10 tips to combat dry, itchy skin in the Winter!
Winter: Season of Skin’s Discontent
Of the four seasons, winter is harshest on the skin, dryness, flakiness, dullness, redness & irritation are all symptoms of winter skin. Cold, dry air, indoor heating, low humidity levels, and harsh winter wind can all contribute to your skin’s loss of moisture, especially in the colder winter months.
Here are some tips for improving your skin’s condition and adapting to the harsh conditions of winter:
Washing and cleansing the skin will naturally strip skin of oils and other factors that keep it moisturized. Winter conditions can amplify this effect and it is vitally important that lotion be applied within minutes after washing the skin. Keeping the right type of lotion at home and a travel size bottle of lotion for when you’re out and about will help to ensure skin stays moisturized throughout the winter season.
2. Overnight Mask
Overnight treatments can go a long way towards nourishing skin that is under the assaults of winter conditions. Emollients, moisturizers in night treatments are a heavier formulation & are designed to take longer to absorb into the skin and replenish lost moisture. Wearing them at night ensures they have the time needed to absorb and nourish skin.
Myufull Natural Pack is the PERFECT overnight mask for ultimate hydration
3. Lather on
Winter may feature lower UV indexes and more grey dreary days, that said 80% of UVA (shorthand for Ageing) radiation from the Sun can still penetrate clouds ,and even windows, and damage your skin. Snow can also amplify the UV radiation by further reflecting it off of the snows surface (the albedo effect) which can then penetrate skin if you’re out running an errand, skiing the slopes or taking in the rare sunny day in winter. Sunscreen is a must even in winter. Experts agree that the proper sunscreen – one without harsh chemicals and oils - are ideal for use year round, so even in the heart of winter, sunscreen is not just for summer anymore!
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4. Lighten up!
Simplifying your daily skincare routine can go a long way towards protecting your skin’s moisture barrier. It is especially important if dry winter conditions have left your skin irritated, inflamed, or dry. A simple winter routine suggests using the right lotion and sun protection for daytime, and gentle cleanser and nighttime mask. Serums can also be added in to further accelerate and improve the condition of the skin.
5. Scrub Less
Exfoliation is the process of removing layers of dead skin cells from the top layer of skin. Exfoliation improves the texture and surface of skin and allows for lotions and other treatments to be more effective. Over-exfoliating however can leave skin dry, irritated and degrade the moisture barrier that protects skin. Abrasive physical exfoliants can be a problem as they can weaken the moisture barrier and irritate skin. A gentle and all-natural exfoliation is an excellent replacement for physical exfoliants. Due to winters harsh conditions it is recommended that exfoliation is done less often. If skin is cracked or very dry, it is suggested to put the kibosh on exfoliation until the skin has had a chance to recover.
6. Cool Down
Hot showers and baths can feel very soothing in the wintertime, however, warmer water temperatures are not doing your skin any favors. Hotter water temperatures can strip the skin of natural oils rapidly and cause potential damage, where lukewarm water (around 37° C) will do so much more slowly, if at all. Another suggestion is when drying off avoid vigorous rubbing and instead pat the skin dry, this helps the skin absorb some of the water into the top layers of skin.
Indoor heating can do a number on skin drying it out. Using a humidifier during the winter months can help to counter-act the effects of both dry winter air and the dry indoor environment from heating. Keeping the humidifier at 60% can help to replace lost moisture in the top layer of skin.
8. Inside Job
Hydration doesn’t stop at skincare products or controlling for environmental factors, it also comes back to what goes in your body in the first place. For healthy skin daily hydration is essential, so fluid intake is of primary importance daily and especially in winter. Focusing on daily intake of antioxidants in food (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other whole foods) and essential fatty acids (omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish) also does wonders for improving the skins overall function and ability to retain moisture.
9. Softer Side
Avoid harsh fabrics directly against your skin like wool. These fabrics can rub against skin irritating it which can lead to a breakdown of the moisture barrier function. In winter prioritize wearing natural, breathable and sot fabrics immediately against the skin and then put harsher fabrics over top to retain warmth.
10. Put a glove on it
Gloves are the best physical defense against moisture loss in winter time. Wear gloves when outside in harsh winter air, and waterproof gloves when washing dishes while inside. Wearing gloves in this way will go a long way to ensuring healthy skin even in the wintertime.
Winter may be harsh on the skin, but with a few modifications to routines it doesn’t have to be; You can have radiantly beautiful skin in winter and beyond!
Spahn, C. (Jan 20, 2021). 11 Tips to prevent dry winter skin. Healthline.
UCI Health. (December 5, 2017). 10 ways to protect your skin in cold weather. UCI Health. https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2017/12/cold-weather-skin-care.