Fall and Winter Skin Health

This time of year can be rough on your skin. Apart from dryness and irritation, the cold and dry air takes its toll by dulling your skin and causing you to look older. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent uncomfortable and unsightly dry skin. If dry skin is a recurring problem for you during the fall and winter months, follow these steps to relieve and comfort.

Monitor the thermostat and use a humidifier. When the cold weather really starts to kick in, it can be tempting to combat the cold by raising the temperature inside your home and at work. However, increasing the heat makes the air dry. This resulting dryness will also dry out your skin. Instead of turning the heat up too high, try keeping it at a comfortable temperature without causing the air to get too dry. If the dryness still proves to be too much, using a humidifier is a good way to put some needed moisture back into the air.

Modify your winter bathing and skin care habits. Even though they can be relaxing and soothing, taking long hot baths and showers when it’s cold outside actually dries your skin out. This is because the heat deprives your skin of necessary moisture and oils. Taking warm, short baths (no longer than 15 minutes) is much less damaging. Also, if you exfoliate on a regular basis, consider cutting down to no more than once a week to reduce skin irritation.

Wear soft fabrics. Warm clothes sure do come in handy when the temperatures start to plummet. Unfortunately, some of the warmest fabrics are irritating to the skin. When wearing such materials as wool and polyester, be sure to wear softer fabrics like cotton against your skin to avoid unnecessary irritation.

Maintain a skin-friendly diet. Another way to help your skin look and feel its best this fall and winter is to feed it. Squash, pumpkin, cranberries and blueberries are some of the best foods for your skin because they are high in antioxidants.

Treat your hands with care. To keep your hands from getting too dry, be sure to moisturize and use mild soap. Also, if you use hand sanitizer throughout your workday, try to use a moisturizer-containing sanitizer. This will help to reduce dryness caused by alcohol in the sanitizer.

Enjoy a safe and healthy fall and winter with less discomfort from dry skin brought on by cold weather. If your dry skin gets particularly extreme, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist. Do you have other cold weather skin care tips that have worked well for you? Please share!


Tips for Battling the Cold and Flu Season

Fall is here! That means cold and flu season is not far behind. Here are some simple precautions you and your family can take to help ward off illness this fall and winter.

Remember to get a flu shot. One significant means of protection from the flu is to be vaccinated on a yearly basis. A flu shot is recommended for anyone over the age of six months. High-risk individuals are especially urged to get a flu shot. Those who are considered to have a higher risk of contracting the flu and developing flu-related complications are young children, pregnant women, individuals with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or people 65 years and older. Although children younger than six months are also at high-risk, they are too young to receive the vaccine.

Wash your hands. One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to develop a habit of regularly washing your hands. Scrubbing hard with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds works wonders towards getting rid of cold and flu germs. If soap and water are out of reach, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also do the trick.

Sanitize your surroundings. Sanitizing objects that are in constant use is also a healthy habit to get into. Items that are handled everyday by multiple people should be regularly cleaned. These include phones, keyboards, the keys on fax machines and copiers, light switches, chair armrests, microwaves and doorknobs.

Cover your nose and mouth. Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing is an excellent way to prevent the spreading of germs to others. Also, avoid touching your face. Touching the eyes, nose and mouth is often a means by which germs are spread.

Get plenty of sleep and exercise. Staying well rested helps to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Another way to boost your immune system is by exercising regularly.

Maintain a healthy diet. Eating healthy food is another valuable tool to keep your immune system going strong. Fruits and vegetables are always a great choice! In particular, be sure to choose foods that are high in protein. Like sleep and exercise, protein is very good for your immune system. Some protein-rich foods are fish, eggs and yogurt.

If you have any more tips for avoiding illness this cold and flu season, feel free to share in the comments below.