Don’t Let the Winter Dull Your Glow
Is the harsh winter weather ruining your glowing skin? Cold air, dry indoor heat, low humidity levels, and harsh winter wind can all take away the moisture in your skin. This can leave your skin looking much less radiant than usual.
Why is My Skin Drier in the Winter?
Dry skin occurs when your epidermis is not retaining enough moisture. While this can be caused by harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions, the winter weather does exacerbate these issues. Winter poses a special problem because the humidity levels are low both indoors and outdoors. The water content of your skin’s outermost layer tends to reflect the level of humidity around it. Therefore, the low humidity levels in the winter cause low moisture levels in your skin.
Typical Signs and Symptoms of Dry Skin
Dry skin, also known as xerosis or xeroderma, makes the skin look and feel rough, itchy, flaky, or scaly. The location of these dry patches varies from person to person. It is a common condition that affects people of all ages. Dry skin is often temporary or seasonal, but some individuals need to treat their dry skin long-term. Signs and symptoms of dry skin might vary based on your age, health status, skin tone, living environment, and sun exposure. These symptoms may include a feeling of skin tightness, skin that looks and feels rough, itchiness (pruritus), slight to severe flaking skin, fine lines or cracks, and deep cracks that may bleed.
Could You be Experiencing More Than Just Dry Winter Skin?
There are some instances where you could be experiencing more than just dry winter skin. For example, adults over the age of 40 naturally have drier skin and should be applying moisturizer regularly. As we age, our skin produces fewer natural oils. Dry skin can also be a sign of a completely unrelated health condition, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or a nutrition deficiency. The key to figuring out what is going on is to watch out for certain symptoms.
When to See a Doctor for Dry Skin
Most cases of dry skin respond well to lifestyle changes and home remedies. You may need to book an appointment with one of our Dermatologists if your symptoms persist after self-care steps, your skin becomes inflamed or painful, your condition is causing you to lose sleep or is distracting you from your daily routines, you have open sores or infections from scratching, or you have large areas of scaly or peeling skin.
If any of these apply to you, please book an appointment at SkinDC today!
How You Can Soothe Your Dry Skin
To help heal dry skin and prevent its return, we recommend the following.
Adjust Your Shower Routines
One of the biggest changes you can make is to limit the length and frequency of your showers. While you may feel like taking a hot shower is a good remedy for your dry skin, it is not. The heat in the water dries the oils out of your skin as will overwashing. The warmer the water you use, the drier your skin is going to be. A five to ten-minute shower is recommended, as well as showering every other day if you are not getting sweaty from exercise.
Add Moisture to Your Air
Using a humidifier in the room where you sleep can help reduce the effects of spending lots of time in dry and low-humidity areas. A Havard Health study advises that the humidifier should be set to 60 percent, which is a level that should be sufficient to replenish the top layer of the epidermis.
Apply SPF Daily
Due to the shorter winter days and less sunlight, many are tempted to go a day or more without applying their SPF. However, even in winter, harmful UV light can still stress your skin’s moisture barrier. Your moisture barrier is vital for maintaining skin health and hydration. Make sure to add a layer of sunscreen each morning after you’ve applied your moisturizer. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends using sunscreen with at least an SPF 30.
If you are looking for a new SPF to add to your skincare routine, here are a few of our favorites:
Epionce Daily Shield Lotion Tinted SPF 50 is perfect for all skin types, including sensitive skin, has a universal tint, and is water resistant.
SkinDC Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50 is gentle on sensitive and acne-prone skin and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
After you shower, pat your skin dry with a towel and then immediately apply moisturizer. The function of moisturizers is to trap moisture in your skin. Therefore, when you apply moisturizer to skin that is already very dry, it is not going to be beneficial as there is no moisture to trap. Applying moisturizers to damp skin is much more effective, especially if your skin is dry to start with. You should also be applying a moisturizer to your hands and face within a few minutes of washing them.
If your typical facial moisturizer is no longer effective, here are a few of our favorite more intensive moisturizers to try:
Epionce Medical Barrier Cream provides a surge of hydration for very sensitive skin types, including visibly red and irritated skin that is scaly and dry.
La Roche Posay Lipikar AP+ is a body cream moisturizer for dry to extra dry skin that features a unique prebiotic action on the skin microbiome. It is clinically shown to reduce dry, rough skin.
Ingredients to Add and Avoid
If you are suffering from dry skin in the winter, it may be time to check your skincare ingredients. There are many ingredients that will cause your dry skin to get worse, as well as many that will help restore hydration.
Ingredients to Avoid
- Alcohol – While this ingredient is common in some lotions, it is not a good choice when trying to repair dry skin. With chronic use, alcohol could disrupt your skin’s moisture barrier.
- Fragrances – Fragrances can be an irritant leading to redness, itchy skin, and sometimes hives. If your skin is dry and sensitive, it is best to replace your products with fragrance-free alternatives.
- Benzoyl Peroxide – Used to treat mild to moderate acne, benzoyl peroxide is typically very drying to the skin. If your skin is peeling or flaky, reduce the frequency of uses or stop using benzoyl peroxide altogether.
Ingredients to Add
- Squalene – Squalene is naturally produced by your body and is found in human sebum (oil). However, as you age, squalene production slows. Squalene is a great moisturizing oil that does not leave you with an oily feel and is okay for acne-prone skin.
- Hyaluronic Acid – The Hyaluronic Acid molecule can hold 1,000 times its weight in water and is one of the best ways to add moisture back into your dry skin.
- Ceramides – Ceramides are epidermal lipids that play a key role in skin barrier function. They are naturally found in human skin but are also used in skincare products to help replace deficient lipids.
Exfoliation, which helps remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, can help your skin look smooth and vibrant. However, it is possible to overexfoliate your skin if you do it too often or use the wrong products. If your skin is looking dry or flaky, you may want to opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant rather than a physical scrub. If your skin is cracked, raw, or irritated, it may be best to avoid exfoliation until your skin is healed.
Get Regular HydraFacials
A HydraFacial is the only procedure that combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration, and antioxidant protection simultaneously, resulting in clearer, brighter, and smoother skin. This treatment provides the results of a microdermabrasion, chemical peel, and a deep-cleansing facial combined. It also improved the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, congested and enlarged pores, acne, hyperpigmentation, and dryness. It is a very customizable treatment, so it is appropriate for all skin types including sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Schedule a HydraFacial with one of our Master Estheticians today!