How to avoid dry skin in the winter

Throughout the winter, excessive hand washing to prevent the spread of germs can leave skin extremely dry and itchy.  Not to mention the constant changes in temperature and weather can leave your skin dehydrated.  As the temperature is drops, people turn their heat on, and indoor air gets dehydrated and your skin loses moisture from the environment. Furthermore, drinking coffee and alcohol (some of our staples during the holidays) can also lead to dehydration and dry skin.  You can avoid this by taking care of your skin and making sure to keep it hydrated, protecting it from chapping or cracking.

So how can you best take care of your skin, and avoid the winter’s harsh effects? Here are some tips to help keep your skin hydrated during the winter months:

1.     Use a humidifier

    • Using a humidifier, especially at night can help prevent moisture loss indoors and keep your skin from getting crusty while you sleep.  For best results, try using distilled water instead of tap water

2.     Use saline spray

    • We’ve all had the feeling of dryness in our eyes, mouth and nostrils, especially during travel.  Saline sprays and drops can keep these areas moist and functioning as they should. When these areas become to dry, the mucosal surfaces can become itchy and are less able to protect against viral infections, such as the flu.

3.     Choose the right moisturizer

    • Use products that are a bit heavier during the winter.  These include moisturizers that contain fat molecules, known as ceramides, to help protect the skin. Essential oils like jojoba oil and shea butter oil are also beneficial ingredients to keep the skin protected.  While in the winter you should choose a moisturizer with less water that will be thicker and last longer, during warmer months a lighter, higher water content moisturizer is best.

4.     Drink more water

    • Because it is easier for skin to become dehydrated in the winter, try drinking a glass of water for each alcoholic or caffeinated beverage you have. As mentioned, drinking caffeinated coffee and alcoholic drinks can lead to dehydration and dry skin.

5.     Commit to a healthy diet

    • Adding foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can improve the condition of your skin remarkably.  Omega-3s are responsible for keeping skin cells well lubricated, making your skin look younger and fresher. Add foods like salmon, walnuts, olive oil, soybeans, navy beans, kidney beans, winter squash and ground flaxseeds to your winter regimen.

6.     Avoid Hot Water

    • One our favorite things in the winter is taking a hot shower or bath, but the hot water breaks down the lipid barrier in your skin.  This makes it easier for your skin to lose its moisture, and become chapped and dry.  Try taking warm or lukewarm baths instead.