Bundling up in a hat, scarf and gloves is one way to protect skin from vicious winter winds. But shielding exposed parts of your body from the elements may not be enough to stop dry skin (and the itching, flaking, roughness and redness that come with it) this time of year.
Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture, which occurs in winter when humidity drops outdoors and heating systems dry the air inside. Once dryness sets in, the condition can be made worse when not properly addressed. Taking hot showers or baths frequently, for example, is a common mistake that strips skin of its natural protective barrier.
Aside from relocating to a balmy tropical isle, here are several things you can do to care for your skin over the winter months:
- Choose alcohol-free and oil-based lotions and moisturizers containing natural plant oils (like jojoba, coconut, almond or avocado). These will help prevent water from evaporating from your skin.
- Use gentle, natural, fragrance-free soaps.
- Apply moisturizer throughout the day, always after showering and before going to bed.
- Exfoliate skin regularly to clear away dead cells and to allow moisturizer to better penetrate the skin.
- Keep shower or bath water temperature warm, not hot. Limit time spent in the water. If skin is itchy, add oatmeal or baking soda to your bath water.
- Use a humidifier to restore moisture to the air in your home.