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Sometimes, it's hard to resist the winter charms – especially if you're an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for skiing, snowboarding, or simply a refreshing mountain hike. But snow, winds, and low humidity during winter often make our skin dry out, which is usually accompanied by irritation, redness, cracking, and related discomforts.
Therefore, our skin needs special care during the harsh winter months so it can welcome the spring fresh and youthful. In today's article, we'll share some skincare tips you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep your skin healthy and hydrated even in these conditions.
Skincare in Winter: The Most Important Steps
Cold weather doesn't only affect our skin when spending time outside. It's also affected when inside because heating can dry out the indoor air, making our skin dry and dehydrated too.
But not to worry! You can help your skin by following some (if not all) of these tips to combat dry skin during winter:
#1: Moisturize Regularly
Using a moisturizer on your face and body can help to keep your skin hydrated. Look for a moisturizer with thicker, more nourishing formulas during the winter months.
It would help if you applied your moisturizer to damp skin to lock in all that water. For example, after washing your face or taking a shower, pat your skin gently with a soft towel and then apply a rich moisturizer while your skin is still slightly wet.
And try to remember to moisturize your whole body. It's not just your face that needs hydration. Also, be sure to apply moisturizer to your hands, neck, décolleté, and any other areas of your body that are delicate and prone to dryness.
Some of the most nourishing, hydrating, and moisturizing ingredients to look for in face and body creams and lotions are:
- Hyaluronic acid: This is a natural substance that can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. It draws moisture into the skin and can help to plump up the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, always apply products with hyaluronic acid to damp or wet skin; otherwise, it will draw moisture out of the deeper layers of the skin.
- Glycerin: Similar to hyaluronic acid, this is also a humectant, which means that it helps to draw water into the skin and hold onto it.
- Ceramides: These are lipids (fats) that are found naturally in the skin. They help form a barrier on the skin's surface to help lock in moisture.
- Niacinamide: This is a form of vitamin B3 that improves and strengthens the skin's barrier function, which, in turn, keeps the skin hydrated.
- Shea butter: This is a natural fat that is obtained from the nuts of the shea tree. It's rich in fatty acids and can effectively moisturize the skin.
- Panthenol: Also known as pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, panthenol is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many skincare products due to its moisturizing properties. It heals dry, damaged skin and makes it feel softer and smoother. Panthenol can also help to soothe and calm irritated skin.
- Evening primrose oil: This ingredient has emollient properties, which means it prevents water loss from the skin. It also improves the skin texture, leaving it smooth and velvety.
- Avocado oil: Perfect choice for the cold winter months, as it not only moisturizes the skin but also calms itchiness and irritation and heals cracked skin.
- Castor oil: Hydrogenated castor oil, or castor wax, is a common ingredient in skincare products for dry skin. Besides healing and moisturizing the skin, castor oil also has anti-aging properties.
- Dimethicone: This is a silicone used in skincare products due to its occlusive properties. This essentially means that it creates a protective barrier on top of your skin, preventing water loss and protecting it from harsh elements. So if you plan to spend some time outside, apply a moisturizer with dimethicone to shield your skin.
#2: Use a Humidifier Indoors
As we mentioned above, dry indoor air can contribute to dry skin as well. So using a humidifier in your office and home will help to add moisture to the air and keep your skin hydrated.
As the name suggests, a humidifier is a device that increases the humidity (moisture) in the air. So, placing it in the rooms you spend most of your time, like your bedroom or living room, will be most effective.
You can even adjust the humidity level to your desired setting. But, it's generally recommended to keep the humidity level between 30-50% for optimal comfort and health. And don't forget to clean the humidifier regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
#3: Avoid Hot Water
Hot water can dry out the skin because it can strip it of its natural oils. When you take a steaming-hot shower or bath, the heat of the water causes your pores to open up, allowing the natural oils in your skin to escape. These natural oils, called sebum, keep your skin moisturized and hydrated. When the sebum is stripped away, your skin will become more prone to dryness and flakiness.
Another reason that hot water can dry out the skin is that it can cause the skin to lose its natural pH balance. The skin's pH is a measure of its acidity or basicity, which is vital for maintaining healthy skin. Hot water can disrupt the skin's natural pH balance, leading to irritation, acne, and other skin issues.
To help prevent your skin from becoming dry, you can try using lukewarm water instead of hot water when you shower, bathe and wash your face. You can also use a moisturizing soap or body wash to help replace the natural oils stripped away by the water. After showering or face cleansing, be sure to pat your skin dry gently and apply a rich body lotion or face moisturizer to prevent the moisture from escaping and keep your skin nourished and hydrated.
#4: Protect Your Skin From the Elements
To protect your skin from dryness and irritation caused by cold winds and low humidity, you need to protect it when you're outside. Wear gloves, a scarf, and a hat to shield your skin as much as possible from the elements.
It would help if you also considered using sunscreen or sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from the sun. Wearing sunscreen during winter is a must because UVA sun rays are as strong as in summer. In addition, snow is an excellent reflector of the sun's rays, so be extra careful on clear winter days.
#5: Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can cause the skin to look dry, flaky, and wrinkled, so it's essential to drink enough water throughout the day. When the skin is properly hydrated, it will be more resistant to harsh elements, and it will appear plump and healthy.
In general, it's recommended to drink at least 8 cups of water daily to help maintain your skin's health. However, the exact amount of water that you need may vary depending on your age, gender, weight, and activity level. If you're unsure how much water you should be drinking, you can talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for guidance.
#6: Avoid Harsh Skincare Products
Harsh soaps and cleansers can irritate your skin and strip it of its natural oils, so choosing products formulated for dry, sensitive skin is essential. Avoid using alcohol-based toners and astringents, and consider using gentle, fragrance-free, and sulfate-free cleansers.
Your skin is especially vulnerable during winter and is more prone to damage from the sun, wind, and cold temperatures. But, by following these tips, you can protect your skin from the harsh winter weather and keep it in its best shape. So, have your skincare routine on point, drink plenty of water, and shield it with a scarf, hat, and gloves – your skin will thank you later!
How do you fix dry skin in winter?
To prevent and heal dry skin during cold winter months, you should keep it moisturized with creams that are richer and creamier in texture. Also, avoiding hot water and skincare products with harsh ingredients, like alcohol or fragrance, may help.
Why does my skin dry out so fast in winter?
During winter, the air humidity drops, drawing moisture out of your skin and leaving it dry. In addition, heating can dry out the air indoors, making your skin completely dehydrated.
What fixes extremely dry skin?
If your skin is extremely dry, accompanied by flakiness and cracking, you can help it with a few tweaks in your skincare routine. For example, use gentle cleansers, don't wash your face with hot water, and use face moisturizers with nourishing formulas.
Does drinking water help dry winter skin?
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help keep your skin hydrated and less prone to dryness. Up to eight glasses of water per day are usually enough, but it will depend on your weight and activity level.
Is coconut oil good for dry skin?
Yes, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizing ingredient and a great home remedy for dry skin. You can apply a thin layer of coconut oil as the last step of your evening skincare routine or use products that already contain it.