Every winter, that unpleasant menace dry skin plagues millions of people. They spend their days itching ashy legs, licking chapped lips, and nursing painfully cracked hands. Unfortunately, most of us consider this as unavoidable as snow in January.
We bundle up, suffering, and dreamily waiting for spring to come and chase away the problem. However, if you are prone to dry skin during the cold season, you need not resign yourself to your fate. There are several easy steps you can take to prevent it so that your skin is moist and beautiful year-round.
Dry skin is the result of low moisture. If you watch the weather report on cold winter mornings, you have probably heard the weatherman talk about low humidity, the scientific term for a shortage of water in the air. This dry climate translates into dry skin, even for those who do not spend much time outdoors during the winter.
The reason for this is that dry air sucks the moisture out of the skin. In order to avoid having dry skin, you need to take measures to control the humidity in your environment and keep it locked into your skin.
A vital part of your skincare regimen, throughout the year and especially in the dry winter months, should be a moisturizer. Lotions and body creams provide a protective layer on the skin, helping to hold in the water that keeps it supple. If you normally use a light body lotion, switch to a richer formula when the temperature drops. Doing so will feed thirsty skin and keep out the drying effects of the cold with a thin oily layer.
Incorporate moisturizing into your daily routine, applying it directly after you have toweled off after bathing. Keep in mind that you should take a warm — not hot — bath. High temperatures, in the shower and out, lead to dehydration, which is the cause of dry skin.
Choose an appropriate lotion for your face as well, both to keep it moisturized and to fight the signs of aging that come with thirsty skin. Wear chapstick, especially when going outdoors, to keep your lips from cracking in low humidity.
Your body needs moisture inside as well as out to keep the skin lush and healthy. For the sake of your health as well as your skin, consider kicking your habit for coffee, carbonated drinks, and tea (all of which are diuretics and can cause dehydration), opting instead for pure water. By getting the recommended six to eight glasses daily, you will keep dry skin at bay and will feel better all around.
Scrubbing dead skin cells from the body is undeniably one of the easiest ways to keep your epidermis looking delectable in all seasons. At least once a week, exfoliate your whole body with a loofah or body-polishing pad. Every three days or so, you should also use a mild exfoliant like an oatmeal soap or complexion scrub on your face.
Pumice stones are great for removing coarse skin from the heels of the feet and are available at most drugstores. Just remember not to do any of these too often, which can irritate the skin, or scrub cracked or broken-out areas.
As mentioned earlier, the weather indoors during winter can contribute to dry skin as much as outdoor temperatures. This is because electric heaters leach moisture out of the air, dropping humidity far below optimal levels. In order to replace environmental moisture, it is a good idea to set up humidifiers around the house.
Choose a model with a humidity gauge and adjust the unit until it reaches between forty and forty-five percent humidity. Keep in mind that running a humidifier too high can create conditions in which mold thrives — warmth and wetness — so do not go too high. You can also feed water into the air by filling your home with plants. They release water as part of photosynthesis, so they can provide the benefits of a humidifier and air purifier in one.
When you venture outdoors during the winter, you undoubtedly don your cold weather gear. A heavy coat, hat, gloves, and boots protect you from wind, cold, and cold-induced dehydration. However, indoors few people take such precautions.
While you certainly do not need a coat indoors, you do need to safeguard against moisture-leaching substances around the house. Never wash the dishes or work with household chemicals without putting on gloves. Take care of your feet when you are home, wearing cotton socks or slippers instead of going barefoot.
By following these suggestions, you can almost guarantee that your skin will never again suffer from extreme dryness through the winter months. If you find that, even with these preventative measures, you still experience excessively parched skin, it may be time to consult your doctor.
Chronic skin conditions like eczema, although often more pronounced in the winter, are not directly caused by low humidity and require special treatment. However, for most of us, replenishing vital moisture will keep the skin supple even in the bitterest cold.Chronic skin