Taking Care of Dry Winter Skin

Cold weather doesn’t do your skin any favors, rather can play havoc. Here are a few tips for dry skin that will help you in calming down.

Cold weather doesn’t do your skin any favors, rather can play havoc. Winter air is more troublesome for those who already have naturally dry skin, as dry skin produces less sebum, your skin’s natural lubricant. Winter makes dry skin drier and can lead to pesky problems like flaking, cracking, itching, and even bleeding.

If you feel like your skin is still tight no matter how much moisturizing products you pile on, it’s probably because you need to try a multifaceted approach that targets those concerns. Here are a few tips to ensure a hydrated, glowing complexion and preventing dry flaking.

Close the bathroom door. Limit your time in the bathtub or shower to 5-10 minutes or less. Use lukewarm water rather than hot water, using hot water can remove sebum from the skin. Use mild, fragrance-free, creamy, hydrating, soap/cleanser you can find. Scrub, which removes dead skin, creates fresh skin that is more easily able to absorb moisturizers. Pat dry skin with a towel rather than rubbing.

Slather moisturizer immediately on damp skin. Massage moisturizer into your skin for 30 seconds to maximize its effect, twice daily, morning, and overnight. Apply thick cream on your hands and feet at night and after each hand wash. If your hands are frequently immersed in water, like washing dishes or clothes, wear waterproof gloves. Read ingredients on skin care products. Stop using skin care products containing alcohol, fragrance, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid.

Choose your moisturizer carefully. Look for a cream or ointment, rather than lotions, that contains an oil such as mineral oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, ceramide, lactic acid, urea, glycerine, or hyaluronic
acid, etc. Avoid any active skin lightening and anti-aging ingredients containing in your moisturizers.

Lips need special care because they have no oil glands of their own to keep them hydrated and cold wind or indoor heat depletes lips natural protective barrier, making them dry. Thus, each time you feel stretch on your lips rather than licking them or removing the flakes, apply lip balm, which creates a protective coating and heals the cracks. Any balm containing germ oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, Aloe vera, or shea butter is recommended.

Wear soft fabrics that breathe, such as 100% cotton, wear cotton or silk under your clothing made of wool or any other material that feels rough. Use laundry detergent labeled “hypoallergic”. Cover your skin when you step out in cold and windy weather. Wear gloves or mittens when going out, and head covering. Invest in tech-friendly gloves so you can use a cell phone.

Indoor heat further robs skin of the natural moisture, plus sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can also dry your skin. Use a humidifier or put a bowl of water in a heated room and avoid overheating. Keep the moisture level of the air in your home between 45-55%.

Use of sunscreen is essential in winters too, and winter sun can be just as damaging as summer. 11% zinc oxide, or titanium oxide, which are ultra-lightweight that spreads easily on the face and body is preferable.

Makeup tips; switch to hydrating makeup. Look for liquid and cream foundations, and blushes that contain hydrators such as glycerine and vitamin. Skip settling with powder, as it can look cakey, keep your makeup in place with a setting spray. Avoid long-lasting and matte lipsticks because their ingredients tend to cause dryness.

Hydrate your skin internally, with a direct connection between the gut and skin health. Eating food or supplement containing omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids help cure dry skin, like salmon fish or omega-3 capsules daily. Eating food high in water content like apples, oranges, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. also helps. Caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee are natural diuretics, that will cause dehydration, so their intake should be limited. Drink plenty of water.

In the end, I would like to say, if these simple measures don’t relieve your dry skin, visit a dermatologist. A dermatologist can examine your skin and recommend you a prescription ointment or cream.

By Dr Bushra Nadeem