Fashion can be our worst enemy. We often don’t feel we look our best when all bundled up, so, during the Winter months, we sometimes select clothing or a style more suited to another season and leave ourselves vulnerable to cold-weather health risks.

When the temperature dips below freezing, it’s critical to protect your skin, especially against frostbite. Frostbite occurs when the skin – and sometimes the tissue beneath the skin – freezes due to prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Depending on how long and how frozen the tissue, frostbite can result in severe, sometimes permanent, damage.

To stay warm and prevent frostbite, I suggest you follow these tips during the months ahead:
1. Dress in loose, light, comfortable layers. 
This helps to trap warm air. The first layer should be made of a synthetic material, which wicks moisture away from your body. The next layer should be insulating. Wool and fleece are good insulators and hold in more body heat than cotton. The top layer should be windproof and waterproof. A down parka and ski pants can help keep you dry and warm during outdoor activities.
2. Protect your feet and toes. 
Wear two pairs of socks. The first pair, next to your skin, should be made of moisture-wicking fabric. Place a pair of wool or wool-blend socks on top of those. Your boots should also provide adequate insulation. They should be waterproof and cover your ankles.
3. Protect your head.
Wear a heavy wool or fleece hat to cover your head and ears. If you are outside on a bitterly cold day, cover your face with a scarf or face mask. This warms the air you breathe and helps prevent frostbite on your nose and face.
4. Protect your hands. 
Wear insulated mittens or gloves.
5. Make sure snow cannot get inside of your boots or clothing. 
Wet clothing increases the risk of developing frostbite. Before heading outdoors, make sure that snow cannot penetrate your boots or clothing. While outdoors, if you start to sweat, cut back on your activity or unzip your jacket a bit.
6. Stay hydrated. 
Dehydration increases the risk of developing frostbite. Even if you are not thirsty, drink at least one glass of water before you head outside, and always drink water or a sports drink before an outdoor workout. In addition, avoid alcohol. It increases your risk for frostbite.
7. Recognize the symptoms: 
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of frostbite early, when it’s most treatable. The first signs include redness and a stinging, burning, throbbing or prickling sensation followed by numbness. If this occurs, head indoors immediately.

If you experience symptoms of frostbite, try to gradually bring feeling back into the body. Never rub frostbitten skin or submerge your hands or feet directly into hot water; use warm water or a warm washcloth instead. If you do not feel sensation returning to your body, or if the skin begins to turn gray, see your dermatologist immediately or go to an emergency room as a last resort.