Winter weather combined with indoor heating is known wreak havoc on our skin. Skin dryness, scaling, cracked lips, dry heals, and rough hands are some of the most commonly known winter woes. Those with serious skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis may have it even worse during winter time. Luckily, there are effective ways to keep your skin in prime condition as the weather get colder and central heating warmer. Follow these bits of advice for healthy skin this winter.
1. Choose a Winter Moisturizer
It goes without saying that you should moisturize your skin to avoid dryness and flaking, but you may need a heavy-duty moisturizer during the winter months, especially if your skin is naturally dry. However, if you have oily skin, make sure that your moisturizer is labeled as non-comedogenic. Oily skin types also need to protect their skin from drying winter conditions as well, but there is no need to use moisturizers containing oils or emollients. These ingredients can clog your pores and cause acne. If you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema, your skin problems may worsen during winter weather. Studies show that ceramide-containing creams help speed up eczema healing.
2. Increase Indoor Humidity
The dry indoor air from central heating can also cause skin dryness. Although humidifiers are a popular option to help with indoor air dryness, they don’t come without their own risks. Studies on air humidifiers show that they increase the numbers of airborne bacteria and fungus. In some cases, they can even lead to lung injury. Instead, you can place bowls filled with water on your radiators to increase room humidity in a safer way. Another way is to simply turn the heating down a bit until humidity levels reach a healthy 40% and open the windows to let fresh air into your room.
3. Avoid Hot Showers
It’s quite tempting to take a long, hot shower after a day out in the cold air. But medical experts at Baylor College of Medicine say that high temperatures during shower tend to increase skin dryness. Instead, Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine suggest taking lukewarm showers for no longer than 15 minutes during the winter months. The heat and steam from hot showers irritate the skin and strip your skin’s natural oils leaving it feeling dry. After a day in the cold air and desert-dry rooms, the last thing your skin needs is extra hot showers.
4. Special Creams for Dry Feet
Dry heels and rough skin on the feet in general are also common during winter. Using a specialized cream or lotion for your feet can help with uncomfortably dry winter feet. A study published in Skinmed found that a 6% salicylic acid cream decreased heel dryness and cracking significantly. Other options are creams with lactic acid or simple Vaseline to add extra moisture to your feet. Make sure to scrape off the dead skin from your feet using a pumice stone, preferably after a shower. This can help the ingredients in your creams penetrate the skin better and reduce roughness.
5. Drink Plenty of Lemon Juice
Lemon and citrus fruit, in general, are a rich source of vitamin C – a vitamin important for the health of our skin. As explained in an article published by the Micronutrient Information Center, vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Both dietary and topical vitamin C was found to provide a range of skin benefits, from preventing UV-damage to improving the skin’s barrier functioning. Since your skin will have to tackle a host of challenges during the winter months, it would be wise to give your skin the nutrients it needs to function and heal properly.
6. Use a Urea Cream for Your Hands
Urea, which is also known as carbamide, is the main substance found in urine. But urea is also naturally present in our skin and it helps our skin stay hydrated. Urea-based creams were found to be an effective remedy for dry skin according to a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology. When used in conjunction with glycerin, a urea cream can keep the skin on your hands soft and supple according to another study published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica. However, it is usually not advised to use a urea cream if you have any wounds on your skin as this can lead to skin irritation and prevent wound healing.
We all know how dry skin tends to be once the temperatures drop, but there are a lot of things you can do to reduce the damage done to your skin. From avoiding bad habits to applying moisturizer daily, it’s actually quite easy to treat dry winter skin. You can’t avoid the winter weather, but you can take the necessary steps to protect and nourish your skin while you enjoy the colder season.