How to Avoid Dry Skin in Winter
Dry skin is a common ailment, especially for those who already have drier skin naturally and especially in winter, it can be extremely uncomfortable and lead to itchy skin too. Many people search each year for ways of relieving dry skin in winter and spend months in a hopeless battle against dry and itchy winter skin.
There are a few ways you can avoid getting dry skin in winter and these include both treatments as well as physical things you can do. We've been taking a look at all the ways that both cosmetic and clinical research suggests you can avoid dry winter skin, and we've summarised all the information here for you to peruse.
Check it out to find out more now.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is common in people, no matter their age, and it means that your skin lacks moisture. Dry skin is a skin type and a condition and is characterised by flaky and rough skin that does not feel soft and supple like skin should be.
Signs of dry skin include; flakiness, redness, rough texture, raw and irritated skin, and stinging or burning.
Dry skin can lead to cracks and bleeding if it gets very severe. It can also be very itchy and is common with other skin conditions like eczema. Dry skin may also be linked to some health conditions and allergies. Speak with a healthcare professional if you're concerned that your dry skin may be associated with a health condition.
Severe dry skin that presents with itching and rashes is considered an inflammatory skin condition called dermatitis. There are a number of different forms of dermatitis, including contact dermatitis, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and athlete's foot.
Why do I get dry skin in winter?
Dry skin in winter is usually caused by loss of moisture from the upper layers of the skin. Winter air tends to be cold and very dry and coupled with the dry heat pumped out of central heating systems to combat the cold, dry air is everywhere in winter.
The dry air means that as moisture leaves your skin, it is not replaced because the humidity in the air is too low. Harsh winds and other colder weather conditions can also make your dry skin worse and can cause flare-ups in conditions like eczema.
How can I avoid dry skin in winter?
There are a few ways you can avoid getting dry skin during the winter months. We have listed them below - check them out now.
Moisturise after washing
Every time you wash your body you strip your body of its natural oils. These oils need replacing and so moisturising your skin every time you wash can be effective in replenishing your skin. Keep body moisturizing cream near the shower and get into the habit of putting it onto your skin each time you get out.
You could also carry hand cream and moisturize your hands every time you wash them, especially after washing dishes.
For replenishing moisture, using a heavy moisturiser is best and you should also opt for a moisturiser that is free from fragrances, parabens and other nasty chemicals that could irritate your skin further. Look for an organic moisturiser to be safe.
Wear SPF every day
You should be wearing SPF every day anyway, but some people think that during the winter months, with little sunshine, SPF isn't necessary. It is. Even if you're staying inside, UV rays can penetrate your windows and cause damage to the skin's barrier which is necessary for good skin hydration.
To combat dry skin, apply an SPF over the top of moisturisers to ensure your skin is protected and the skin barrier remains in good health. SPF should be worn on any exposed parts of the body, and an SPF of at least factor 30 is best.
Some moisturisers take longer to soak into the skin and so using them before bed is great as it allows them time to soak in properly. Add a heavier night cream to your skincare routine on a night to ensure your skin gets extra moisture overnight. Emollients are heavy and can be greasy so you can cover the affected areas too, to protect your bedsheets.
There are also overnight masks that can be used on the face for overnight nourishment that contain moisturising and protective ingredients.
Paired back skincare routine
When dry skin hits, it's best to use a paired back, simple skincare regimen that uses only the simplest and gentlest products. Strip it back to a cleanser, moisturiser, SPF, and maybe a nourishing serum.
Make sure that the products that you're using are fragrance-free and don't contain any harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritation.
Use a humidifier
A humidifier adds moisture back into the air which can help to nourish and keep the skin soft. It is recommended that you should use your humidifier at 60% to ensure enough humidity is pumped back into the air to help your skin.
Hot showers are terrible for dry skin. Hot water actually breaks down natural oils much quicker than water that is just lukewarm. Cooler showers can help to keep your skin moisturised.
When you get out of the shower, ensure that you don't scrub at your skin to get it dry, instead, pat skin dry to not irritate it. You can actually apply moisturiser to damp skin as it can cross the skin's barrier more easily this way, meaning you don't need to be totally dry before applying it.
Avoid exfoliating scrubs
Exfoliation is really great for removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin but it can also cause irritation to dry skin. Some physical exfoliators can cause tears in the skin and so avoiding all physical exfoliators is best. If you still want to exfoliate, you should try to use gentle chemical exfoliators instead to minimise any damage to your skin.
Emollients can offer your skin deep nourishment, but if they're not doing enough for your skin, you should look out for products with occlusive ingredients, or indeed just grab the occlusives themselves.
These ingredients do more than emollients as they form a protective layer on top of the skin that prevents moisture from leaving. You can apply them one or two times a day, after moisturisation, to lock the moisture into your skin.
Drinking enough water every day is essential for your overall health and not drinking enough can actually be detrimental to your skin's health. People who don't drink enough water will notice their skin is drier because not enough moisture is getting to it.
If you regularly forget to drink water, it may be helpful to carry a water bottle with you. Indeed, you could use a water bottle with an infuser to flavour your water with fruit and make it more attractive to you as something to drink.
Like hydration, eating a balanced diet is a necessity for your overall health. In particular, you should try to eat foods that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients can help your body to create healthy skin cells and they protect against environmental damage.
Wear non-irritating fabrics
When your skin is dry, it's best to wear loose clothing made from non-irritating fabrics. Opt for natural fibres, like cotton and linen, and avoid anything glittery or with sequins. You should also use gentle laundry detergents that don't use any harmful chemicals.
Dry skin is very common in the winter months and many people suffer from it. Dry skin can be treated in winter with heavier moisturisers, a better diet, and wearing an SPF. You can also try using a humidifier, wearing non-irritating fabrics, and ensuring your drink enough water each day.
There are lots of different skincare products that can help with dry skin - to find out more, check out our skincare section now.
Frequently Asked Questions
What helps dry skin in winter?
Dry skin is a common ailment in winter but there are a few things you can do to minimise discomfort from it. You could try using emollients and occlusives to offer deep moisturisation and protection for the skin as well as avoiding exfoliation and pairing back your skincare routine. You could also ensure you wear loose and non-irritating clothing and use a humidifier to boost the humidity in your home to combat dry heat.
What causes dry skin in winter?
Dry skin in winter is caused by a lack of humidity in the air. A combination of cooler air, harsh winds, and dry heat mean that moisture is low in the air and so when moisture leaves the skin, it cannot be replaced. Dry skin can be treated with moisturisers and occlusives like shea butter and rosehip oil. It can also be treated using a humidifier to boost the humidity in the air.
How can I hydrate my skin naturally in winter?
To rehydrate skin naturally in the winter months, you will need to boost the amount of water that you drink as well as find a natural moisturiser to nourish the skin. You could also try layering on an occlusive after moisturising, like shea butter, or cocoa butter, to protect the skin from further moisture loss.
Is vaseline good for dry skin?
Vaseline is good for skin in that it forms a protective barrier between the skin and the air. While it won't moisturise your skin, it will stop any further moisture loss. Try layering vaseline onto the skin after applying a heavy moisturiser.