Winter is not only cold—really cold in some areas, it is also tough on the skin—really tough. The assault comes from the fact that cold winter air retains less moisture. The problem goes deeper than just venturing outside. Heaters in homes, offices and elsewhere create further problems by drying air even more. The result is a lot of itchy, dry skin and cracked lips. Not surprisingly, common skin conditions like eczema and rosacea are exacerbated. Beyond this, nasty, scaly psoriasis plaques can also flare up faster in the winter. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid these wintertime problems and help maintain healthy skin. WellWell, naturally, has a list of suggestions. Read on.
Turn Down Hot Showers
Long, hot showers or baths can feel great in the winter, but they’ll strip natural oils from the skin and dry out moisture. Opt instead for lukewarm water. Also, limit exposure to perhaps a 5-to-10-minute session.
Simple & Gentle Soaps & Body Washes
Harsh soaps are never good for skin health. They are particularly bad in winter when there are other factors doing damage. Stick to gentle soaps and body washes and avoid products with fragrances. Gentle soaps think Dove, Olay or Basis, are a good option, but perhaps an even better choice is hydrating cleansers.
It’s fine to use fingers and a gentle facial scrub to get rid of dry, dead skin. Exfoliating eliminates dead skin cells, helping to keep the top layer of skin fresh and absorbent. But don’t go overboard and be too vigorous scrubbing or even toweling. Just pat the skin dry.
Wash & Moisturize
During winter months it is critical to moisturize after washing. This will both add and retain moisture in the skin. Start by patting the skin dry after a wash and then apply a gentle moisturizer. It may take a few tries to get the right moisturizer. If unsure, check with a dermatologist.
Avoiding cracked lips in winter can be tough. The challenge is made worse because some “helpful” products are anything but. Waxy and flavored products can cause “lip gloss addiction,” a vicious cycle of licking dry, chapped lips. It is essential to avoid licking lips because evaporating saliva makes them even drier. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using simple solutions like white petroleum jelly products and moisturizing lip balms that contain sunscreen when going outdoors. Ointments seal better than waxes and oils.
Humidifiers are especially important at night because skin dries out more during sleep than during the day. Humidifiers help by pulling moisture back into the air to improve dry, itchy skin and help it retain that hydration. The process, supported by several strategically placed humidifies, can help with cracked lips, limp hair, itchy skin and bad allergies.
Water & Omega-3-Fatty Acids
Drinking water in winter is just as important as drinking it in summer. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize this, which helps lead to dry skin conditions. A dehydrated body will have trouble maintaining optimal skin hydration. Chowing down on foods with omega-3 fatty acids is another smart idea. They will not only help keep hair healthy, full and shiny, but these foods will combat rough, sensitive and dry skin.
The Right Clothing Stuff
It is a good idea to use protective waterproof gloves when washing dishes or doing other household cleaning tasks to prevent unhealthy cleaning products from hurting the skin. It is also a good idea to wear gloves and other cold-weather clothing when going outside. But here’s the catch. Wool is a winter “go-to” because it provides warmth, even when wet. Unfortunately, its scratchy fibers can cause mechanical irritation. In addition, wool, whose lanolin has been removed, can leech oils from the skin. So, be careful with wool. It is also wise to wash clothing with hypoallergenic and fragrance-free detergents and fabric softeners. This will make clothing less likely to irritate skin and cause problems.
Have a suggestion on how to protect your skin in winter? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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