Cold temperatures often lead to low humidity that can dry out the skin; this is especially true if the climate is very windy.A common condition during the winter is xerosis, which is the medical name for dry skin, caused by a “lack of moisture”. During winter months, skin will generally be dryer and can make other skin ailments such as eczema more likely to flare up. Proper moisturizing during the winter is key.
If you’re struggling with dry skin, here are a few helpful reminders to help keep your skin looking and feeling great all winter long:
1. Limit time in the shower to five or 10 minutes. It may not seem like much, but any longer than this can strip away too much moisture from your skin. Keep the bathroom door closed during your shower to hold in humidity. Use warm, not hot water. Hot water is much more likely to strip moisture from the skin.
2. As soon as you’re done in the shower, apply moisturizer to trap in and maximize the amount of moisture.
3. Instead of lotion, use an ointment or cream. These products are less likely to irritate the skin and can create a barrier between your skin and drying elements or other irritants. Some ingredients that can specifically address dry skin include olive or jojoba oil, shea butter, lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, and petroleum jelly.
4. In both hot and cold weather, you should always be aware of and take steps to avoid the effects of the sun. Not only does sun exposure put you at risk for cancers, burns, and premature aging, it also dries out your skin. So use sunscreen, even in the winter.
5. Don’t neglect your lips.Choose a lip balm that is soothing to your lips. Many medicated balms have mint in them, causing tingling or burning. Find a product that moisturizes and soothes instead. It may sound counter-intuitive, but most lip balms have high levels of alcohol that will dry your lips. Ingredients on packaging are listed from the highest to the lowest amount. Look for products that have alcohol listed towards the end of the ingredient list.
Finally, don’t forget your dermatologist is your partner in all things skincare related, including attention for dry skin.