Winter Skin Care
Winter can wreak havoc on your skin — making it dry, itchy, and irritated. Cold, blustery conditions outside can leave your skin feeling raw, while indoor heat zaps moisture from the air and from your skin. But there are many simple ways to combat the causes of dry winter skin and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all season long. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to effective winter skincare so that you can feel your best all winter long.
- Invest in a Humidifier to Maximize Moisture – Using a humidifier in your home or office will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom.
- Lower the Thermostat to Avoid Dryness – When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool yet comfortable setting — 68°F to 72°F — to maintain healthy skin.
- Limit Shower Time and Temperature – It may be tempting to take a long, steamy shower, but your skin will be much better served with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath.) You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands. Washing your hands in cooler water appears to be as effective at removing germs as warm water and is less irritating to skin. And if you’re using a restroom air hand-dryer, use it just until your hands are damp rather than perfectly dry.
- 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.
- Modify Your Facial Skin-Care Regimen for the Season – During the winter months, choose cream-based cleansers, and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your face. And don’t forget your lips. Applying a moisturizing balm helps heal dry, cracked lips and keeps them from getting chapped.
- Moisturize Frequently, Especially Your Hands – Maintain healthy skin by moisturizing after washing up. It’s best to use a cream or ointment in the winter. Lotions are better in warmer, humid climates. Applying hand cream after each washing can help.
- Apply Sunscreen — Even on Gray Winter Days – On bright winter days, snow reflects the sun’s rays increasing your risk of exposure. That means whether you’re out playing in the snow or just walking through a parking lot on an errand run, it’s just as important to be applying sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher in the winter weather as it is in the summer.
- Wear Appropriate, Comfortable, Nonirritating Clothing – 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.
- Remember to Eat Right and Stay Hydrated – Sometimes when skin is very dry, it can be helped by foods or supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil.
- 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.
If you are experiencing dryness, discomfort, or irritation after trying these healthy skin tips you can contact Western Maryland Dermatology at (301) 777-7900 or visit us online at wmderma.com/contact where you can chat with one of our reservation specialists.