Anyone that has lived in or visited Chicago in the winter knows that the bitter cold takes its toll on your skin. After being here for 32 years, I have gotten to the point of pretty much forgetting about my skin when the temperature drops because I know there isn’t much hope until it starts warming up again. I get pasty white, dry, and itchy with the occasional patch of eczema on my arm. Shaving of the legs doesn’t happen very often. I call it my winter fur. With the amount of layers I have to wear in the dead of winter, my lack of skin maintenance is my little secret that gets tucked away in my pocket until the spring clothes come back out.
I’m a bit scared this year though because this time, I can’t ignore my skin. The wedding is fast approaching and I can’t let my skin look the way it did this past April. So I decided to come up with a 7-step plan of attack, and who knows, maybe I’ll stay on this regimen for years to come. Though knowing my history, I’m guessing probably not. Baby steps.
To add to the dry winter skin dilemma, I went off the pill a year ago to up our chances down the road for little nachos. Problem is, I didn’t realize those hormones had been doing fantastic things for my skin, and once I stopped taking them, my body went a little nutzo. My forehead is like a mirror by the end of the day if I don’t blot it periodically. I now, without fail, get the PMS zit. And it’s never a little one, it’s always one of those big, painful, wake up and wonder if I somehow punched myself in the chin, underground mountains. And I hate hate HATE to admit it, but I. Had. Backne. Ugh. I actually debated going back on the pill because for years I never had any problems like this, but decided I’d have to go through this eventually so I might as well face it now.
So here’s my plan of attack against the winter skin blues to make sure it looks fabulous come April….
1. Lukewarm showers
For someone who is always cold, there is nothing better than jumping into a scalding hot shower and letting my chills wash down the drain. Though I will miss them more than anyone will know, I am convinced those showers are the number one reason my skin ends up so dry.
2. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash
I’ve always been an Ivory soap girl, but I need a little extra help fighting off those little bumps that randomly appear on my legs and upper back (ew, I still hate the thought of those). That, paired with scrubby shower gloves from CVS, seem to be doing the trick. If you’ve never tried the gloves, at $3.99 a pair I HIGHLY recommend them.
3. Clean and Clear Continuous Control Cleanser
I’ve been using this stuff for years, and although a lot of people are sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, it’s the only face wash that works for me in keeping the blemishes away.
4. Clean and Clear Acne Spot Treatment
This is a new thing that I just started using – when I saw “100% of people saw improvement in 1 day”, I couldn’t resist! Have I mentioned that stress also has been taking a huge toll on my skin? Although the wedding planning hasn’t been too stressful thus far, knowing it’s right around the corner is starting to wreak havoc on my face. So far, this stuff is awesome!
5. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
I normally only use lotion when it’s too late and I’m all dry and flaky. But for the past 2 weeks, I’ve been coating myself in the stuff right out of the shower and it’s really making a huge difference. I’ve been using Dove cucumber/green tea lotion and I really like that I don’t feel sticky after I put it on.
6. (gasp!) Tanning
I know it is a hot topic, but I have been hitting the tanning beds, usually about once a week for the last month. Many people are against tanning, but my dermatologist actually said a little sun is good for you. It makes your skin stronger, clears up eczema, and makes your body produce Vitamin D which is critical for bone health and cell growth. My doctor actually has a stand up bed in the office for eczema patients and prescribes timed “light sessions”. It was the first thing I did when I noticed my upper back bumps (Ew. I say Ew.) and it cleared up very quickly. I don’t over expose, I go for less time than recommended, and I know it will help me not burn the second I hit the beach in St. Thomas.
7. Drink lots of water
I am normally a huge water drinker to begin with, but I’m trying to up my consumption to flush out those nasty toxins that can affect your skin in not so pretty ways. It also plumps it up and helps with those yucko dark circles.
I’m hoping to have the same glow I get in the summer for the wedding, and I’m thinking if I can stick to my plan, it will happen. As for the hormones, there’s not a whole lot I can do other than attack back when they go haywire.
I needs me some bridal glow! Fingers crossed for pretty skin in the spring….