Winter comes, winter goes, and it seems to take all of your skin’s moisture right along with it. Preventing dry skin can seem like your biggest challenge of the season, which includes major holidays might we add. If you’re wondering how to prevent dry skin this winter season from the confinements of your own home, we have answers!
Why is my skin so dry during the winter months?
As the leaves begin to fall from the trees and the thermometer reads lower day by day, like clockwork, your skin moves from dewy and sunkissed to dry and parched. Why?
Dry skin, “xerosis,” or “winter xerosis” is a direct result of lower temperatures and lower humidity levels. As the temperature plummets, so does the moisture content of the air. When air lacks moisture, it accelerates the rate at which you evaporate water from your skin in a process called Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Accelerated TEWL depletes moisture from the top layer of your skin leaving it dry and chapped.
As if the freezing temperatures and dry winter air weren’t enough to wreak havoc on your skin’s moisture content, regular use of the fireplace and central heating can exacerbate xerosis.
It may seem that your skin just cannot win during the winter months. Preventing dry skin in the cold, harsh months of winter is doable. It just requires a little preparation and a few tweaks to your daily routine.
Symptoms of Dry Skin
The first step in preventing dry skin during the winter months is to successfully identify or diagnose the condition. While the most common symptom of dry skin is a flaky, scaly appearance, there are additional symptoms which may indicate winter xerosis:
- Rough texture
- Raw, irritated skin
- A stinging or burning sensation
- Slight cracks in the skin
Symptoms may appear differently on various parts of your body. If you experience persistent symptoms that do not subside after at-home treatments, you should visit your dermatologist or primary doctor immediately. Some skin conditions like psoriasis or atopic dermatitis may require a prescription medication for treatment.
How to Prevent Dry Skin This Winter
As winter envelops the northern hemisphere, it does not have to sentence your skin to 3 months of dry, chapped, itchy skin. In fact, these 5 simple tips on how to prevent dry skin this winter can dramatically improve xerosis and repair your rocky relationship with winter.
Tip #1: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
The first and most effective tip for preventing dry skin during the winter months is to moisturize.
Thicker, emollient moisturizers with ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, glycerin, silicone, petrolatum, and linoleic acid are the golden ticket this winter. These ingredients will help to attract moisture from the surrounding environment, seal moisture into the skin, and fill the space between skin cells for a well-rounded, moisturizing effect.
How thick is too thick when it comes to moisturizers? The thicker the better! Thicker moisturizers create a stronger moisture barrier than creams or lotions, subsequently preventing dry skin during the winter months.
Tip #2: Apply Moisturizer Strategically
Work smarter, not harder. You can effectively combat dry skin this winter by strategically applying your moisturizer.
During the harsh winter months, you should apply moisturizer twice per day. If you listened to advice and invested in a thick, emollient moisturizer (think Vaseline or Aquaphor), it may be too greasy to apply in the AM. Save your lush moisturizer for PM application.
In fact, applying your emollient moisturizer directly after your nightly shower while the skin is still damp is a surefire tactic for preventing dry skin. Emollient moisturizers contain very little water in the formula while pure oils contain no water; when you apply these types of products to the skin while damp, it traps water on the skin further augmenting the moisturizing effect.
Tip #3: Turn Down the Heat
We hate to break it to you, but your shower is far too hot.
Hot showers or baths can rapidly dehydrate the skin by removing the skin’s natural oils. While a hot shower feels heavenly on a freezing, winter day, it is best to reduce the heat to lukewarm. If a lukewarm shower feels like torture, keep your showers between 3-5 minutes to avoid winter xerosis.
Tip #4: Check Ingredient Lists
Scanning ingredient labels on your skincare products is always a best practice. During the winter months, however, this is exceptionally important for preventing dry skin.
Body washes, deodorant soaps, and cleansers with alcohol, fragrances, or an exfoliating component are particularly harsh on dry, winter skin. When choosing a winter wash or cleanser, identify fragrance-free products with added oils and moisturizing ingredients to help your skin combat the season’s harsh environmental conditions.
Quick tip: refine your washing routine to “folded” areas of the skin during the winter months. This includes the armpits, the neck, and the groin. Avoid washing your arms, legs, and belly, which are rarely affected by sweat. This practice will reduce your exposure to harsh, cleansing ingredients and improve your skin’s moisture content.
Tip #5: Increase Home Humidity Levels
As we mentioned earlier, frigid outdoor air is one of two common culprits of dry winter skin. Dehydrated indoor air from central heating and/or a continuously burning fireplace can deplete the skin of moisture.
Wondering how to prevent dry skin both indoors as well as outdoors? Increase the humidity levels in your home by introducing a humidifying device. Humidifiers increase the moisture content of your home air, replacing moisture lost from various factors. Home humidity levels should range from 40% to 60% all year long, which will naturally replenish the skin’s moisture to reduce the dryness, redness, and itchiness associated with winter xerosis.
Canopy Humidifier is a no mist, anti-mold humidifier that both promotes healthy skin and alleviates the symptoms of the common cold and the flu. Canopy’s unique technology prevents mold from growing in the water tank, while dishwasher safe components make cleaning your Canopy Humidifier a breeze.