Chapped lips, redness, flakes…the colder months have a special way of wreaking havoc on our skin, thanks in part to harsh temperatures, dry indoor heat, and all kinds of inclement weather. So how do we maintain some kind of healthy glow from now until springtime? (Hint: It’s not just about slathering on moisturizer fifteen times a day.) From adjusting your wardrobe (yes, really) to showering more mindfully, these five dermatologist-approved pointers will help keep your face fresh and irritation-free—even as the mercury keeps dropping.
We know how tempting a hot shower or bath can be in those cold winter months. But you may want to consider using lukewarm water, as overly hot baths and showers can damage your skin. That extra hot water can remove the natural oils that keep your skin healthy.
Another tip? When drying your skin, use a gentler method. Try using a soft towel to pat-dry, as this can keep your skin from getting irritated as well as reduce redness. Limiting your shower or bath time to five or ten minutes can also prevent your skin from drying out. One final tip: Apply your skincare products right after you dry off, so your skin can absorb some much-needed moisture right when it needs it most.
Dermatologists often recommend simple, mild skin creams. For example, fragrance-free moisturizers are usually gentler on the skin. Heavily-scented products, on the other hand, are harsher and can lead to unwanted reactions like skin irritation, rashes, and general itchiness. In place of deodorant soaps or fragrant creams, you can try using unscented skin care products instead.
With some trial and error you can figure out what works best for your skin, but in general, ointments and creams are more effective for promoting healthy skin. Some milder ingredients to look for when shopping for the right products are lactic acid, lanolin, jojoba oil, mineral oil, and shea butter.
How much water are you drinking? This can have a huge impact on the dryness of your skin. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated from the inside can help you avoid the dry, flaky skin. It may also help to eat foods that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, as these ingredients are known to help fortify healthy skin cells.
If you’re experiencing dryness, a good rule of thumb is to opt for loose, comfortable, natural fabrics that won’t irritate your skin. Avoid those harsh materials, like wool, as much as possible! An extra insider tip is to avoid using regular detergents when washing your clothes; instead, try out some detergents formulated for sensitive skin, which are much more likely to be free of harsh chemicals and fragrances.
If you’ve got the heat on blast during the winter months, a humidifier is one great way to add some much-needed moisture back into the air of your home, which can help to relieve skin dryness. In fact, a humidifier setting of 60 percent in winter can replenish moisture in the top layer of your skin.
For many of us, dry, flaky skin is a wintertime reality. The good news is that with the right skincare products and few extra moisturizing steps, you can get back to your glowing in no time. If you find that you're still struggling with your skin after trying these at-home remedies, get in touch with your provider so you can find the treatment that’s right for you.
Resources 1. Dermatologists' top tips for relieving dry skin. American Academy of Dermatology 2. Hot showers can damage skin during winter. Baylor College of Medicine. 3. Omega-3 fatty acids. Mount Sinai Health System. 4. van Amerongen, C. C. A., Ofenloch, R. F., Cazzaniga, S., Elsner, P., Gonçalo, M., Naldi, L., Svensson, Å., Bruze, M., & Schuttelaar, M. L. A. (2021, June). Skin exposure to scented products used in daily life and fragrance contact allergy in the European general population - The Eden Fragrance Study. Contact dermatitis. 5. What to do about dry skin in winter. Harvard Health. (2011, February 1).