi-purpose means that it should be tolerated by a wide spectrum of skin types and anatomic areas,” explains Fusco.
Dark under-eye circles
A lack of sunlight in the winter can take a major toll on your under-eye area, according to a 2011 study conducted by Ama Labratories on behalf of Adonia Organics. The idea is that the darkness makes paler skin more pronounced, and therefore under-eye circles more obvious. Minimize dryness and discoloration with an eye serum formulated to hydrate and brighten any baggage. Apply right before drifting off at night, and once in the morning after you’ve hit snooze for the last time.
This article originally appeared on EverydayHealth.com: 6 Ways to Winterize Your Skin
By Alexis Farah, Everyday Health
Reviewed by Bhargavi Patham, MD