Beat 2 common winter skin care woes!
For some, the winter season is a Winter Wonderland. For others, to paraphrase Shakespeare, it is the winter of their discontent. The icy North winds and the wet snow do have an impact on our skin. We couldn’t narrow our winter grooming advice into just a few “quick tips”. So let’s walk through two of the most common winter skin care issues that guys experience.
Problem #1: Dry, flaking, and/or itchy skin
This is probably the most common issue we hear from clients during the winter months. First, consider your environment. When you are outdoors, the cold air freezes the moisture that is on your skin. Also, cold air cannot retain as much moisture. When you’re out in the cold, your skin is likely in a lower moisture environment. Then when you return indoors to warm up, the heaters create an even less hydrating environment. These environmental factors are the reasons for our skin being in such an unpleasant state.
Dry and cracked skin loses its protective barrier function. The reason some men are itchier in the winter is because allergens, microbes, and chemicals can penetrate into the cracks, triggering sensitization.
In our article Dry Skin: An Intro Guide for Men, we give suggestions on beating dry skin. In the winter months, those tips are just as effective:
-Protect your skin. Wear proper clothing and insulating garments. If your face will be exposed to the cold for a prolonged period, consider applying a silicone or dimethicone lotion.
-Avoid strong soaps. Look for gentle cleansers or glycerin-based soaps.
-Avoid hot baths/showers. And do not soak for too long; try to keep it under 20 minutes.
-Exfoliate your skin. This will help your moisturizer to be more effective. It can also relieve some of the itching.
-Use a quality moisturizer. Consider a richer (i.e. more oil) formula. “Oil” is not a dirty word, especially during the winter months. Read Choosing a Moisturizer to learn how to pick the right moisturizer for you.
-Use a humidifier. Place a humidifier in the rooms that you spend the most time in. Consider using distilled water to prevent extended exposure to inhaling microbacteria that are found in our water supply.
-Soak in Colloidal oatmeal. Add at least 1 cup to your bath and soak for 15-20 minutes. Particularly helpful for sufferers of eczema, psoriasis, and other dermatitis conditions. For more details, check out WebMD.
Problem #2: Fungus
Fungus isn’t a very sexy topic to talk about, we know. But it is important. Fungus can infect nails and the skin of your feet, particularly the soles and between the toes.In our article Nail Fungus: An Intro Guide for Men, we discuss that fungus generally thrives in environments with the 3 D’s: damp, dark and dirty. During the winter, we tend to keep our feet in the same few pairs of boots and shoes. Our footwear traps heat and the sweat from our feet, making those warm, moist boots perfect breeding grounds.
Prevention is the best remedy. Here are some tips to keep your odds against fungus ever in your favor:
– Go barefoot more often. Whenever you don’t need to be wearing shoes, kick them off to allow your feet to stay dry and be in the light.
– Keep an extra pair of shoes and socks handy in the event that one becomes too damp or wet.
– Change your socks during the day. Choose socks made of a minimum of 70% cotton, merino wool or bamboo. If you have particularly sweaty feet, merino wool is your best friend.
– Wash your feet 1-2 times a day, and ensure they are thoroughly dry.
– Rotate your shoes. Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row.
If you currently have fungus, part of the solution is to reduce the 3 D’s; keep your feet, socks and shoes dry, keep them clean and keep your feet out of shoes whenever possible.
The other half of the solution is to target the organisms that are growing. Easy and accessible treatments are available over the counter in the form of topical anti-fungal creams and sprays, such as Footlogix’s Anti-Fungal products. You can also speak with your doctor and be prescribed an anti-fungal cream.
Bonus winter skin care tip
The winter season is the best time to undergo cosmetic procedures, like chemical peels, laser hair removal, tattoo removal and other cosmetic laser treatments. During the winter months, the UV index is generally lowest, we wrap ourselves in layers, and we tend to spend much less time outdoors. If you are considering any of these treatments, book them before the springtime birds arrive.