Feb 1, 2022
Skin Health – Combatting Dry Winter Skin
Here we are in the middle of winter, and some of us have skin that is feeling like a sunbaked lizard. Winter brings changes in humidity and temperature that create perfect conditions for causing dry skin, also known as xerosis. Let’s look at some of the reasons our skin can get so dry and itchy during the winter and then throw out some solutions.
During the winter months, we often turn our indoor heating up, which reduces humidity and affects how much moisture is available to the skin. Basically, our furnaces are blowing hot, dry air over us all winter long. At the same time, the cold outdoor weather, harsh winds, and rain can strip the skin of its natural, moisturizing oils. The result can be dry, flaky skin that is easily irritated and can be very sensitive.
Dry and damaged skin needs moisture replenishment. It is best to keep a skin care regimen as simple as possible when treating dry skin. A simple regimen avoids overloading the skin with unnecessary products, such as toners, serums, and heavy makeup.
Combatting dry winter skin can take a combination of the following tactics:
- Use a humidifier - This device can introduce moisture back into the air, helping rehydrate the outer layer of skin. Alternatively, we can place a few bowls of water around our home so that as heat rises, it carries water vapor along with it. It can be amazing how fast the water is exhausted out of a humidifier and/or from the bowls set around the house.
- Limit exposure to heat - We can do this by taking a lukewarm bath or shower rather than a hot one. I can hear it now, “but what fun is a lukewarm bath or shower in the winter?” This is one of many ways we can help keep the moisture in our skin. Avoid sitting in front of a fireplace or heater. I know, the same complaints as avoiding long, hot showers. However, excessive heat can draw vital moisture away from the skin.
- Staying hydrated - Drinking plenty of water during winter months can help tremendously with dry skin. Oddly enough, we are more apt to become dehydrated in the colder winter months than in the summer. This is because we don’t feel thirsty when we are colder. Good, clean water boosts skin hydration, which helps it stay smooth. Eating foods or taking supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids might also help.
- Protecting the skin with clothing - Many people experience dry skin on the hands, particularly now that regular hand washing, and sanitizing have become more commonplace. Wearing gloves in cold temperatures and when washing dishes will help prevent the skin from drying out. Wearing a hat and face covering can help keep moisture in our facial tissues when we are outside, especially on windy days.
- Adjust skin care regimens - Skin requires different treatment during colder weather, including the use of a more protective moisturizer. Cutting back on exfoliating scrubs, face masks, and steam treatments will help reduce damage to the skin. Using a more protective skin cream like shea butter can help hold moisture in during the winter months as well.
There are many ways to keep vital moisture in our skin during these colder, winter months. Try a few of the above strategies and enjoy softer, smoother, and more comfortable skin. Be Blessed.
Tags: Skin health Dr. Sterling