If you’re anything like me, this time of year is marked by audible sighs of relief every time you break out the lotion for your dry (or even chapped) hands. You’ve probably also noticed your hair is drier, too – with a lot more “flyaways” (or “Who-Hairs” according to my husband, who is always happy to point them out for me).
What’s a girl (or boy) to do?
As far as your hands go, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says it’s pretty simple: keep any dry, irritated areas of skin moisturized and covered while you’re out in the cold. That means gloves are a must on these c-c-cold winter mornings.
For moisture, start with the air itself. When you have the heat on full-time and your windows closed, the air quickly dries out. If you have a humidifier as part of your system, you’re all set – but the smaller humidifiers sold in drug stores will also do the trick (although you may need more than one depending on the size of your home).
Second, check the ingredients in your moisturizing lotion. The AAD recommends using an ointment (defined as 80% oil, 20% water) because it will form a protective barrier on your skin to keep more of that moisture where you want it. Creams and lotions are still good, but may not be as effective.
When you’re getting ready to go outside, remember to dress in layers. Sweating and overheating in a cozy sweater can make you itchy later, and that irritates dry skin. Layer up and shed a couple pieces if you get too warm (particularly useful if you’re working or exercising out in the cold).
One more moisture tip – remember your sunscreen. When we get a significant snowfall, 80% of the sun’s rays will reflect off of the surface right onto your face and any additional exposed areas of skin. Choose an SPF of 30 or higher and remember to reapply if you’re outside for a long time.
For your dry, frizzy hair, step one is keeping it trimmed. It might not be easy to get in to your stylist more often than usual during this busy time of the year, but New York stylist Christo tells iVillage “Dryness starts from the ends. If you normally get your hair cut every 10 weeks, get it cut in eight weeks.”
Next, make sure you use a conditioning product before you break out the blow dryer. You still need to use the product sparingly (we don’t want gunky or slick styles, just less frizz), but coating the hair with a leave-in conditioner or repair cream will protect it from both the dry air and the styling abuse.
One final dry air survival tip (and perhaps the most obvious of all): drink more water. Hydration starts from within – and the benefits of drinking more water go far beyond the surface of your hands and hair!