Winter can cause severe damage to your skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes that even winter’s most wonderful things, like sitting by a warm fire, can dry out your skin. According to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils even though hot showers can warm you up.
There are many ways to prevent dry skin.
Read on for 10 simple, dermatologist-approved tips for glowing winter skin.
Top 10 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin
- Get a Humidifier to Maximize Moisture
“In the cooler months, outdoor air tends to hold onto less water and is drier and colder,” Nissan O.Wesley, MD, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a humidifier can be installed in your home or workplace to restore moisture to the air and help keep your skin hydrated.
You can run a humidifier throughout your home or in the rooms you spend most of your time in. The goal is to maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-50 percent. You can also turn the humidifier on while you sleep to keep it going. You can also purchase a humidity monitor, such as the Goabroa model ($4.90 on Amazon.com).
- Maintain Cool and Comfortable Temperatures
You might be tempted to turn up the heat if you want to escape the cold, dry outdoors. High central heat can make your home even drier, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. To prevent your skin from drying out further, keep it cool and comfortable. The AOCD recommends temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F.
- Lower Water Temperatures to Shower and Hand-Wash
While steamy, long showers sound great when it’s cold and windy, very hot water can dry the skin. Marie Hayag MD, a dermatologist who founded Fifth Avenue Aesthetics, New York City, states that while it may seem like a good idea, steamy showers are not the best option. According to the AAD, a warm bath or shower for five to ten minutes is more likely to dry skin than a hot one.
The best rule of thumb is that if your skin turns red from too much water, it’s too hot. University of Pittsburgh Medicine Center
- Choose Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers
Bar soap can cause dryness and strip the skin of its natural oils. It can also disrupt the microbiome. Dr. Wesley advises that.
Dr. Hayag recommends body washes for those with dry skin. Look for products that are labeled “for sensitive skin” or “fragrance-free” and “dye-free.”
The AAD recommends that you look out for ” fragrance-free ” products. Unscented products could contain chemicals that neutralize the scent and irritate.
- Change Your Skin-Care Program for Season
Hayag suggests that you reduce the use of skin-care products that contain alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs), retinoids, and retinoids on your face if your skin is itchy and dry. This can worsen the problem and even indicate irritant dermatology (a skin reaction after prolonged exposure to an irritating substance). She says that once the skin has healed, it can slowly restart the retinoid or alpha-hydroxy acids.
Aside from skipping AHAs or retinoids when your skin is dry, the AAD suggests avoiding products that contain alcohol and perfumes. This will help the skin maintain its natural oils.
Choose oils and creams instead. Wesley suggests you also use a moisturizer to top off your toner if it causes dryness.
RELATED: How to Change Your Winter Skin-Care Routine Depending on Your Skin Type
- Moisturize Your Hands Frequently After Washing
The CDC states hand-washing is essential, especially when COVID-19, common cold and flu are a concern. However, “constant washing” will make your hands feel soiled, says Linda Stein Gold MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Henry Ford Medical Center, West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Dr. Stein Gold suggests that you apply hand cream after every wash. Dr. Stein Gold also suggests wearing waterproof gloves to protect your hands when washing dishes or cleaning the house.
To help absorb moisturizer, you can use cotton gloves.
- Use Sunscreen Even on Gray Winter Days
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the sun’s rays are magnified by snow on bright winter days. This multiplies your UV exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, UV rays have been shown to cause skin cancer, sunburn and premature skin aging (such as wrinkles, leathery skin and liver spots).
It doesn’t matter if you’re on the slopes or out in the snow. It’s as important to use sunscreen even in winter.
- Wear appropriate, comfortable, and non-irritating clothing
Cold-weather fabrics can dry out winter skin. Stein Gold advises against allowing wool or rough clothing to touch your skin. This can lead to dry skin becoming itchy and irritated. “
Wear lightweight layers of soft, breathable fabrics (such as silk or cotton) directly against your skin. The AAD recommends that you then pull on heavier sweaters.
- Eat right and stay hydrated.
Although you shouldn’t expect dramatic results, it is possible to moisturize your skin from the inside. Wesley states that keeping your skin hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to prevent dryness. A small study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology in August 2015 found that those with low water intake could positively affect their skin’s hydration. It involved drinking two liters more water than their daily average.
- Dry Yourself, then Lock in Moisture.
Hayag suggests that you dry your hands after washing them. According to the AOCD, blotting your skin or patting it dry instead of rubbing it is a better way to retain moisture.