At this time of year, for some of us living in colder weather climates, it’s nice to cozy up in front of the fireplace or crank up the thermostat to ward off the cold. But your skin may not like this extra dry heat and air.
As the temperatures drop, your skin actually goes through a change from being hydrated and healthy during the summer months to becoming dry, chapped and itchy. Summertime’s humid air helps keep skin moisturized, and we’re also absorbing the nourishing minerals in vitamin D because of being outside in the sunlight more.
In the winter months, we tend to move indoors, which can make maintaining healthy skin more challenging. As your skin is your body’s largest organ, it’s important to take care of it all year long, and following these 7 quick skin care tips can help prevent and treat dry skin all winter long:
- Don’t take hot showers or baths. Hot water is not a friend to your dry skin as it breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which decreases moisture. To help dry skin, take shorter showers using warm water.
- Moisturize! The way you moisturize in the winter is different than how you moisturize in the summer months. Every time, after showering or washing your face or hands, apply a heavier, oil-based moisturizer as it traps existing moisture in your skin.
- Skip the lotion and use an ointment or cream. Lotions can be more irritating and less effective than ointments and creams for dry skin. When selecting a cream or ointment, look for one that contains an oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil, or one with shea butter.
- Exfoliate. Use a light exfoliate scrub to get rid of the top layer of dead skin cells and expose newer healthier-looking skin. Make sure to not over-exfoliate.
- Apply lip balm. Shop around for a healing lip balm that works best and also feels good on your lips.
- Plug in a humidifier. Putting moisture back into your home’s air helps prevent extreme dry skin
- When outside, wear gloves and layers. Our hands are the most exposed body part to the cold weather and, typically, the first to experience dry skin. Wearing gloves anytime you’re outside will help decrease raw skin. Also, it is important to wear layers of clothing when being active outside. If you experience sweating, you can take off layers and reduce wet clothes being close to the skin as they can cause irritation.
When should you see a dermatologist?
If you find following these tips aren’t helping to relieve your dry skin, it may be time to visit your primary care physician or dermatologist. He or she can examine your skin and determine other types of treatments available.