Dry skin is not uncommon, especially during the winter when humidity levels drop. Cool, dry air accelerates dehydration and pulls water from the epidermis, making the outermost layer of your skin appear rough and flaky. Skin loses up to 25 percent of its moisture during the winter months, while a heavy wind chill adds further damage and pain.
Not only is dry skin itchy and uncomfortable – particularly with severe chapping – it can be embarrassing. When you suffer from dry facial skin, simply socializing is a difficult and sometimes painful task. However, you can prevent excessive dryness and treat chapped skin relatively easily with the following strategies:
Wear Protective Layers
Wearing winter clothing is designed to keep you warm, but also helps protect your skin from long-term damage. Beyond chapped skin and dehydration, dangerously cold temperatures can cause frostbite – a painful condition associated with permanent nerve damage, ongoing numbness, scarring or even lost extremities. Best case scenario, frostbite causes minimal tissue or muscle damage and a costly emergency room bill. Even if it’s not quite cold enough to get frostbite, protect your skin with long pants, sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats and proper footwear to avoid dryness.
Use a Humidifier
Cold weather isn’t the only villain from November through February. When the forecast falls below 50 degrees, staying snug with indoor heating is a go-to. But, indoor heat systems are extremely drying. Not only does your skin suffer, but you may experience chapped lips, nosebleeds or a sore throat. Opt for a lower indoor heat setting and keep blinds open to let natural sunlight help warm interiors instead. In addition, use a humidifier while you sleep to add moisture to the air in your home. Humidifiers relieve some of the most common winter ailments, such as cold symptoms, dry sinuses and dehydrated skin.
Moisturize Every Day
If you don’t already moisturize after bathing, winter is the time to start. Apply a heavy body lotion or cream all over your entire body. Go fragrance-free if you suffer from skin sensitivities, such as rosacea or body acne. For the face, neck and chest area, use an anti-aging heavy moisturizer that adds hydration and fights wrinkles. Body oils can also promote skin hydration, but shouldn’t be used on areas prone to breakouts or inflammation.
Drink More Water
Nutritionists and doctors recommend individuals drink at least 64-oz – or 8 glasses – of water per day. But, these general guidelines might not cut it during the winter. People who spend a lot of time outdoors or hit the gym frequently require even more water than the average sedentary or lightly active person. Up your H20 intake during the winter months by replacing sodas and juices with fresh, filtered water. Keep a water bottle handy and record your intake with a mobile app or handwritten journal each day. Alcohol causes further dehydration (along with a slew of other internal issues), so keep booze at a minimum when the thermostat drops.
Visit a Dermatologist
If you’re taking care of your skin in the winter yet dryness and skin pain persists, it’s time to call a dermatologist. Dr. Busso offers his patients topical treatments to help counteract winter dryness, including the renowned Obagi® Nu-Derm System. Obagi’s Hydrate cream soothes flaky, chapped skin while minimizing fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful appearance. In addition, the Nu-Derm system treats redness, sallowness and hyperpigmentation. Clinical skincare products like the Nu-Derm system are stronger than drugstore alternatives, so you’re likely to see symptoms fade faster when you consult a qualified physician for dry skin treatments.
Dr. Busso can help you fight dryness while restoring your physical comfort and confidence. Schedule your consultation online or by phone at 305-857-0144.