Winter weather takes a toll on your skin. Between the cold and windy conditions outdoors and trying to warm up indoors, it’s easy to strip your body of its natural oils. Without these oils, your skin dries out and can become itchy, cracked, and irritated. While this condition is typically harmless, dry skin can negatively affect your appearance, cause discomfort, and leave you vulnerable to eczema and infections.
At Advanced Infectious Disease Medical in Hoboken, New Jersey, Dr. Avisheh Forouzesh takes a proactive, whole-body approach to help you maintain optimal health from the inside out. When the mercury drops, follow these tips to help you retain your skin’s natural moisture.
Winter weather isn’t the only thing that creates dry air; so does running your furnace. You can counteract these effects by adding more moisture to rooms where you spend the most time, especially your bedroom, by running a humidifier.
While it may be tempting to crank up the heat to fight off the cold, setting higher temperatures can make your house even drier. To help wake up to healthier skin all winter long, keep your thermostat between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
It may seem like water would help restore moisture, but using hot water to shower or wash your hands increases dryness. To protect your skin’s natural moisture, limit bathing to 5 or 10 minutes and use lukewarm water. Using cooler temperatures to wash your hands is as effective as hot at killing germs during flu season. Immediately after bathing or hand washing, be sure to moisturize with creams or ointments while your pores are open for maximum absorption.
When you have dry or itchy skin, the wrong skin care regimen can make matters worse. To protect your skin during winter months, Dr. Forouzesh recommends looking for mild, fragrance-free products that gently cleanse your skin. It’s also best to use cream-based facial cleansers and apply toners or astringents as sparingly as possible. These products often include alcohol, which can dry out your skin even more.
Snuggling into that wool sweater might seem like a good idea, but wearing rough fabrics against your skin can cause itchiness and irritation. During winter, dress in light layers with soft, breathable materials closest your skin and warmer layers on top. When you go outside, cover as much of your skin as possible with hats, gloves, and scarves to protect your skin from cold winter air.
And even if you’re covered up on a cloudy day, don’t forget to apply sunscreen. The glare of the sun coming off ice or snow can be more harmful to your skin than the sun’s rays on a hot summer day.
On top of protecting your skin on the outside, you can also take steps to support it on the inside. In addition to drinking plenty of water, support your body’s natural oils by eating foods or taking supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Also avoid drinking fluids that can dehydrate your body, such as caffeine and alcohol.
To learn more about protecting your skin during the winter months, call our office or schedule an appointment online today to meet with Dr. Forouzesh.