Dry skin is especially common in the winter months when the humidity level outside drops. When the air outside is cold and dry, the water in your skin evaporates faster, this makes your skin feel dry and tight, and makes it look flaky. In fact, your skin loses more than 25 percent of its ability to hold moisture in the winter. Windy weather can also beat down on your skin and make it look and feel dry and chapped.
Many of us spend more time inside during winter and use indoor heating. Dry indoor air not only dries out your skin, it also dries out your mucous membranes, leading to dry, chapped lips, dry noses, and dry throats.
Set your heater to the lowest setting that’s comfortable, and use a humidifier, especially at night. This will replace the moisture in the air that gets sucked out by dry indoor heat. The humidifier helps hydrate dry skin and soothes chapped lips, a dry throat, and nasal passages.
Long hot showers and baths: A long hot bath or shower may sound great after being out in the cold, but the combination of hot water and soaking can strip your skin of its protective oils and leave you looking like an alligator. Try to shower or bathe in warm, not hot water, and limit showers and baths to 10 minutes, just enough to clean the dirty bits. Don’t rub, rather pat dry with a soft towel.
Not using body lotion: It might be tempting to skip the body lotion when your skin is covered up in winter clothing, but it’s just as important to moisturize in the winter as it is in the summer, even if your arms and legs aren’t on display. Dry skin can get itchy, flaky, and uncomfortable if you don’t use the correct lotion. Apply a rich body lotion immediately after showering to lock in moisture. Apply again before going outside and before going to bed. Look for ingredients like glycerine, which holds moisture in your skin and fights dehydration.
Frequent hand washing: Dry, chapped hands are often caused by frequent hand washing, as well as the use of hand sanitizers, which often have a high concentration of alcohol. Although it’s important to keep your hands clean to avoid spreading germs, the exposure to soap and water and alcohol can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to chapped hands, splits, and cracks that can bleed or even get infected. Carry your own moisturizing liquid hand soap. (The soap in public restrooms is often very harsh and drying.) Rub a rich hand cream on after each washing or after using hand sanitizer and cover moisturized hands with gloves at bedtime. When gardening, doing dishes, or working around the house, wear protective gloves.
Harsh bar soaps: Many bar soaps, especially deodorant soaps, contain detergents that remove your skin’s natural oils, leaving it dry and more sensitive.Switch to a moisturizing, fragrance-free body wash that leaves your skin soft, not stripped. Save the bar soap for your feet and armpits.
Being dehydrated: You might not be as thirsty in the winter as you are in the summer months when you’re hot and sweaty. However, you lose water through your skin every day, in any season even when it’s cold and even if you don’t feel like you’re sweating. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time in dry indoor heat. Our bodies are made up of around 70 percent water, which keeps our cells plump and healthy. If you’re not drinking enough, your body and your skin gets dehydrated, which can make you look and feel dehydrated. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids in the wintertime, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which will make you lose even more water. Instead, stick to water, soup, decaf coffee and tea, and herbal tea.
Not eating the right foods: Your skin cells are wrapped in a protective bubble of lipids fats that help keep them soft, plump, and flexible. If you don’t eat enough fatty acids in your diet, your body won’t have enough building blocks to maintain this protective wrap. Eating foods that contain “good fats” (especially omega-3 fatty acids) can help replenish your skin’s natural fats and keep it looking smooth and supple. Make sure to include plenty of omega-3-rich foods in your diet, including oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel). If you’re allergic or don’t enjoy the taste of fish, try incorporating tofu, walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans, or omega-3-fortified foods (like orange juice) into your diet every day. In addition, some people with dry skin and itchy rashes can benefit from evening primrose oil supplements.
Try to look after your skin this winter, with our busy lifestyles we cannot afford to stress about irritated skin the entire day. Follow our tips and this will be one less thing to worry about.