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Skin care during Winter

The most dreaded time of the year is here. Winter Is here and it seems it’s going to be a white Christmas as winter not only started early but it’s snowing in most places now. During this time, the cold dry air can leave your skin not only red, irritated and itchy.

You might ask how does winter affect my skin? My skin seems cool and good to go.

Permit us to let you know that cold temperatures and low humidity levels result in dry air that draws moisture away from the skin. Harsh winter winds and dry indoor heat can make the problem worse and lead to cracked and even bleeding skin. Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis may also flare up during these cold, dry months.

Cooler weather can act as a tonic or astringent – reducing clogs and keeping pores less visible and refined. Cold weather also slows down and prevents the secretion of sebum, which waterproofs the skin and hair, keeping shine at bay and reducing acne.

Here are Top 10 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

1. Invest in a Humidifier to Maximize Moisture

Using a humidifier in your home or office will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom.

2. Lower the Thermostat to Avoid Dryness

When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool yet comfortable setting — 68°F to 72°F — to maintain healthy skin.

3. Limit Shower Time and Temperature

It may be tempting to take a long, steamy shower, but your skin will be much better-served with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath), as the AAD suggests. You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands — if the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s too hot. Washing your hands in cooler water appears to be as effective at removing germs as warm water and is less irritating to skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2) And if you’re using a restroom air hand-dryer, use it just until your hands are damp rather than perfectly dry.

4. Opt for Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers

The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, regular bar soaps may contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, wash with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel. (And do look for products specifically labeled “fragrance-free,” because “unscented” products may actually contain fragrances.) You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap overall, so limit your lathering to necessary areas, such as your hands, armpits, genitals, and feet.

5. Modify Your Facial Skin-Care Regimen for the Season

During the winter months, choose cream-based cleansers, and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin. When your skin is dry and itchy, the AAD recommends you stop using products that contain alcohol and fragrances in order to help skin retain its natural oils. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your face.

And don’t forget your lips. Applying a moisturizing balm (such as petroleum jelly or another ointment) can help heal dry, cracked lips and keep them from getting chapped, according to the AAD. (3) If, however, your lip product causes a stinging or tingling sensation, try switching to a different product.

6. Moisturize Frequently, Especially Your Hands

Maintain healthy skin by moisturizing after washing up. “It’s best to use a cream or ointment in the winter. Lotions are better in warmer, humid climates. And don’t forget your hands,” says Dr. Stein Gold. Hand-washing, as the CDC notes, is vital, especially during cold and flu season. But, as Stein Gold points out, “constant washing will cause the hands to take a beating.”

Applying a hand cream after each washing can help, Stein Gold adds. She also recommends wearing waterproof gloves when washing dishes or cleaning around the house.

7. Apply Sunscreen — Even on Gray Winter Days

On bright winter days, snow reflects the sun’s rays — up to 80 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation — increasing your risk of exposure. That means whether you’re out on the slopes, playing in the snow, or just walking through a parking lot on an errand run, it’s just as important to be applying sunscreen in the harsh winter weather as it is in the summer.

And don’t be fooled by darker, dreary days in winter, either. The sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage.

Before you go outside, apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your body.

8. Wear Appropriate, Comfortable, Nonirritating Clothing

Many cold-weather fabrics can aggravate dry winter skin. “Keep wool and rough clothing from directly touching your skin,” Stein Gold says. “This can cause dry skin to get irritated and itchy.”

Instead, wear light layers made from soft, breathable materials directly against your skin, and then pull on your heavier, warmer sweaters. Be sure to protect your hands from cold winter air with gloves or mittens, remembering to choose a pair that won’t irritate your skin. If you prefer wool gloves, put on cotton or silk glove liners first.

9. Remember to Eat Right and Stay Hydrated

“Sometimes when skin is very dry, it can be helped by foods or supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil,” says Barbara R. Reed, MD, a dermatologist in private practice at Denver Skin Clinic. “For the most part, however, it is important to help the skin moisturize from the outside.”

10. Change Out of Wet Clothes Quickly to Avoid Itchy Skin

Wearing wet clothes and shoes can further irritate your skin and cause itchiness. If gloves, socks, and pants become wet, be sure to remove them as soon as possible.

If you still experience dryness, discomfort, and irritation after trying these healthy skin tips, Stein Gold suggests using an over-the-counter, 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. “If you don’t see improvement in a few days, talk with your doctor,” Stein Gold says. You may need a prescription-strength moisturizer to overcome winter’s drying effects on your skin.

 

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