Cold weather, with its low relative humidity, wreaks havoc on our skin, causing it to become dry and flaky. The skin becomes dry if it is deprived of moisture, and dryness often aggravates the itchiness, producing a condition commonly known as "winter itch."
The moisture of the skin is affected by air dryers and heating, but there are some easy tips to follow to avoid suffering from annoying dryness in winter. We recommend the following 10 tips for keeping skin smooth:
1. Hydrate daily. Petroleum jelly or cream-based moisturizers are better than lotions for normal to dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose a moisturizer without fragrance or lanolin. Apply moisturizer directly to damp skin after bathing so that the moisturizer helps capture moisture on the surface.
2. Cleanse the skin without overdoing it. Too much cleaning removes natural moisturizers from the skin. Once a day is enough to wash your face, hands, feet, and between skin folds. While you can rinse your torso, arms, and legs every day, you don't need soap or cleanser on these areas every day.
3. Limit the use of hot soapy water. If you have "winter itch," you can take short lukewarm showers or baths with a non-irritating, non-detergent-based cleanser. Immediately afterward, apply a thick cream or petroleum jelly-type moisturizer. Gently massage dry skin.
4. Moisten the environment. Dry air can draw moisture out of your skin. Humidifiers can be very beneficial. However, be sure to clean the unit and change the water according to the manufacturer's instructions to reduce mold and mildew.
5. Protect yourself from the wind. Cover the face and use a petroleum jelly-based lip balm.
6. Avoid extreme cold. Cold temperatures can cause frostbite or skin disorders in some people. See a doctor immediately if you develop color changes in your hands or feet accompanied by pain or ulceration. If you develop extreme pain, followed by loss of feeling in a finger or toe, you may experience frostbite.
7. Protect your skin from the sun. Remember that the winter sun can also be dangerous for your skin. Even in winter, you should use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher if you are going to be outdoors for long periods. Excessive exposure to sunlight can lead to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
8. Avoid winter tanning. Tanning beds and artificial sunlamps are always harmful to the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. If you want to maintain your summer glow, use self-tanners in conjunction with the extra moisturizer, as self-tanners can also dry out your skin.
9. Take vitamin D supplements. During the summer, the natural production of vitamin D increases during the summer as a result of daily exposure to the sun, but when winter arrives this exposure decreases and so does the natural production of this vitamin.
10. Consult your dermatologist. If you have persistent dry skin, peeling, itching, rashes, or skin growths that concern you, see your dermatologist, not just in winter, but at any time of year.