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Protect Your Skin from Cold Weather

I woke up this morning and the temperature icon on my online weather indicator reads 3 degrees Fahrenheit. And because we have wind gusts of 15 miles per hour, the wind chill is registering around ten degrees below zero. That's cold. The weatherman on the morning news show warns us to be prepared just in case the car breaks down by making sure that there is plenty of fuel in the car, keep a blanket in the trunk, and make sure that we dress in layers.

Why is it so important to protect your skin from cold weather? The skin is the largest organ of the body, serving as a protective shell for our bones, tissues, and blood vessels. Left unprotected in cold weather, skin can become frostbitten in a matter of minutes; so dressing in layers is good advice, especially if you'll be outside for any length of time—even if you're simply shopping from store to store. Here are some tips for how to layer clothing during cold weather:

  • If you'll be indoors, choose a few light layers of clothing. Start with an undershirt, tank top, or lightweight camisole, and then add a lightweight knit sweater. If you're still chilly, add another layer such as a hooded sweatshirt or a sweater.
  • If you plan on running errands, layer your clothing as if you'd be indoors, and then add a heavy coat, hat, scarf, and gloves. Make sure that you place the scarf over your nose and mouth so that you can breathe moist air.
  • Perhaps you'll need to be outside for more than an hour to shovel snow, or maybe your job requires you to be outside all day. Make sure that you apply several layers of clothing to the torso, as well as your limbs. Start with thermal underwear, and then apply two or more layers of lightweight clothing. Wear an insulated coat, hat, scarf, and heavy-duty gloves. Since frostbite happens most often to toes, make sure that you layer socks and wear heavy-duty boots to keep your feet warm.

Cold weather also robs our skin of moisture, so it is imperative that we hydrate our skin daily. Wear moisturizer and sunscreen, drink plenty of water or green tea, avoid alcoholic beverages, eat green vegetables, and start each meal with a steaming bowl of soup.

Don't forget that your lips are also part of your skin system, so make especially sure to moisturize and exfoliate them during cold weather. Chapped lips can be painful and unsightly. Use a layer of petroleum jelly or lip balm to protect them from wind, cold, and sun.

 

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