How to Prevent and Combat Dry Winter Skin

Dry, itchy skin can be more than just uncomfortable, especially during the fall and winter months when the heat is on. With decreased humidity, increased exposure to forced air heating, plus the drying effects of wind and cold, your skin’s natural oils can be stripped away and make it feel like sandpaper.

Luckily, you don’t have to sit idly by, counting the days until spring, waiting for your skin to improve. A few preventative measures can replenish your skin’s moisture and counteract the damaging effects of the winter chill.

  • Choose your moisturizer wisely. Many popular commercial lotions contain harsh ingredients that actually work against your skin. Opt for natural coconut or almond oil to replenish moisture while enhancing skin protection.
  • Exfoliate once a week to remove dead skin, but wash gently the rest of the time using a non-drying body wash.
  • It’s common to prolong showers and baths this time of year. You might even be tempted to turn up the temperature of the water. But that piping hot shower is yet another drying element.
  • Apply moisturizer to your entire body right after you shower or bathe while your skin is still damp. And don’t forget to use sunscreen before heading outdoors. It’s one more way to maintain silky smooth skin.
  • For especially dry hands or feet, apply a thin layer of moisturizing oil before bed. To avoid getting oil on your bed linens, wear thin, breathable gloves or socks.
  • Use a humidifier, if need be, to raise your indoor humidity level to about 40%. You also can place a bowl of water in the corner of every heated room to help achieve the same effect.
  • Proper hydration is directly related to skin cell regeneration. Aim to sip eight to 10 cups per day of unsweetened beverages such as water (including sparkling or fruit-infused) or decaf tea. You can drink more if you like, but it won’t do any more to moisturize your skin.
  • Swap out your foaming face wash for a lotion-based formula. Foaming washes often contain drying components called surfactants that mess with your skin’s barrier.

If, despite all your best efforts, nothing seems to be working, come to MedCare Express for expert advice and your first step on the path toward healing. Perhaps the cause isn’t dry indoor air at all, although the latter certainly doesn’t help. We welcome walk-in patients seven days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM; or call to schedule an appointment.