The weather outside is frightful, and the effects are not delightful.
The cold and dry air, low humidity, and indoor heating dry out and weaken our skin’s outer layer. In addition, there is a reduction of a protein that helps maintain our skin barrier and natural moisture. It is a recipe for flaky skin and irritation, and it can worsen skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
December through March is also peak flu season, so we are constantly washing our hands and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer and chemical disinfectant wipes. These three habits may reduce bacteria but also strip the moisture from our hands and cause further damage. We need to make a few changes to our current skincare routines to combat winter dryness.
Here are five tips to keep in mind.
The easiest way to regain moisture in the skin is to use a moisturizer twice a day, preferably on damp skin or after showering. Opt for a thick moisturizer containing Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, and Petrolatum over lighter creams to lock in the most moisture.
Skip Hot Showers
Although a nice hot shower to warm up on a cold night may feel relaxing, hot water only dries out the skin more. Reduce shower time to fifteen minutes and use lukewarm water instead.
Protect Your Lips
Wind and constantly licking our lips lead to chapped, irritated lips or “lick eczema.” Seal lips with an ointment or moisturizing lip balm, especially before eating and drinking.
Switch Facial Cleansers
Cleansing daily helps diminish acne and eliminate excess impurities on the face, but some ingredients strip too many natural oils. Switch to a gentler cleanser without fragrance, sulfates, or alcohol.
After moisturizing, add a layer of an occlusive ingredient such as mineral oil-hydrophilic petrolat or petroleum jelly to provide a protective seal and prevent loss of hydration. Ointments can heal cracked hands or lips too.