In the brutal cold and snow of winter comes yet another adverse weather condition: Dry skin. And the bad thing about dry winter skin: You can’t escape it just by retreating indoors.
For many Americans, winter time means dealing with dry and cracked skin. Winter’s harsh environments put a heavy burden on skin. The reduced moisture in the air is the primary cause of dry, itchy and irritated skin. And extremely dry skin can quickly morph into dermatitis if left untreated.
Many insurance companies do not cover dermatological products. Combine that with high copay prices, and finding relief can be an expensive endeavor.
But smart skin care practices and knowing winter’s rough impact on our skin and how we can neutralize it can keep our skin smooth, comfortable and safe from the ravages of the coldest and cruelest months of the year.
The Skin Scars of Winter
When your skin feels as dry and weathered as your Aunt Martha’s week-old corn bread, you know you’re dealing with dry skin.
Among the most common dry skin issues in winter are:
- Dry, flaky scalp
- Dry, cracked lips and split corners of the mouth
- Dry cracked or split fingers
- Dry, cracked feet
The Importance of Skin Hydration
Ironically, one of the first and best defenses in good skin care starts on the inside of the body with high quality H20. Lori Buss, a clinical aesthetician at Prevea Rejuvenate in Green Bay, recommends drinking lots of water, which rejuvenates the skin.
“Hydration is very important,” Buss told the Green Bay Press Gazette. “Not only is drinking water good for your skin, but it’s good for your health in general. If you are dehydrated, the dryer your skin is going to be.”
Utilizing a humidifier in your home pumps moisture back into the air, easing skin irritation and helping prevent breathing problems, bloody noses and chapped lips. Humidifiers like the Ultrasonic Cool Mist allow you to adjust the water level in your environment.
For anyone suffering extreme cases of dry skin, the first step toward recovery is calling a dermatologist or skin care professional.
Beware the Agents of Dryness
But one of our best instruments of protecting our skin from the dry wrath of winter is to be aware of exactly what we’re putting on it. Abrasive skin cleansing exfoliates – designed to rid the skin’s surface of dead cells – can further damage dry skin.
Winter skin care missteps dry skin sufferers should avoid:
- Antibacterial and deodorant soaps. These soaps contain alcohol, which is a drying agent. The best soaps, lotions and moisturizers for skin care are fragrance free and clear. Look for products like plain Vaseline that have glycerin as their main ingredient.
- Rich moisturizers. The deepest cleaner is not always the best. Most face oils, for example, don’t hydrate the skin. Be wary of products with a long ingredient list.
“It’s not the viscosity of the products that makes the difference; it’s the level of active ingredients,” Dr. Nicholas Perricone told TheCut.com. The most important thing, Perricone says, is to find moisturizers that really penetrate and hydrate the skin.
- For folks with naturally dry and flaky skin, over-exfoliation can be detrimental. Peeling agents and harsh exfoliators can further weaken and strip skin of barriers when skin needs the additional environmental protection the most.
- Extreme Temperatures. Although a hot shower is an extremely tempting idea during winter polar plunges, exposing the skin to hot water after being out in the cold can damage it. The ideal water temperature for winter-time showers and baths is lukewarm.
- Thin Layers of Clothing. For people with sensitive skin, dressing in layers and warm enough for the conditions is a major key to keeping skin moisturized. Skin care experts recommend people with sensitive skin wear clothes made from 100 percent cotton under coats. Also, clean and treat your clothes with products you know your skin can tolerate.
Know Your Trusted Moisturizers
The first rule of moisturizing skin against extreme winter dryness is using proven and safe skin moisturizers.
Few, if any, moisturizers sooth and clean hands safer or more effectively than B4 Brands’ Aterra Eco-Premium Hand Lotion, a breakthrough in green chemistry and deep conditioning. The rich lotion of this USDA certified bio-based product combines a unique blend of natural moisturizers and oils that soften skin without prolonged greasy residue.
Our skin takes its greatest beating during winter. But with smart skin moisturizing techniques and a strong understanding of the root causes of dry skin can keep our skin smooth, moisturized and safe from the cold wrath of winter.