Cold, dry windy weather wreaks havoc on our skin. Wind-burned cheeks, dry hands and cracked lips beg for our attention and thirst for hydration. Winter weather and indoor heat pull moisture away from the skin, leaving it dry, flaky and sometimes bleeding from small cracks in the skin and lips. Unless you have super oily skin, most people prefer the natural humidity that often accompanies the warmer months. Read on to discover some ways to quench dry winter skin.
How to Quench Dry Winter Skin
There are ways to combat the drying effects of cold weather. Replacing and retaining moisture in your dry skin is key. Drinking more water and eating foods such as cucumbers and celery also helps to keep your body and skin hydrated. When choosing the right winter moisturizer, creams and ointments tend to work better than lotions. When you apply a cream or ointment to your skin, it can hold more moisture in your skin than a lotion. Here are some additional tips and suggestions to hydrate your skin from the American Academy of Dermatology:
- Use warm rather than hot water when bathing and limit your time to 5 or 10 minutes.
- Apply moisturizer within a few minutes of drying off after a bath or shower, while your skin is still slightly damp. This helps seal the moisture in your skin.
- To relieve dry hands, carry a non-greasy hand cream with you and apply it after each hand washing.
- Wear lip balm. Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction. Choose a lip balm that contains an SPF of at least 30. Lips suffer from sun damage, too.
- Use only gentle, fragrance-free skin care products. Some skin care products, such as deodorant soaps, are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin. Dermatologists recommend using products labeled “fragrance-free.”
- Stop using skin care products that contain any of the following: Alcohol (except for hand sanitizer), Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), Fragrance, including deodorant soaps. If hand sanitizer dries your skin, apply moisturizer as soon as the sanitizer dries.
- Wear gloves. Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you: go outdoors in cold weather, immerse your hands in water, or handle chemicals or grease.
- Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source. Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can dry your skin.
- Add moisture to the air. Plug in a humidifier. If you can, check your home heating system to find out if you have a humidifier on the system — and whether it’s working.
The providers at Pariser Dermatology have chosen some of their favorite skin moisturizing products that we sell online and at our offices. Click here to learn more.
When to Contact a Dermatologist
If you still have dry skin after following these tips, you may need a dermatologist’s help. To heal dry skin, some people need a prescription cream or ointment. If you have a skin condition that causes extremely dry skin, such as atopic dermatitis, you need to treat the skin condition to relieve dry skin. A dermatologist can diagnose you and provide the treatment you need.