You know the feeling — it happens every winter. You wake up one morning and realize your skin is dry as a bone, and it’s even starting to crack and bleed. The cold, dry air outside combined with the indoor heat can suck all the moisture out of your skin, leaving it red and irritated.
You don’t have to suffer, though. With a few precautions and a proper skin care regimen, you can keep your skin smooth and supple all winter long.
Here are a few winter skin care tips, courtesy of the expert team at Melanie Adams Dermatology in Columbia, Maryland:
You can’t do much about the weather conditions outdoors, but you can definitely do battle with the dry air in your house.
Try running a humidifier to add moisture to the air in the rooms where you spend the most time, and resist the temptation to crank the heat way up. The hotter you set the central heat, the drier the air. Keep the thermostat at 68-72 degrees, and your skin will thank you.
The cold temperatures may tempt you to take long, hot showers, but those end up drying out your skin. Shorter showers in warm water better serve your skin. Also avoid really hot water when you wash your hands — if your hands turn red, the water is too hot.
Regular bar soap may include irritating fragrances, so use a fragrance-free cleanser or gel, and lather up as little as possible. You should also moisturize after you bathe with a cream-based moisturizer or even a lotion.
Avoid astringents, which contain alcohol that can dry out your skin even more. Apply a moisturizing balm to your lips as well, to keep them from cracking and bleeding.
Cold-weather fabrics such as wool can irritate your skin and make it itch, so wear light, breathable layers against your skin and then pull on the heavier sweaters. Don’t forget to protect your hands from the cold air with gloves or mittens as well.
If your clothes happen to get wet (snowball fight, anyone?), change them as soon as possible to avoid more irritation and itchiness.
This may seem counterintuitive at first, but you should wear sunscreen just as much in the winter as in the summer. Snow can reflect the sun’s rays, magnifying the effect, and even on dreary days, UV rays from the sun can still cause damage to your skin.
If you’d like to talk more about how to care for your skin this winter, feel free to call us at Melanie Adams Dermatology or request an appointment online.