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Top 10 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

1. Invest in a Humidifier to Maximize Moisture

In the cooler winter months, the outdoor air typically holds onto less water and is drier and colder. A humidifier in your home or office will restore moisture to the air, helping to keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in your entire home or in rooms you spend the most time in, and aim to keep indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. One option is to turn it on overnight while you’re sleeping.

 

2. Keep Thermostat Temperatures Cool and Comfortable

If you’re looking to escape dry, chilly outdoor air, you may be tempted to crank up the heat as soon as you get home. But high central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try a cool yet comfortable setting to prevent your skin from drying further.

 

3. Lower Water Temperatures for Showering and Hand-Washing

Long, steamy showers may sound like a great idea when it’s cold and blustery, but very hot water can dry out the skin. A 5- to 10-minute warm shower or bath is less likely to worsen dry skin than a hot one.

A good rule of thumb: If the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s too hot. You should also avoid using excessively hot water to wash your hands. This is especially true if your hands tend to be red, scaly, and itchy, potential signs of eczema on the hands. Dry skin from exposure to hot water or cool winter air can trigger an eczema flare-up. Cooler water seems to be as effective as warm water at removing germs and is less irritating to the skin.

 

4. Opt for Gentle, Fragrance-Free Body Cleansers

When bathing, bar soap can worsen dryness by stripping the skin’s natural oils and disrupting the microbiome. For those with dry skin, we recommend using body wash. Look for washes that are labeled for sensitive skin or dye free and fragrance-free. Often they contain fewer drying ingredients and more moisturizing ones like hyaluronic acid , ceramides, oils, shea butter, and oats. Also, look for products labeled fragrance-free. products may actually contain chemicals that neutralize scent and can cause irritation.

 

5. Modify Your Skin-Care Regimen for the Season

If your skin is dry and itchy, Hayag recommends you scale back on the use of skin-care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids and retinoids on the face, as these can cause the issue to worsen and may even be a sign of an irritant dermatitis (a skin reaction that occurs after prolonged exposure to an irritating substance). Once the skin is healed, you can restart the retinoid and alpha-hydroxy acids slowly. In addition to skipping AHAs and retinoids when the skin on your face is dry, steering clear of products that contain alcohol and fragrances, as this will help skin retain its natural oils. Instead, choose oils and creams for your skin-care routine, and consider applying a moisturizer on top of your toner if the latter is causing dryness. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your body, including your arms, legs, and midsection. Look for occlusives, such as petrolatum, squalene, and shea butter. These are ingredients that seal in moisture by forming a protective seal over the skin. Hayag also recommends seeking out a product with moisturizing humectants, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. These are great ingredients for the face, as they allow the skin to breathe and are unlikely to contribute to acne.

And don’t forget to moisturize the rest of your body, either. For the body during the winter, I recommend using a thicker cream that comes out of a jar or tube as opposed to a pump. Lotions that come out of a pump tend to be thinner and more watery, so they can often just evaporate from the skin’s surface after application and are not thick and moisturizing enough.

As for your lips, a moisturizing balm such as petroleum jelly or another ointment can help heal dry, cracked lips and keep them from getting chapped.

 

6. Moisturize Hands Frequently, Especially After Washing

Hand-washing is vital, especially when the common cold, flu and covid-19 are a threat. But constant washing will cause the hands to take a beating. Apply hand cream after each washing. wear waterproof gloves to protect your hands while you’re washing dishes or cleaning around the house. You can put on cotton gloves after applying moisturizer to help your skin absorb the cream.

 

7. Apply Sunscreen — Even on Gray Winter Days

On bright winter days, snow reflects the sun’s rays, which in turn multiplies your UV exposure. UV rays have been linked to skin cancer, sunburn, and premature skin aging such as wrinkles, leathery skin, and liver spots. That means whether you’re out on the slopes, playing in the snow, or walking through a parking lot on an errand run, it’s just as important to apply sunscreen in the harsh winter weather as it is in the summer.

Don’t be fooled by darker, dreary days in winter, either. Up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage. Before you go outside, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher with water resistance and moisturizing ingredients such as lanolin or glycerin to all exposed areas of your body.

 

8. Wear Appropriate, Comfortable, Non Irritating 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 like cotton or silk directly against your skin. After that, pull on your heavier, warmer sweaters. Be sure to protect your hands from cold winter air with gloves or mittens. If wool gloves are too irritating, try leather ones, Wesley suggests.

 

9. Remember to Eat Right and Stay Hydrated

Don’t expect drastic results, but it may be possible to moisturize your skin slightly from the inside out. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, like water, is one of the best things you can do via diet to avoid dryness. One small study found that people with low water intake were able to positively impact their skin hydration by drinking more water in this case, two liters of water more than their usual daily intake.

Your diet may play a role as well. Avoiding processed foods and sugars, and eating whole foods that are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids will keep the body and skin healthy.

 

10. Pat Yourself Dry, Then Lock in Moisture

Pat your hands dry after washing them. blotting or patting the skin dry rather than rubbing it helps retain more moisture. Do the same when toweling off after a shower. Blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin.

 

 

A Final Word on Healthy Winter Skin

If you still experience dryness, discomfort, redness, and irritation after trying these healthy skin tips, use an over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. If you don’t see improvement in a few days, talk with your doctor. You may need a prescription-strength moisturizer to overcome winter’s drying effects on your skin, or your dry skin may be a sign of a skin condition that needs to be addressed.

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