I have the distinguished privilege of membership in the “I Hate Mornings” club. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Potentially, you’re a member of it.
Being conscious during the rising of the sun is, to me, analogous to having my teeth drilled by while listening to Editor in Chief Brian White rant about his political views. The only saving grace of the entire pre-afternoon period is, without question, the hot morning shower.
It’s a staple fixture in the waking up process. It’s often the entirety of the waking up process. The more steam, the better.
Unless we’re talking about your skin.
In fact, dousing your body with borderline scalding water is high on the list of detrimental actions you can take in caring for your skin. That was news to me. The heat from the water strips your skin of it’s moisture, which leaves it dry, and leads to the cracked, chapped or irritated skin that is so typical of the winter months.
Keeping your skin moist is key to avoiding more serious ailments. Start by taking shorter showers in warm water, and applying lotion to the skin when it is still damp.
Do this twice in areas that are naturally drier or that will be exposed to the air, like the elbows, heels, hands and face.
Another skincare must-have is sun block or sun tan lotion to protect exposed areas from harmful ultraviolet rays, which are equally harmful in winter as in summer.
If you’re not crazy about the extra layer of oily lotion, there is make-up and moisturizer available with SPF.
Don’t forget about your lips. Chapstick is good, chapstick with SPF 15 is the optimal choice. If you’re going skiing or are planning to spend extended time outdoors in the snow, this is especially important.
The snow reflects the sunlight, bombarding you with an extra dose of UV rays and making you exponentially more susceptible to sunburn.
Avoid any sloughing products that dry the skin. These include cleansers, soaps with alpha-hydroxy acids and rubbing alcohol. Shaving less often will be easier on the upper layer of skin.
And, as much as we all like to look fresh off the beach in mid-December, stay away from the tanning salon. Not only are you subjecting yourself to cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays unnecessarily, you’re also zapping more moisture out of the skin in those eight to twenty minutes than most people do in a day.
UV rays also cause your skin to look more wrinkled and aged. Decide for yourself if a little extra color now will be worth it when you’re a 40-something raisin.
Finally, if you have questions, see a dermatologist or visit the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org.
Nadia Stadnycki can be reached at ForYourOwnGoodColumn@hotmail.com