If you live in a world that experiences winter, you’ll know that low temperatures can wreak havoc on your skin, both on the face and body. It gets dry, flaky and can sometimes even crack, which can be painful or itchy.
Cold, dry air can leave your skin red, itchy, and irritated. Fight dry winter skin with these tips for retaining your skin’s natural moisture.
Keep Moisture In The Air
Our skin is the barrier that keeps water inside of your body, so when it is dry and cold, water evaporates off of the surface faster and easier.
To prevent dryness, very recommended using a humidifier and suggested drinking an extra glass or two of water.
Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture back into your home, especially if you’re prone to blasting the heat.
When it comes to cleanser and moisturizer, gentler is better.
Use Gentler Products
The key is to use gentle cleansers, Dove foaming body wash for body is very moisturizing and does not strip moisture away from the skin.
For your face, you might want to use a more bland cleanser, something like Cetaphil,. For your body, you might normally in the summer use a nice fragranced body wash, but in the winter you might have to switch to something like Dove or Cetaphil or Vanicream, something more gentle.
If you’re also dealing with breakouts, just use water on those areas. Otherwise, very recommended using products with ceramides (CeraVe products are a common example) and glycerin (The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA hydration serum contains both glycerin and ceramides) to repair and protect your skin’s moisture barrier.
Avoid Hot Showers And Baths
In the winter months, taking hot showers and not moisturizing can create cracks in the surface of the skin. Hot water evaporates fast, and if the skin is not immediately moisturized, the cracks in the skin let the skin nerves get exposed to air, resulting in what feels like lots of paper cuts and eczema, or ‘winter’s itch.
I know it sounds like common sense, but with the weather we’ve been having, the thing we want to do is come home after a long walk and take a hot shower or bath, noting that water that’s too hot actually dehydrates our skin.
If you do indulge in a hot shower or bath, keep your bathroom door closed if possible, and after you dry, moisturize, very recommended looking for products with ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid, to keep the barrier of your skin from losing a lot of water.
You might love hot baths in the winter, but your skin doesn’t.
Invest in a Humidifier to Maximize Moisture
Using a humidifier in your home or office will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom.
Opt for Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers
The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, regular bar soaps may contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, wash with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel. (And do look for products specifically labeled “fragrance-free,” because “unscented” products may actually contain fragrances.) You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap overall, so limit your lathering to necessary areas, such as your hands, armpits, genitals, and feet.
Lower the Thermostat to Avoid Dryness
When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool yet comfortable setting — 68°F to 72°F to maintain healthy skin.
Limit Shower Time and Temperature
It may be tempting to take a long, steamy shower, but your skin will be much better-served with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath). You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands — if the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s too hot. Washing your hands in cooler water appears to be as effective at removing germs as warm water and is less irritating to skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if you’re using a restroom air hand-dryer, use it just until your hands are damp rather than perfectly dry.
Wear Appropriate, Comfortable, Nonirritating Clothing
Many cold-weather fabrics can aggravate dry winter skin. Keep wool and rough clothing from directly touching your skin. This can cause dry skin to get irritated and itchy.
Instead, wear light layers made from soft, breathable materials directly against your skin, and then pull on your heavier, warmer sweaters. Be sure to protect your hands from cold winter air with gloves or mittens, remembering to choose a pair that won’t irritate your skin. If you prefer wool gloves, put on cotton or silk glove liners first.
Modify Your Facial Skin-Care Regimen for the Season
During the winter months, choose cream-based cleansers, and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin. When your skin is dry and itchy, stop using products that contain alcohol and fragrances in order to help skin retain its natural oils. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your face.
Moisturize Frequently, Especially Your Hands
Maintain healthy skin by moisturizing after washing up. It’s best to use a cream or ointment in the winter. Lotions are better in warmer, humid climates. And don’t forget your hands. Constant washing will cause the hands to take a beating.”
Applying a hand cream after each washing can help,wearing waterproof gloves when washing dishes or cleaning around the house.
Remember to Eat Right and Stay Hydrated
Sometimes when skin is very dry, it can be helped by foods or supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil,. For the most part, however, it is important to help the skin moisturize from the outside.”
Upgrade Your Moisturizer, And Use It Often
This one might seem obvious, but moisturizing your skin is crucial for keeping it hydrated throughout the winter.
Application of a very thick moisturizer as soon as you get out of the bath or shower and then one more time per day will help keep your skin feeling nice and smooth,. Sometimes layering an oil on your face and body prior to a cream-based moisturizer will help trap in the hydration.”
Before bathing, I always recommend body oils. I really like coconut oil, because that can hydrate your skin and protect your barrier before you’re getting into a warm bath, Aside from coconut oil, which is one that’s really nice for the body, essential oils are kind of the new thing that are really great. There’s argan oil, tea tree oil, rose oil, rose hip oil that are nice for the face and are a little bit easier on someone who can be a little more acne prone.
One common mistake people make, is choosing a lotion instead of a cream.
Lotions are common moisturizers, and they come in pumps. The issue with lotions is they’re not as thick, and so they’re not as moisturizing, when your skin is dry in the winter, it’s important to use creams, which come in jars, and ointments. You also want to avoid fragrances, as those can also irritate and dry the skin.
It should be noted, though, that ointments or extremely thick products like Vaseline are better suited for the skin on your body as opposed to the face, because they can clog pores, when choosing a cream for your face, ando suggested looking for a product containing ceramides that are noncomedogenic (so it won’t make you break out) and fragrance-free.
Another ingredient to look for is a vitamin B derivative called niacinamide, which contains hyaluronic acid, as well as Aveeno and Eucerin products.
Don’t Go Out In The Cold With Damp Skin
A lot of people will run outside after they’ve washed their hands or finished doing a chore to walk their dog or take out trash, but if your skin is damp and you go out in the cold, it’s going to chap a lot more frequently, [It’s] just like when your lips are dry and when you lick them more it makes the problem worse.
When your skin is dry, cut down on your exfoliation.
When it comes to exfoliating, the answer to whether or not you should do it isn’t the same for everyone.
If your skin is really, really dry, then you certainly don’t exfoliate,but if it’s OK, then you can. Certainly you’re going to exfoliate less than you would normally, because your skin barrier is going to be a little bit compromised because of the dryness and the cold air.
If your skin is fine with exfoliation, doing it once a week “to help speed up the skin’s regeneration [and] allow better penetration of your moisturizer.”
There are many simple ways to combat the causes of dry winter skin and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all season long, including some easy changes to your everyday routine. For example, after taking a not-quite-so-hot shower, blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin.