Cold weather can be challenging for a number of reasons. You’re trapped under layers of clothes; you’re walking and driving through snow and ice, and your body is more susceptible to cold and flu.
But there’s another problem with cold weather: Your skin gets dry. For some people, this becomes more than just an annoyance. Dry skin can lead to flaking, cracking, and even eczema—which could warrant a trip to your local urgent care center.
So, what’s the best way to ward off dry skin when the weather is cold? Many of us pack on moisturizing lotion or turn on a humidifier. These measures can help—but is there something more effective you could be doing? Here are five tips for avoiding dry skin in cold weather.
1. Change your regular body lotion
In the warmer months you might apply a regular moisturizer and body lotion once a day, and that’s enough. But as the weather changes, your skincare routine should change too. In colder weather, use a cream moisturizer. Oil-based lotions, as opposed to water-based, are also helpful. The oil creates a layer on your skin which helps hold in moisture better than a water-based cream or lotion.
2. Keep your face hydrated
For dry skin on your face, consider a 1% hydrocortisone cream available over the counter. Apply the cream as directed, then follow up with a moisturizer. Be careful what kind of creams you put on your face, however, as too many oils can clog your pores. Mineral oil, almond oil, and avocado oil are all safe to use on your face.
3. Invest in a humidifier
One of the reasons our skin dries out so much in the colder months is because of our use of central heating systems and portable heaters. These machines, while keeping our homes and offices warm and cozy, are sending dry air into the air and depriving our skin of the moisture it needs. Humidifiers are a great way to keep your skin moisturized. Place several small humidifiers around your home. They’ll get more moisture into the air and back into your skin.
4. Watch that water temperature
A long, hot shower may sound amazing when it’s cold, but beware: it can actually dry out your skin. Hot water washes away the skin’s protective oils. Turn down the temperature or limit yourself to one five or ten-minute shower a day.
For a hydrating bath experience, consider a lukewarm bath with finely ground oats. Oats cleanse and leave a protective layer on the skin, helping to keep moisture in.
5. Be gentle with your cleansing
Choose your soap or body wash wisely. Some products wash your skin’s natural moisture right off. Look for a mild, fragrance-free soap that cleanses and moisturizes. You can also choose a soap or body wash that’s specifically formulated for dry skin.
Healthy skin throughout the year
Your largest organ can lose moisture in cold weather and it’s important to protect it. This can be easily accomplished through using different skincare products designed to deliver and lock in moisture, turning on humidifiers, and avoiding bathing often in hot water. It’s only a matter of time until Spring is here. In the meantime, keep your skin moisturized and healthy!