Most people have more or less dry skin in the winter, even those who tend to be oily during the hottest months of the year.
What causes this “winter skin”?
Dryness of the skin in winter is often due to the low level of humidity in the air, both indoors and outdoors, which leads to a loss of hydration in the skin. When it’s cold outside, the combination of low humidity, wind, and cold temperatures wicks water away from your skin. When you are indoors, the artificial heating creates an equally dry environment. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prevent winter dry skin from becoming too severe, with things like moisturizers, humidifiers, certain dietary supplements, and even a healthy diet.
Why is dry skin in winter a problem?
The moisture level of the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of your skin, reflects the moisture level of your surroundings. Normally, a healthy epidermis acts as a shield, preventing unwanted elements from entering your pores and body. It is made up of skin cells that create a flat, smooth service when moisture is balanced; however, in case of dryness, the epidermis can suffer negative effects.
What happens to the skin in winter?
When your skin barrier lacks moisture, especially during the winter months, it can lead to excessive winter skin dryness and reduced elasticity. You want to avoid this, and instead look towards the picture of healthy skin.
10 tips for winter skin care
Here are tips to improve your daily skin care routine and combat dry skin in winter:
1. Apply a quality moisturizer every day
No winter skincare routine is complete without a good moisturizer. Skin moisturizers work by rehydrating the epidermis and sealing in moisture to keep skin healthy. Regularly applying moisturizer to your skin also tells your skin how much oil it needs to produce, which helps keep your skin happy and healthy. After washing your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day, apply moisturizer, as well as a serum beforehand if desired. In winter, prefer heavier creams to finer lotions. The best choices for people with dry or sensitive skin are products with:
and soothing ingredients like chamomile and oatmeal. Many dermatologists recommend thicker ointments for particularly dry skin. The product is great when applied over other creams to help nourish your skin.
2. Add more healthy, performance fats to your diet
Your body is better able to produce lipids (natural oils) that hydrate your skin from the inside out when you get plenty of healthy fats into your diet. Add sources of nourishing fats to your meals every day, such as: flaxseed or flaxseed oil, fish such as salmon and sardines (which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids), nuts such as almonds and nuts, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados.
3. Use a collagen supplement
Collagen is a structural protein that your body produces to help form and promote the health of your skin, giving it elasticity and strength. You can also get collagen from supplements, like hydrolyzed collagen proteins or collagen peptides, which makes it easier for the body to use and absorb them. When you add more collagen to your diet, the amino acids it contains work on your skin, helping to improve overall skin tone and elasticity.
4. Get a humidifier
Indoors, the dry heat can really lead to tight, dry skin. A simple way to add moisture to indoor air is to use a humidifier (or two). Place one in the rooms where you spend the most time, such as your bedroom. The cool air humidifier is one of the most recommended types for dry skin in winter. Another recommendation is to keep your home temperature low if possible, rather than making it too hot.
5. Don’t wash your skin too much
Every time you wash your skin, including in the shower, you remove some of your skin’s natural oils that help balance the epidermis. Avoid washing your face more than once or twice a day, and avoid cleansers that contain irritating ingredients, dyes, or fragrances. When showering, avoid the temperature getting very hot, although this is tempting when it’s cold outside. Take shorter showers and try to wash your hair no more than several times a week to avoid a dry scalp. Right after showering, use body lotions that contain ingredients like mineral oil, lanolin, or ceramides. And if you like to swim indoors in the winter, try not to spend too much time in chlorinated pools, as this is another way the skin loses moisture.
6. Gently exfoliate
Using a gentle scrub or exfoliator two to three times a week, such as with glycolic or lactic acid, can help remove dead, dry skin that prevents moisturizers from doing their job properly. . However, it’s best to avoid scrubbing too aggressively or exfoliating too often, which will irritate the skin. If you have very dry skin in the winter, ditch the scrubs and instead try gently brushing your skin with a soft washcloth to buff the surface of your skin.
7. Go easy on drying products (like clay masks, toners, and other treatments).
You can get great results during the warmer months of the year when using products such as charcoal or clay masks, spot treatments (such as those with salicylic acid. However, using these products too often in the winter can backfire and lead to increased redness and irritation. Opt for milder ingredients instead when your skin is already sensitive. If you use retinol-based products, reduce -using it every other day.Throughout the year, consider applying an antioxidant serum, such as a vitamin C serum, first thing in the morning after washing your face. It’s alcohol-free and isn’t fragrant or irritating.This approach can help you keep your skin looking its best.
8. Try a steam room
Steam rooms, which hold tons of moisture in the air, work almost like giant humidifiers. They can help rehydrate your skin and are a much better option than dry saunas which can do the opposite.
9. Drink more water, and not too much alcohol
Your body needs to be internally hydrated to keep your skin smooth and healthy, which means you need to drink plenty of water. This is especially important if you lose fluids through exercise, drinking alcohol, or for other reasons. Try sipping on hydrating beverages throughout the day, such as water, herbal teas, freshly squeezed juices, or bone broth. And go easy on alcohol and coffee, which are diuretics that can increase urination and water loss.
10. Talk to your doctor
As always, before starting any new diet or lifestyle, you should consult your healthcare professional. In some cases, certain medications or underlying health conditions can contribute to your skin’s dryness in winter. Allergies are another possible culprit that you need to discuss with your doctor.