Dry skin can affect many people during the winter, and the severity of the symptoms can vary significantly. Various treatments can replenish the moisture of the skin and relieve the symptoms. People can also take certain steps to prevent the skin from becoming dry.
Symptoms of winter dry skin
Dryness that results from damage to the skin barrier during winter can lead to:
redness, in lighter skin tones
a raw, sensitive-to-the-touch feeling
People may experience several of these symptoms at the same time. The right treatment should reduce their severity.
Simple changes can soothe dry skin
Following the same skin care routine year-round may not work so well when the humidity drops. Without a change in your skin care, dry air can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Dry, itchy skin can flake, crack, and even bleed.
To help heal dry skin and prevent its return, dermatologists recommend the following.
Tips for Preventing Dry Skin
- Avoid dryer sheets, scented soaps or other scented products.
- Use sensitive skin detergent to wash your clothes – this detergent is often packaged in a white bottle.
- Take short, cold showers and avoid long, hot baths. Very hot water can dry out your skin and a long shower is more likely to cause skin dryness than a short shower.
- Apply a moisturizer (an ointment or a thick cream) on your face or body, especially right after baths or showers. It’s best to use an ointment that is solid at room temperature. Examples include Vaseline and Aquaphor.
- Check skin cream for helpful ingredients like urea, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.
- Use products with urea or ammonium lactate to treat thicker areas of cracked skin on the legs, feet and hands. You can buy these products over-the-counter.
- Apply natural oils, like mineral oil, vitamin E, coconut oil and seed oil, to prevent water loss in skin.
- Use a humidifier at home to reduce dryness in your skin, eyes, and nose.
- Use saline eye drops to help with dry eyes. A nasal saline rinse can also relieve the symptoms of dry nose. To protect your lips, use an emollient such as Vaseline
Dry winter skin is not an inevitable consequence of the coldest season. Being conscious of the skin barrier and what it needs to stay healthy can help people take the necessary steps to prevent this uncomfortable condition.