8 New Tips for Preventing Dry Winter Skin
With winter’s arrival comes the need to revamp your skincare routine. Discover new secrets to help keep your skin looking and feeling great all winter long.
Dr. Frances Jang, a Vancouver-based dermatologist at Skinworks, says that we should resist the urge to scrub away flaky, dead skin cells when the temperature drops. "The skin is a little more sensitive in winter," she says. "If you're using a hand-held microdermabrader, glycolic exfoliators, or retinols, I would caution people, don't overdo it." Dr. Jang says these exfoliating tools can make dry skin worse in the winter especially when they're used too often.
Choose Showers Over Baths
A long, steamy soak in the tub will parch your skin, leaving it dry and itchy. In the winter, choose a shower instead of a bath. Dr. Jang recommends brief showers with lukewarm water. "Do it just once a day - and not too hot or long," she says. Just like a lengthy spell in the bath, a prolonged, hot shower can zap the moisture from your skin. Make it quick and avoid the itch.
Change How You Use Soap
Antibacterial soaps can be especially harsh on skin during the winter. "I usually recommend going to a milder, glycerin soap," says Dr. Jang. She also suggests that people with troublesome skin generally give showering with soap a miss during winter. "You don't really need it except in dirty areas like under the arms, the groin and the feet," she says.
Turn Down the Heat
Jacking up the heat may keep you toasty, but it's also doing a number on your skin. Dry, hot air contributes to dry, prickly skin. Turn down the thermostat to help keep your skin from dehydrating. If you put on a cardigan or a pair of slippers, you'll stay warm and save money, too.
Re-establish Your Skin's Barrier
Winter's harsh elements can weaken your skin's protective layer. A new skin cream innovation helps re-establish this barrier and lock in moisture. These products contain ceramides - a natural fat found in healthy skin. "Ceramides attempt to re-establish [the skin's] normal barrier. It's a new way of keeping the skin better hydrated during winter," says Dr. Jang.
Use a Humidifier
Give your skin a reprieve from arid winter conditions by using a humidifier. Place it in your bedroom to reap the benefits of the extra moisture it propels into the air. While you sleep, your skin will soak up its refreshing vapours. The next morning, a healthy looking complexion will help you face the day.
Itchy clothing makes dry skin worse. "Wool is problematic. It will aggravate the itching in potentially dry skin," says Dr. Jang. "If you want to wear wool, put a layer of cotton clothing underneath. You don't want wool to touch the skin directly."
Mix It Up with Your Pharmacist
With troublesome skin, Dr. Jang asks the pharmacy to create an inexpensive mixture for her patients. The concoction is 25% water combined with hydrophilic petrolatum. "It's like a Vaseline-like product," she says. "Before bed, take a quick shower, then slather a layer of this mixture all over. Change into your pyjamas, so you don't smear it all over your sheets."
In the morning, you'll awake to soft skin. Try this routine for two consecutive nights. "It gets the job done when nothing else works," says Dr. Jang.
(Photo: Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock)