Winter Sucks: Here's How My Skin Copes Up Here In Minnesota

Who am I kidding? It'll be freezing long before fall is over.
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Kara
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Who am I kidding? It'll be freezing long before fall is over.

Everything you’ve ever heard about Minnesota being cold as balls is true. The rumors are not unfounded. 

I’ve spent my entire existence here and can boast about surviving -35 days where nobody could go to school because it was against the law. We Minnesotans battle the chill so we can brag about it later, when the weather is lush and lovely for approximately two months before winter starts again. Need I remind you it snowed on May 1st? 

I thank the Lord (my high school superintendent, whose car I purchased) for my Auto-Start. I just click from my window and my trusty champagne Buick is toasty when I slide in.

It begins. Said trusty Buick covered in snow.

It begins. Said trusty Buick covered in snow.

Nothing is harder on a girl than a deep, bone-chilling cold. The radiators in your ancient apartment and the heat you have to blast in your car suck all the moisture out of the air. Even nestled in mittens, your hands freeze, split and peel. Your lips begin to crack just stepping out the door. You stay ensconced in layers for months, the limbs beneath all pale and sad. Your nose runs. You’ve probably covered your windows in plastic wrap but didn’t do it very well and the cold air is still leaking in. 

Like my hearty Scandinavian ancestors before me, I have learned a few lessons about surviving the cold without giving up completely. (That being said, my winter wardrobe suffers. It’s all leggings, giant sweaters and Ugg boots. Don’t hate.)

First, buy a humidifier. As previously stated, radiator heat dries up the air. To quote Derek Zoolander, “Water is the essence of moisture. And moisture is the essence of beauty.” He’s not wrong, that merman. Using a humidifier can help you combat runny noses, scratchy throats and dry, flaky skin. 

You can get a cheap one for about $15, but I want the one that looks like a penguin. Plus, if you’re a high-maintenance sleeper like me, the humidifier can provide a lovely white noise at night.

I work retail, which means my hands are always busy pulling off sensors, hanging new merchandise and ringing up customers. There is nothing grosser than running dry witch hands across a cashmere sweater and feeling it snag on your cuticles. I battle split, bleeding skin on my fingertips almost every winter no matter how much hand cream I slather on. I’ve tried them all, from Eucerin to L’Occitane to Neutrogena Norwegian, the lotion of my people. 

While shopping at Home Depot, my mom bought me a tub of O’Keeffe’s Working Hands. I grew up with farmers, whose hands were rough and calloused from hard work, but I never thought I’d have to resort to their chosen balm. 

It’s a blend of glycerin and paraffin, so it does feel a little sticky, but I slather it on before bed during the winter and don’t have to worry about witch hands anymore. Just a little dab under a Band-Aid for two days sealed my cracks right up.

My heels crack, too. Thanks, Mom, for that genetic blessing! We are both devoted to Kerasal, a $7 tube of magic. The old “socks while you sleep” trick works best with this stuff, which has the consistency of Vaseline but also contains salicylic acid to actually exfoliate the dead, crusty dryness while you sleep. I like their scrub, too.

Winter in Minnesota is all sorts of sexy. About once a week, I cover my entire body in coconut oil, pull on some cheap leggings and an ex-boyfriend’s thermal, slap on the Kerasal with some big hunting socks swiped from my brother and get into bed. 

You can see why I have so many boyfriends. 

These are the best socks of all time, trust me.

These are the best socks of all time, trust me.

My number-one deserted island product is not red lipstick, not mascara, but Lac-Hydrin Five. I have KP (keratosis pilaris), those pesky little red bumps that hang out on the backs of my arms. Lac-Hydrin is full of lactic acid to slough them off and I am devoted to it forever despite its runny texture and gluey scent. No scrubs, oils, body lotions or fancy $40 creams from Sephora have ever worked the way it does. 

If I get to take two products, the other would be Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer. My penchant for matte lipstick doesn’t help the chapped lips situation, nor do flaky red lips look pretty. No matter how hydrated I am, I still get the urge to chew my lips right off. 

Malin + Goetz makes the best lip balm I’ve ever tried; I put just the teensiest dab on at night and there’s still a coat of hydration on my mouth in the morning. It’s chock full of fatty acids that absorb into your lips instead of simply sitting on top. A tube is $12, but I’ve had mine for an entire year. You can also get it in mojito flavor to pretend you’re on an island when it’s February with a -25 windchill!

My deserted island products: Lac-Hydrin Five and Malin + Goetz. Maybe my Emu slippers too.

My deserted island products: Lac-Hydrin Five and Malin + Goetz. Maybe my Emu slippers too.

These are my tried and true secrets to avoid turning into the Crypt Keeper during the winter. What are yours? Or do you live somewhere hot and feel the fire of my hatred keeping you warm in the cold months?