Nothing feels better than stepping through the doors of your home on a cold winter’s day. Escaping from the frigid temperatures and chilling winds into your warm and toasty living room is great, but what is central heating do to your skin? Central heat uses a fan to circulate heat by blowing air across a heating element and through the air ducts in your home. Between the artificial warmth and the constant movement of the fans, your skin can take a serious hit in the winter and lose its natural oils and glow.
Cold weather combined with central heating can be harsh on skin and lead to increased sensitivity, dryness and cracking. So how can you escape these effects and still stay cozy? Try these tips and enjoy your best winter skin.
1. Invest in a humidifier. A humidifier forces moisture into the air by creating an evaporative mist with an internal fan. This will help combat the dry air being forced out by your heating system and can make all the difference for your skin.
2. Drink more water. That pale, sallow complexion you’ve come to associate with winter time is often caused by dehydrated skin. When you’re not sweating regularly, you sometimes forget to drink the appropriate amount of water. If you’re just not craving a cold glass of water, try a caffeine-free herbal tea or warmer water with lemon slices. Also, avoid excessive alcohol drinking—it dehydrates you and can affect your skin.
3. Don’t forget to exfoliate. Many people avoid exfoliating in the winter because they do not want to agitate their already sensitive skin. However, this can lead to a buildup of dead skin cells and clogged pores. Exfoliate at least once a week, and when choosing an exfoliator, try to find one with smaller granules as larger granules can be harsher on skin. Also look for natural exfoliates too—those tiny plastic pellets can end in in our water supply.
4. Double your moisturizer. Skin loses its natural moisture to the wind, central heating and low humidity, so double up on your moisturizing routine. And don’t forget—your face isn’t the only part of your body that is being exposed. Aside from lotion moisturizers, try to find lip glosses, body washes and make-up items with moisturizing properties.
5. Don’t over wash. In the winter, you’re probably not sweating every day. If you’re showering every single day, you may be doing your body more harm than good. Bathing every other day is actually better for your hair, and less exposure to hot water and scrubbing may be better for your skin. Also, reducing the temperature of your shower water (sorry—we know!) will do less damage to your dry skin. It may sound strange, but showering less and moisturizing more can help combat the effects of central heating. Another tip: don’t over wash your hands, and reapply lotion after every wash. Dry skin on your hands and muscles can lead to itching and cracking.
6. Food matters. Eating foods that nourish your skin and consuming the appropriate nutrients can give your skin a boost in winter. Add foods with Vitamins A, C, D and E and antioxidants (like fruits and vegetables) and Omega-3 oils (like fish) to your diet give your skin a little extra help. For added help, try taking Omega oils to replace the essential fats in your skin and help moisturize.
7. Lower the temperature. Try switching your heater off during the warmest part of the day (typically between noon and 3 p.m.). If you can get by with a few extra layers and blankets, running the heat less often can help ease skin dryness (and save on heating costs!). If you absolutely cannot go without it, try setting it to a lower temperature.