When the colder months approach and we start reaching for our heavy coats, the moisture levels in our skin drops. For many of our patients, dry and itchy skin is the most unpleasant part of the winter season. Everything from cold wind chill to hot water showers and baths can make our skin feel dried out.
For these patients (and anyone with dry skin), we recommend a few simple morning routine adjustments to get you back to feeling hydrated and comfortable. Some of our insights are a little surprising to some—for example, hot showers actually make dehydration worse! Read on to see our tips for keeping skin hydrated and happy all winter long.
Take shorter, cooler showers: The last thing you want to do on a cold winter's night is take a cold shower. We get it! Instead of turning the nozzle completely, consider adjusting it just slightly. Before you bathe, close the door to the bathroom so the steam gets trapped inside and you benefit from the extra moisture. Keep your showers to 10 minutes or less and use warm water instead of hot. When it’s time to lather up, use a gentle cleanser, but don’t use too much product, since that can dry skin.
Moisturize right after showering:
Your skin absorbs moisture most readily right after it’s been washed, so apply product right away. For dry skin, creams are more restorative than lotions, which tend to be on the thin side. We recommend West Dermatology Lipid Replenishing Cream
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Wear a layer underneath wool clothing: Though it’s a time-tested material for keeping warm on cold winter days, wool can irritate your skin and cause itchiness. Wearing an undershirt beneath your favorite sweater can keep you from chafing.
Apply sunscreen every morning:
If you’ve been with West Dermatology for a while, then you probably saw this piece of advice coming. We suggest that everyone wear sunscreen daily, even in the winter. Sunburns are drying to skin, and a sunscreen with SPF 30-plus (along with protective clothing and sunglasses) is the best way to stave off UV damage. We recommend EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
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Drink more water: Hydration starts on the inside. Consider having a glass of water with breakfast instead of your usual coffee or tea, and your skin could reap rewards.
If you’re following the tips above and your skin’s still feeling dry, or if you simply want personalized suggestions, we’re here for you. Just make an appointment and we’ll help you take your skin from flaky and dry to firm, hydrated and smooth.