It’s not uncommon to experience dry, flaky skin in winter that not only affects your face, but also your hands, feet, and other areas that are exposed to the elements.
The key to keeping your skin healthy is to moisturize your skin frequently with the right products. It’s also important to go easy on exfoliating scrubs, hot water, and other skin care treatments.
There are steps you can take to keep your skin looking healthy, even when temperatures dip and there’s no escape from winter’s dry, cold air.
1. Adjust your skincare routine
If the skin on your face seems to be especially sensitive or irritated due to the dry winter air, you may want to consider simplifying your skin care routine for the time being.
Keep in mind that your skin’s moisture barrier needs to be healthy in order to respond well to serums, toners, and other types of beauty treatments.
Also, if your skin is irritated, it might be more sensitive to ingredients like fragrance and alcohol. This means that products that would normally feel great on your face could turn into irritants.
Once you feel confident that your skin’s moisture barrier is healthy, you can slowly incorporate other treatments and ingredients back into your routine.
2. Use a humidifier
Humidifiers help to add moisture back into the air, which can be especially helpful when indoor heating is cranked up in the winter months. Having more moisture in the air can help act as a natural moisturizing agent which, in turn, may prevent and relieve skin dryness.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a humidifier setting of 60 percent in winter can replenish moisture in the top layer of your skin.
3. Dial down the temperature
A hot shower or bath at the end of a cold winter’s day can feel especially soothing. But, to keep your skin nourished, you may want to keep the water temperature closer to lukewarm.
According to the Baylor College of Medicine, hot water can strip away your skin’s natural oils faster than lukewarm water (which is typically around 98.6°F/37°C), and possibly even cause damage.
Also, take care when you dry your skin after bathing or showering. Instead of vigorously rubbing, gently pat your skin with a soft towel, which may allow some of the moisture to hydrate the top layer of your skin.
4. Go easy on exfoliants and scrubs
Exfoliation, which helps remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, can help keep your skin looking smooth and vibrant. But, it’s possible to overexfoliate your skin if you do it too often or use the wrong products.
If your skin looks dry or flaky, you may want to opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant rather than a physical scrub. Harsher scrubs with large particles may be more likely to break down your skin’s moisture barrier and cause damage.
If your skin is cracked, raw, or irritated, it may be best to avoid exfoliation until your skin has healed.
5. Moisturize right after washing
Any time you wash your face, hands, or body, you strip your skin of its natural oils. Since these oils help to lock in moisture, it’s vital to replace them. That’s why it’s important to use a moisturizer any time you wash your skin, especially in winter.
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