Winter Skincare: Expert Tips to Combat Dryness and Skin Conditions

22 November 2023

As temperatures drop, experts share essential advice for maintaining healthy skin during the winter months

With the arrival of colder temperatures, many individuals find themselves battling dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of winter weather on your skin. In this article, we spoke to skincare experts who shared their insights and recommendations for effective winter skincare.

Consider if you may be prone to dry skin

Understanding the factors that contribute to dry skin

Before implementing any changes to your skincare routine, it’s important to recognize that some individuals are naturally more prone to dry skin. According to Dr. Rawn Bosley, a dermatologist at Signature Dermatology in Grapevine, Texas, mature individuals are more likely to experience dry skin symptoms due to disruptions in the skin barrier and transepidermal water loss. Additionally, certain ethnic groups, particularly those with darker skin types, may be genetically predisposed to higher transepidermal water loss and drier skin. Moreover, cold weather patterns can exacerbate dry skin symptoms and lead to conditions like erythema ab igne, a rash caused by prolonged exposure to heat sources.

Change the way you shower

Adjusting your shower routine for healthier skin

One simple yet effective change you can make is to switch from hot showers to lukewarm ones. Dr. Yen Chen Liu, a dermatologist at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, advises against using hot water, as it can strip the skin of its natural oils and lead to excessive dryness. Limiting your shower time to 10 minutes is also recommended to prevent prolonged exposure to water, which can further dry out the skin. After showering, it’s best to pat yourself dry instead of rubbing and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Showering a few times a week, rather than daily, can also help retain the skin’s natural oils, particularly for elderly individuals who produce less grease as they age.

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Turn off your dehumidifier and use a humidifier

Maintaining optimal humidity levels for healthy skin

Dry skin is often caused by low humidity levels in the air. Dr. Liu suggests turning off dehumidifiers during the winter months to prevent excessively dry indoor environments. On the other hand, using a humidifier can help reintroduce moisture into the air, providing relief for dry skin. By maintaining adequate humidity levels, you can minimize the impact of cold weather on your skin.

Be picky about clothing

Choosing skin-friendly fabrics

Being selective about the clothing you wear can make a significant difference in preventing skin irritation and itchiness. Dr. Uchenna Okereke, a dermatologist in the Boston area, advises avoiding clothing that feels itchy or irritating against the skin, even if it’s fashionable. By prioritizing comfort and choosing skin-friendly fabrics, you can reduce the risk of exacerbating dry skin symptoms.

Moisturize and then wear gloves or socks on your hands at night

Nurturing dry hands with moisturizer and protective coverings

Frequent handwashing, especially for individuals in the food and medical industries, can lead to excessively dry skin during winter. Dr. Liu suggests applying moisturizer to the hands and wearing gloves or socks overnight to retain moisture. This simple overnight routine can help prevent cracking and maintain hydration in the skin.

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Choose the right moisturizing products

Optimal moisturizers for winter skincare

When it comes to moisturizing, Dr. Bosley recommends using gentle soaps that won’t strip the skin, such as Olay and Dove. Different moisturizers serve different purposes, with watery moisturizers like lotions being easy to apply but requiring more frequent reapplication. Greasier moisturizers, while messier, are better at locking in moisture. Experts also suggest using creams and ointments containing ceramides, which help retain moisture, and products with salicylic acid and urea to remove the top layer of skin and allow deeper penetration of moisturizing ingredients. Layering cream with ointment can provide an extra protective barrier for the skin.

Conclusion: As winter approaches, it’s crucial to adapt your skincare routine to combat the challenges posed by colder temperatures. By making simple changes to your shower routine, adjusting indoor humidity levels, choosing suitable clothing, and using the right moisturizers, you can effectively protect your skin and minimize the impact of winter dryness and skin conditions. Remember, healthy skin starts with proper care and attention, so follow these expert tips to keep your skin glowing all winter long.

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