Have you noticed how your skin reacts to the change of the seasons?
If so, you've probably noticed that your skin often looks drier and more flaky during the colder winter months.
Cold air, dry indoor heat, low humidity levels and harsh winter winds can strip moisture from the skin.
This can make your skin look much less radiant than normal - not just your face, but also your hands, feet and other areas.
You can take steps to keep your skin healthy even when the temperatures drop and there's no escape from the cold, dry winter air.
What are the signs of dry skin?
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of dry skin include:
- irritated skin
- rough texture
Symptoms can vary in severity and look different depending on the affected area of your body.
How to protect dry skin in winter
Let's look at 10 tips that can help you improve the health of your skin during the colder months of the year.
1. Moisturize immediately after washing
Every time you wash your face, hands or body, you are washing away your skin's natural oils. Because these oils help retain moisture, it's essential to replace them. That's why it's important to use a nourishing cream every time you wash your skin, especially in winter.
2. Apply sunscreen daily
With winter's shorter days and less sunlight, it may be tempting to cut sunscreen from your morning routine – but think again. Even in winter, harmful UV light can still stress your skin's moisture barrier, which is vital to maintaining skin health and hydration.
Try adding a layer of sunscreen every morning after applying moisturizer.
3. Use night creams
Night treatments are an excellent way to revive or prevent dry skin. Emollients are great for moisturizing. However, they are a heavier type of cream, so they may take longer to absorb into your skin.
4. Change up your skin care regimen
If your facial skin seems particularly sensitive or irritated due to the dry winter air, you may want to simplify your routine. Consider using just a moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning and a gentle cleanser with a moisturizer at night.
5. Use a moisturizer
Humidifiers help to restore moisture, which is especially useful in the winter months when heating systems are turned on at maximum output.
Having more moisture in the air can help as a natural moisturizing agent, which in turn can prevent and relieve skin dryness.
6. Reduce the temperature
A hot shower or bath at the end of a cold winter day can feel especially soothing. But to keep your skin nourished, keep the water temperature closer to lukewarm.
Also, be careful when drying your skin. Instead of scrubbing vigorously, gently pat your skin with a soft cloth, which can allow some of the moisture to hydrate the top layer of your skin.
7. Be restrained in the use of exfoliants and scrubs
If your skin feels dry or flaky, you may want to opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant rather than a physical scrub. Harsher exfoliants with large particles may be more likely to disrupt your skin's moisture barrier and cause damage.
If your skin is cracked, raw, or irritated, it may be best to avoid exfoliating until your skin heals.
8. Try adding occlusives to your routine
Earlier we mentioned using emollients to help smooth and restore your skin's barrier.
But if you find that emollient ingredients aren't enough to heal your dry skin, you may want to incorporate occlusive ingredients into your skin care routine.
Occlusive ingredients provide a physical barrier to lock moisture into your skin.
Examples of occlusive ingredients include:
- shea butter
- coconut oil
- rosehip oil
- jojoba oil
9. Stay hydrated
Another key step to keeping your skin healthy and glowing is making sure you're well-hydrated throughout the day.
Not getting enough fluids can affect the appearance of your skin and also make it more prone to dryness.
In addition to staying well hydrated, you may also want to focus on eating foods high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
10. Wear gloves
To protect your hands, wear warm gloves when you go out in the cold.