Beauty & Style

Always do this if you want to avoid dry skin in winter

Always do this if you want to avoid dry skin in winter

How to avoid dry skin in winter

Ah, winter. ’Tis the season for dry skin, along with potential complications, including itching, flaking, cracking, bleeding, rosacea (redness and inflammation) and eczema flare-ups. There are several reasons for this. First, the air outdoors is drier. Indoor air tends to be parched as well, an effect of heating systems. Seniors need to take extra care, since cumulative sun damage and slower production of natural oils put them at greater risk of dryness. Happily, there’s plenty you can do to combat dry skin in winter.

Switch up your shower routine

To start, adapt your bathing routine. Piping hot water may feel good, but that’s a sure way to strip away your skin’s natural oils. Use warm water instead, keep your baths or showers short, and apply a generous amount of moisturiser after you dry off. Thick, oily products are especially effective at fighting winter moisture loss, “but don’t despair if you can’t tolerate those due to pore clogging or shininess,” says dermatologist, Dr Bav Shergill. “Even a light moisturiser will give you some protection.”

Hand care

When it comes to your hands, frequent washing with soap is essential for preventing the flu and other infections, but it leads to dryness. So after you clean them, apply hand cream. If that doesn’t help enough, try a dab of petroleum jelly before bed; you can put on cotton gloves to keep it in place overnight. Wearing mittens or gloves outdoors also reduces damage, since exposure to the frigid air further harms skin.

Layer up

If you’re prone to winter itch (which is exactly what it sounds like), avoid direct contact with potentially irritating fabrics such as wool or synthetic fibres. “The best approach is to wear several thin layers,” says Shergill. “The one next to the skin could be cotton or a cotton/silk blend, both of which appear to be well tolerated by most people.” Layering lets you adapt to various temperatures during the day, keeping you toasty while avoiding excessive sweating that could trigger itching and scratching in already-irritated skin.

Written by Samantha Rideout. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.

Image: Getty Images

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