During the winter season, skin can become dry, irritated, and uncomfortable. Dry skin can occur at any time and is caused by sun damage, over-cleansing, or using harsh products, resulting in rough, flaky, and itchy skin. However, the winter climate accelerates this loss of moisture and is especially harsh on your skin. The combination of cold air, low humidity, and indoor heating can cause a loss of moisture in the outer layers of your skin. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips and tricks you can try to help prevent winter dry skin.
Hydrating and sealing in your skin’s moisture is the first step in battling dryness. Look for moisturizers that include humectants, which help attract moisture, such as glycerin, ceramide, lecithin, sorbitol, and hyaluronic acid. Try products that contain petrolatum, shea butter, cocoa butter, or mineral oil, that will help seal the outer layer of the skin preventing moisture loss. If you find your skin still feels dry, try an emollient product like linoleic or lauric acid to smooth the skin. Applying your products while your skin is damp will also help seal in additional moisture.
Products such as scented soaps, deodorant soap, and products containing alcohol can strip the natural oils away from your skin causing more irritation. Try substituting them with moisturizing cleansers like Dove and Olay, or avoid soap altogether and try products like Cetaphil, CeraVe® or Ivory. Current use of sanitizers on the hands really dry and irritate the skin.
Although a hot shower may sound like the perfect way to keep warm, the heat of your shower can strip away your skin’s oils. Use warm water when bathing to keep the moisture in your skin and keep the shower to less than 10 minutes!
Turning up the heat in your home depletes the moisture in the air. Central heating systems blow dry air throughout the home, which accelerates the moisture loss. Using a humidifier will add moisture back into the air and help replenish your skin.
Reduce your use of harsh exfoliants like scrub brushes, washcloths, and exfoliating loofahs. Scrubbing your skin too hard causes trauma that can lead to more irritation and dryness. If you prefer using a loofah or washcloth, make sure to use gentle motions and never scrub your skin. Keep this in mind when drying your skin with a towel, and lightly pat dry.
While dry skin is not a major health issue, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious skin issues such as chronic eczema, bleeding, or bacterial infection of the broken and irritated skin. Dry skin can be treated at home, but if you notice any of these symptoms or you haven’t found relief using at-home treatments, contact the dermatologists at Trillium Creek Dermatology, located in Medina, Wooster, Brunswick, and Wadsworth, Ohio. If you or your loved ones suffer from dry skin, call Trillium Creek Dermatology to set up your consultation today at 330-725-0569 for a same day appointment!