Dry skin is a common issue for people during the wintertime. Most of us experience dry, flaky, itchy skin regardless of our age. Winter wind, low humidity, dry indoor air and harsh soaps are often the culprits. During the wintertime, there are ways to reduce dry, itchy, flaky skin. You just have to find a method that works for you.
Prepare Your Skin
The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare your skin. You can prepare your skin by clearing away old skin cells. Once you clear away old skin cells, your moisturizer will be able to penetrate in your skin deeper.
Dermatologists’ recommend exfoliating with over-the-counter or prescription keratolytic moisturizer. Before you purchase keratolytic moisturizer, you need to be sure that it contains lactic or salicylic acid. Be sure to exfoliate your skin gently. If your skin is extremely dry or irritated, you’ll want to talk to a doctor before starting a new skin care regimen.
It’s important that you find an oil-based moisturizer. Once you find an oil-based moisturizer, you’ll want to check if it’s a thick, heavy product. Thick, heavy products will stay on your skin longer, and they’ll prevent water from evaporating from your skin.
If you don’t like lotions or creams, you can help your dry skin by using a moisturizer with basic ingredients such as mineral oil, petroleum jelly or glycerin.
Ointments and Creams Work Better Than Lotion
If you like ointments and creams, you’ll want to use one of those to moisturize your skin. Not only are ointments and creams more effective compared to lotion, but they’re also less irritating. When you look for an ointment or cream, try to find one that contains olive oil or jojoba oil. Shea butter is also a good option. Other ingredients that’ll help soothe dry skin include lanolin, urea, hyaluronic acid and dimethicone.
Baths and Showers
There are a few tips you can use to avoid making your dry skin worse. Follow these tips:
- Use warm water
- Close the bathroom door
- Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser
- Gently pat your skin dry
- Don’t spend more than 10 minutes in the shower or bath
- Don’t use too much cleanser
- Apply moisturizer immediately after drying your skin
Taking long, hot showers will only make your skin drier. Taking short, lukewarm baths or showers will help your skin retain its natural oils.
You may like to use soap over your entire body, but you shouldn’t do that. Try to use soap on areas that really need it. These areas may include your face, groin, feet and underarms. Using minimal amounts of soap will help your skin retain its natural oils.
Use Gentle Cleansers
Avoid scented skin care products. Scented skin care products are usually harsh for dry, itchy skin. Using scented cleansers will strip your skin of essential oils that your skin needs. Mild cleansers or soap-free products include Dove, Cetaphil, Dreft, Aveeno and Neutrogena. Avoid skin care products that contain alcohol, retinoids, fragrance and alpha-hydroxy acid as well as deodorant or anti-bacterial soaps.
Body washes with petrolatum will help soothe itchy, dry skin. These body washes will help trap water in your skin.
Our hands are usually the driest area of our bodies during the wintertime. You can reduce dryness on your hands by wearing gloves. It’s important that you wear gloves before you:
- Go outdoors during the wintertime
- Perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet
- Get chemicals, greases or other substances on your hands
Wear Lip Balm
If your skin is dry in the wintertime, your lips probably are too. Wearing lip balm will help dryness. Some healing lip balms may irritate your lips. If you feel tingling or stinging after you apply lip balm, you should switch to a lip balm that doesn’t cause a reaction.
Use a Humidifier
Some home heating systems may have a built-in humidifier. If you do have a built-in humidifier, you’ll want to check to see if it’s working. If it’s not working, purchase a humidifier. You’ll want to an indoor moisture level between 40 and 50 percent. A humidity monitor can help you track indoor moisture levels, and they’re inexpensive.
It’s important that you hydrate yourself by drinking a lot of water. To keep your skin at optimal hydration, you’ll want to drink between six and eight glasses of water daily.
If none of these tips are helping you, you’ll want to visit a dermatologist. A dermatologist will be able to prescribe stronger treatments to help soothe your dry, itchy skin. A dermatologist will also be able to help you create a skin care regime for your individual needs.