Winter and dry skin go hand in hand.
The air is cold and harsh, humidity is low and the artificial heat indoors doesn’t help. The combination of it all can leave your skin dry and flaky, from your face down to your feet.
It doesn’t look great and can even be painful, irritating and itchy. Plus, some people are more prone to it than others. And the older you get, the more likely you are to have problems with dry skin any time of year.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to help prevent dry skin during the winter. Start with these tips.
Drink plenty of water
You already know that drinking water is a must for your overall health. Well, it’s good for your skin, too. Staying hydrated helps keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated.
Buy a humidifier
The humidity outside may be low, but that doesn’t mean it has to be low inside. Consider buying a humidifier for your home, especially if you like to run the heat. Higher levels of humidity aren’t as harsh on your skin.
Buy the right moisturizer
A good moisturizer can help protect your skin from harsh weather and replenish the moisture at the same time. Always check the ingredients before you buy as not all moisturizers are created equally.
Look for one that contains linoleic, linolenic or lauric acids to help smooth your skin. Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and sorbitol attract moisture. Lanolin, silicone and mineral oil will seal your skin to protect it. Also, consider choosing a cream ointment instead of a lotion.
Moisturize after you wash up
Once you find the right moisturizer, make sure you apply it anytime you wash. This can mean just washing your hands or face or taking a bath or shower. When you clean yourself with water, you remove oils that moisturize your skin, so your body is likely craving a boost.
Make some adjustments to your bath or shower routine
Speaking of washing, making some changes to the way you bathe might help. Keep the bathroom door closed when you take a bath or shower to ensure the humidity stays in the room. It’s also a good idea to avoid taking a super-hot shower as it can dry you out even further. Try to stay in the shower for only about five to 10 minutes. Use fragrance-free soaps and don’t overuse them.
Wear the right clothing
Even what you wear can affect your skin. During the winter, you might be tempted to wear thicker, scratchier clothing, like wool, but it can irritate skin that’s already dry. Choose cotton or something looser and more comfortable, or wear something soft underneath your wool. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your extra-sensitive hands.
Yes, you need to wear sunscreen, even during the winter. You may think you only need it in the summer, but the sun’s UV rays can still damage your skin, even when it’s cold outside. This can lead to dryness and premature aging.
When should you see a doctor?
Dry skin can cause more than flaky skin. Some common symptoms are:
- Cracks in your skin
- Raw, irritated skin
- Scaly skin
- Stinging or burning sensations
So, if you follow the tips mentioned above and don’t see any improvement in these symptoms, you may need to see a doctor.
Learn about the dermatology and skin care services we offer at Mercy Health.