Tips For Taking Care Of Dry Skin In The Winter
It’s no secret that harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin, caused by bitterly cold temperatures and dry air that deplete its natural moisture. But the right routine and a few key changes to your go-to habits and products can help keep both face and body skin soft, hydrated, and supple, rather than cracked, parched, and chapped. Today, we will share with you science-backed advice for getting rid of, treating, and taking care of dry skin in the winter to help it feel smooth, relieved, and nourished 24/7 from head to toe through the season and beyond.
7 Tips For Taking Care Of Dry Skin In The Winter
1. Prep Your Home
The drier the air, the drier the skin. To maximize the amount of water in the air, Marchbein recommends placing a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time, which, in many cases, is the bedroom. “A cool air humidifier increases the moisture level in the air,” helping skin’s barrier stay hydrated, she says. In addition, be sure the heat is kept on low or at a moderate temperature to avoid extra dryness in the air.
2. Change Up Your Diet
With a direct connection between the gut and skin health, increasing your daily intake of fats may help with dry skin. Marchbein recommends eating a diet rich in walnuts, olive oil, and avocados (but not to sub them for a proper skin-care routine). While that extra glass of full-bodied red wine may seem like a good idea, Marchbein takes a conservative approach. “Don’t overdo it with alcohol, caffeine, and coffee,” she explains, as they are diuretics that will cause dehydration. And, she says, “drink tons of water.”
3. Don’t take super-hot (or long) showers
Nothing sounds better than a steaming hot shower or bath on a cold day, but hot water is actually the enemy of dry winter skin. “Too much hot water causes increased evaporation of your skin’s natural hydration,” explains Anne Chapas, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City.
And keep it short, adds GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D.: All you need is about 10 minutes. To make your shower more moisturizing, swap parching soaps and gels for a body cleansing oil or bath oil with fatty acid-rich soybean oil or other plant oils to fortify and protect skin’s moisture barrier. A Beauty Lab favorite: Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash, made with soybean and castor seed oils as the first two ingredients.
4. Moisturize multiple times a day
It’s important to slather yourself in moisturizer in the morning and before you snooze, starting with your face. Before you put on pajamas, rub a hydrating body cream all over from your neck down to your feet (slip on socks to help the formula soak in). It’ll function the same way a night cream for your face does, softening skin and keeping moisture in as you sleep.
5. Opt for Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers
The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, regular bar soaps may contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, wash with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel. (And do look for products specifically labeled “fragrance-free,” because “unscented” products may actually contain fragrances.) You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap overall, so limit your lathering to necessary areas, such as your hands, armpits, genitals, and feet.
6. Apply Sunscreen — Even on Gray Winter Days
On bright winter days, snow reflects the sun’s rays — up to 80 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation — increasing your risk of exposure. That means whether you’re out on the slopes, playing in the snow, or just walking through a parking lot on an errand run, it’s just as important to be applying sunscreen in the harsh winter weather as it is in the summer.
And don’t be fooled by darker, dreary days in winter, either. The sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage.
Before you go outside, apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your body.
7. Add an extra layer of skin care
To treat and cure extremely dry skin patches, such as around the eyes and on the cheeks, try this Beauty Lab and dermatologist-approved trick: Dab on a thick ointment like GH Seal star Aquaphor as a last step in your skincare routine. It acts as an occlusive, sealing in moisture and skin care and protecting skin from dehydration. For optimal effects, apply once any other products are already absorbed and rub in with fingers to help it soak in.
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