Christmas is just around the corner, waiting patiently to announce the most magical time of the year – holiday season. Snow and Christmas decorations make this time of the year special. But, December and cold temperatures bring something else as well – dry skin. Most people deal with this problem, their skin dries out during winter and they spot dull complexion and rough texture under their fingertips. Do you have to wait until spring to finally get rid of dry skin? The answer might surprise: no, you can have nice, smooth, and nourished skin during winter as well. Do you want to know how? Keep reading to find out.
What Characterizes Dry Skin?
First things first, if you have dry skin or notice that your skin is drying out during winter; you should know you’re not alone. According to RightDiagnosis.com approximately 1 in 32 people have dry skin, which accounts for 8.4 million of people in the United States alone.
Therefore, dry skin is a quite common condition and it can occur due to many reasons. Besides winter, dry skin can be caused by these factors as well:
- Sun exposure – sun tends to dry out your skin and its harmful UV rays penetrate deep into your skin’s layer cause damaging such as breaking down elasticity or collagen production
- Age – as we age, skin becomes thinner and drier
- Using harsh soaps and cleansers that strip moisture from your skin etc.
Dry skin is usually indicated by these signs and symptoms:
- Sensation of tightness
- Skin feels and looks rough
- Patchy skin
- Flaking or peeling
- Formation of fine lines and cracks in the skin
- Dull, ashy, and grey complexion
- Redness and irritations.
Why is Skin Dry During Winter?
We’re already familiar with the fact that our skin becomes dry, rough, and dull during winter. The question is: why does this happen? What is the relation between cold winter days and our skin? Let’s find out.
Emily Altman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey specializing in cosmetic dermatology has named several reasons why your skin dries out in the winter. They are:
- For starters, winter is indicated by cold temperatures and cold air has less moisture than warm or hot air
- The overall ambient humidity is lower as well, for example due to heating there’s not much moisture in the air in your home (or work) too
- People tend to take hot showers during winter, which isn’t good for the skin
- People wear more clothing. Logically, more clothes cause more friction
- Clothes made of wool can cause irritations and contribute to dry skin
- Harsh winds strip away the moisture from the skin.
Therefore, the primary culprit for dry skin in winter is low humidity coupled with cold temperatures which “suck” the moisture out of your skin thus making it drier and rougher. Heaters in your home raise the temperature, but they also lower the humidity which means that your skin, simply, doesn’t get enough moisture it needs to function properly.
Treating Dry Skin in Winter
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, you don’t really have to put up with dry skin and its rough texture and appearance. Instead, you can be proactive and do something about it because there are a lot of ways to improve the quality or your skin. Yes, you can have smooth and gentle skin with healthy glow even in winter.
Treating dry skin during winter isn’t just a matter of beauty; it’s also a matter of health. For instance, cracked skin that is usually associated with dryness of the skin is a perfect “nest” for germs and bacteria. These germs can cause infections not only in your skin but in other organs as well.
To preserve your health and make sure you have the picture-perfect skin, try to follow the tips below.
1. Eat Skin-Healthy Foods
Everything you eat directly affects your skin. Unhealthy foods have a negative effect, while healthy, vitamin-rich foods are beneficial for skin health. Ideally, you should avoid sugary, greasy, and processed foods and strive to introduce abundance of fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that your skin needs to remain healthy. However, what many people don’t know is that your skin also needs Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3s help normalize your skin fats and they prevent dehydration of skin cells.
2. Drink More Water
When the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) lacks water your skin becomes rough and dry. Although scientists still aren’t quite sure how regular intake of water is beneficial for dry skin, they presume that hydrated organism is conducive to hydrated skin.
Drinking water frequently throughout the day isn’t only associated with hot summer days. Staying hydrated is not only beneficial for your skin, but for your overall health. One stop towards eliminating dry skin is remembering to drink a glass of water throughout the day.
3. Use Moisturizer and Protect Your Skin From The Sun
One of the biggest enemies of the skin is sun. However, when summer’s over, most people stop using their sunscreen which is a big mistake. Ideally, you should apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out, regardless of the season.
Furthermore, moisturizers should be your best friends as they are inevitable for nourished and smooth skin. In winter, you should use rich moisturizers that provide enough hydration to your skin that is impaired due to cold air. If you’re too busy and don’t have time to apply a lot of products before heading to work in the morning, you can always purchase 2in1 products.
For example, you can opt for moisturizer with SPF like Solvaderm’s Dermaxsol. It makes your skin smooth, nourished, and hydrated while protecting it from sun’s damaging rays at the same time.
Remember, don’t use face products for the rest of your body and vice versa. After taking a shower, make sure you pat dry (never rub your skin!) and apply moisturizer right after. The role of this product is to lock the moisture in your skin and doing it right after shower or bath leaves no time for the water to evaporate.
4. Don’t Wash Your Hands Excessively
Okay, we know that practice of washing hands is basic and fundamental part of good hygiene. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, washing your hands excessively can strip moisture away from your skin and make it drier.
Wash your hands when necessary (before meals, when you come home etc.) and use gentle soaps while doing so. Soaps with harsh formulas can cause irritations and contribute to dryness.
5. Use Gentle Cleansers
Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean your skin care routine should suffer. However, during this season, you will have to make some tweaks regarding the products you use. First, make sure you use gentle cleansers, toners, and other products.
Avoid using products with alcohol and opt for items made of natural ingredients. For example, Dermpura balancing repair cleanser is formulated to restore the balance in your skin and nourish it without causing irritations or redness.
6. Avoid Hot Showers
It’s cold outside and all you want to do is to go home and take a nice, hot shower or bath. At that moment, it seems heaven for you but it’s hell for your skin.
Long, hot showers and baths can strip away the moisture from your skin and dry it out. Instead, you should take showers with warm (but not hot) water. Timing is also important; ideally your shower should take between 5 and 8 minutes.
7. Humidifier to The Rescue
We’ve already established that central heating or space heaters can lower the humidity in your home thus drying out your skin. There’s one simple solution towards resolving this problem – using a humidifier.
8. Wear Gloves
Yes, during cold winter days you need gloves, and you probably wear them. But, here, we’re talking about protective gloves that act as barrier between your skin and solvents or other products you use to clean your home.
9. Choose Clothes Wisely
Clothes made of materials such as cotton or silk allow your skin to breathe. On the other hand, clothing items made of wool cause irritations. If you have dry skin, you should avoid wearing your favorite wool sweater or cardigan until your skin recovers.
Furthermore, pay attention to how you wash your clothes. You should use detergents that don’t contain perfumes or dyes, both of which are known for irritating the skin and causing rash or redness.
Dry skin is quite common during winter as cold air and low humidity “suck” the moisture of your skin. Luckily, with some lifestyle tweaks, healthy diet, and adequate products you can have smooth and nourished skin that will make you feel more confident. Healthy skin is always associated with healthy lifestyle. With tips from this article, you can have the picture-perfect skin just in time for Christmas and New Year celebrations.