Dry skin and hair are common problems when the weather gets colder. Many people produce less sebum (oil) to naturally lubricate their skin as the air gets cooler and drier. Other contributing factors include less vitamin D from sun exposure and irritation from cold wind in the face. Indoors, the air gets drier as the heat comes on, and a closed-up home can lead to mold and toxin exposure, both of which can contribute to skin problems.
Other problems that can develop in the fall and winter months include dandruff, chapped lips, and aggravation of eczema. Some people further develop scaling, dull skin and hair, and even cracking and painful skin. Much of the damage to dry skin occurs because of disruption of the normal epidermal (skin) barrier, allowing skin moisture to evaporate out, and irritants and allergens to get in more easily.
There are several ways to protect yourself against the skin damage that cooler weather brings. These remedies include things you can do both internally and externally.
What are the signs of dry skin?
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of dry skin include:
▪️ flakiness or scaliness.
▪️ rough texture.
▪️ raw, irritated skin.
▪️ cracks in your skin.
▪️ stinging or burning.
The medical term for dry skin is xerosis. Symptoms can range in severity and look different depending on the area of your body that’s affected.
Winter skin care tips.
Caring for skin during winter takes just a little extra time and effort because the conditions are rather extreme for our tender protective barrier. Skin gets exposed to the elements: cold air whipping wind sun reflecting off snow. Low humidity is common in colder climates stealing moisture from skin every second of every day. And indoors it’s blasted with dry heat.
It’s no wonder our skin often ends up dry flaky and itchy. And once dryness starts skin can more easily crack and bleed.
These tips will help you prevent that uncomfortable unsightly result and keep your skin healthy and happy through the winter months.
▪️ Keep the moisture you have.
The natural oils your skin produces also help protect it and keep it healthy. It’s a good idea to avoid long baths and showers and you shouldn’t wash your body too frequently either. When you do use warm not hot water. After bathing or showering pat dry and moisturize your damp skin.
▪️ Add moisture to your home.
To counter the drying effects of indoor heat the Mayo Clinic suggests running a humidifier. You can use a portable or tabletop model or one that integrates with your existing heating system. Moisture in the air will be absorbed by your skin.
▪️ Add moisture from the inside out.
Increasing your water intake will help hydrate your skin.
▪️ Don’t forget sunscreen.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the sun isn’t affecting your skin says Bingham Memorial Hospital. The sun reflecting off snow means UV rays are hitting you from additional angles.
▪️ Moisturize your skin thoroughly.
Switch to an oil-based moisturizer in the winter; your skin will appreciate it. Consider overnight deep moisturizer treatments which can help particularly dry areas like hands feet elbows knees and lips. Cover with cotton gloves and socks to hold the moisture in all night long.
▪️ Switch your cleanser.
It’s a good idea to trade in your current body wash for a more moisturizing hydrating cleanser in winter particularly if your usual choice contains drying ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid. Tone and moisturize within 30 seconds of finishing cleansing to avoid further dehydration.
▪️ Take extra care.
Winter skin is more fragile so if you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis be sure to avoid any irritants or allergens that you know flare your condition.
▪️ 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.
▪️ Change Out of Wet Clothes Quickly to Avoid Itchy Skin.
Wearing wet clothes and shoes can further irritate your skin and cause itchiness. If gloves, socks, and pants become wet, be sure to remove them as soon as possible.
▪️ Exfoliate for excellent skin.
It may be the last thing on your mind when you have dry, itchy skin, but there are benefits to exfoliating your skin during winter. Not only will it take off the dry, dead skin cells, but it also helps you regenerate new ones.
Internal Remedies for Dry Skin.
Drinking more water—at least four glasses per day in addition to what you drink with meals—is important for combating dry skin in cold weather. Adding omega-3s to your diet can help to keep skin hydrated as well.
Hair can become dull if overwashed, especially in cold weather when the skin makes less oil. People with dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis may find that their scaling increases during this time. Taking omega-3 fish oils or eating flaxseed can help with both dry skin and hair. Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 oil which a small study from Germany showed can improve many aspects of skin barrier function. Omega 3 essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and protective of the skin barrier, which may help to improve numerous inflammatory skin disorders. Before taking omega 3s, you should discuss it with your doctor if you have frequent belching, are planning to get pregnant, or have bleeding issues.
Cold weather skin care can be a challenge, because it means changing habits, and because some products may cause irritation in damaged skin. Finding the right balance of internal and external products can help prevent the cycle of inflammatory changes that comes from a disrupted skin barrier and enhance your appearance throughout the fall and winter.
Winter skin care: Keep your skin in top shape through the cold, dry winter/https://www.reidhealth.org/blog/winter-skin-care-keep-your-skin-in-top-shape-through-the-cold-dry-winter
Top 10 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin/https://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty/top-tips-for-healthy-winter-skin.aspx
Winter Skin Care Tips/https://ws.iherb.com/blog/winter-skin-care-tips
11 Tips to Prevent Dry Winter Skin/https://www.healthline.com/health/winter-dry-skin
7 Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter/https://buymeonce.com/blogs/articles-tips/7-tips-for-taking-care-of-your-skin-in-winter