Winter is on the way, which is bad news for your skin. Low humidity, winter wind, and dry indoor air can all cause dry, itchy and flaky skin. There are ways, however, to protect one’s skin during the winter:
1) Prepare your skin by getting it exfoliated.
Removing dead skin cells will enable the various moisturizers to penetrate more deeply. Either prescription or over-the-counter products may be used, providing it contains salicylic or lactic acid. Whichever you get, gently scrub your skin with it. If your skin is extremely dry or irritated, contact us first.
2) Use the right moisturizer.
Pick an oil-based moisturizer, for it will last longer and keep water sealed within your skin. Petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and glycerin also help keep skin from drying out. Regardless of what you choose, use it after taking a shower and then pat your skin dry.
3) Get clean the right way.
Avoid very hot baths or showers during the winter, since hot water dries out the skin. Instead, take short baths or showers with warm water, for those will help your skin hold onto the oils that keep it hydrated. Also, when bathing, use soap only on those places that need it like your face, feet, underarms and groin. The rest of your body tends not to get very dirty, so a warm-water wash is fine.
4) Be careful of the sun and the wind.
The sun’s rays are less intense during the winter, but can still damage your skin. In fact, snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays which is why people can get sunburns in the winter; therefore, you should use sunscreen. Some sunscreens double as moisturizers.
The wind, of course, tends to be cold, dry air that will dry out skin. Wearing a hat, scarf and sunglasses will help protect you from both the sun and the wind. Avoid going outside altogether if it’s extremely cold.
5) Eat healthy fats.
Fatty acids like omega-3s add to your skin’s oils and keep it moisturized. They also prevent acne. Cold-water fish like tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring and halibut are good sources of omerga-3s. So are walnuts, safflower oil, and flax.
6) Hydrate yourself and your house.
It’s especially important during the winter to drink plenty of water, so get your daily 6 or 8 glasses. Indoor heating tends to dry out the air in your home, so don’t keep it above 78 degrees. Try to keep the moisture level in your home between 40% and 50%.
A hygrometer or humidity monitor costs around $5.00 and will determine the humidity level in your house. Use a humidifier or indoor plants to keep the indoor air comfortably moist.
At Dermatology Associates, it is our priority to provide the highest quality skin care to patients. If you want to protect your skin during the winter, contact us today for an appointment. We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions and prepare you for the cold days to come.