Even though it's often called the most magical time of the year, for many of us, the cold winter months bring a persistent feeling of dry skin.
If you are someone who is constantly trying out new lotions in the battle against itchy hands, arms and face, the solutions may be easier than you think.
When your skin doesn’t have enough protective oils, moisture escapes from it. And when there isn’t enough water in the outermost layer of your skin, it becomes dry.
This effect can intensify during the winter, when environmental humidity is low. While switching to a good moisturizer at the first sign of chill proves, skin care specialists advice to adopt some simple habits that can increase your skin’s natural moisture and prevent it from drying out. Here are some of their best tips.
#1 Invest in a good quality humidifier
The drier the air, the drier the skin. To boost the amount of water in the air, experts recommend placing a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time – which for many people is the bedroom. An air humidifier increases the moisture level in the air, helping our skin’s barrier stay hydrated. Moreover, make sure that the heat is kept on low or at a moderate temperature to avoid extra dryness in the air.
#2 Keep your showers short
When you’re trying to rehydrate your skin, it may seem like a good idea to soak in lots of water. But water can actually make the condition of dry skin even worse, especially if you use hot, soapy water. Too much washing can strip the protective oils from your skin, leaving it vulnerable to dehydration.
While hot showers and baths always feel good in the winter, when you can, choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping as many oils away from the skin. While taking a shower, be sure to limit your time to 5 or 10 minutes.
#3 Apply moisturizer immediately after washing
Slather on the moisturizer immediately after drying your skin with a towel. Ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To keep this much-needed moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within few minutes of drying off after a shower or bath or washing your face or hands. Actually, it makes a big difference!
#4 Use the right products
You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer. But as weather conditions change, so should your skincare routine.
Some over-the-counter moisturizers have petroleum-based ingredients that can actually further dry your skin in the winter months. Be sure to choose a smart formula that has natural, nourishing ingredients.
Use an "ointment" moisturizer that is oil-based, rather than water-based, since the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled as "night creams" are oil-based.)
But choose your oils with care, because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Look for "non-clogging" oils: like avocado oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. Shea oil or shea butter is somewhat controversial, because it can clog facial pores.
#5 Watch your diet
You may have noticed that there is a direct connection between the gut and skin health. In the winter, our skin needs more of healthy fats that you may receive from food.
One habit for increasing your daily intake of fats is eating a diet rich in walnuts, olive oil, and avocados. (But of course, this is not a substitute for a proper skin-care routine).
While that extra glass of full-bodied red wine on a cold evening may seem like a good idea, specialists recommend to watch out and not to overdo it with alcohol, caffeine, and coffee – all of these are diuretics that will cause dehydration.
And remember to drink lots of water.
Yes, this is good not just for the hot summer days! We tend to drink less water in the winter, because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea. But your skin also needs hydration from the inside out. For instance, a little warm water with lemon, especially in the morning, can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.