Winter is almost here, and conditions are perfect for uncomfortable, dry, itchy skin. As soon as the temperature drops and the house thermostat is set a little higher, your skin starts to dry. Here are some essential tips to help avoid dry skin:

1. Use A Moisturizer

Not all moisturizers are created equal. As weather conditions change, so should your skin care routine. Look for a moisturizer that is oil-based, rather than water-based. The oil base acts as a protective skin layer that retains more moisture. However be careful with the oils you put on your face. Look for non-pore clogging oils like avocado, mineral, primrose, or almond oil.  

2. Don’t Forget Sunscreen

Sunscreen isn’t just for summer. The winter sun can still damage your skin. Apply sunscreen to your exposed skin about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply it frequently if you stay outside for extended periods.  

3. Cover Your Hands

The skin on your hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands than most body parts. This means they are harder to keep moist and more likely to dry in cold weather, which can lead to itchiness and cracking. Remember to wear gloves when you go outside. They will keep your hands warm and help protect the skin.  

4. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks

While we are talking about gloves, make sure that they stay dry. Wet gloves and socks can seriously irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, and soreness. That can contribute to eczema. Don’t forget to change your socks and dry out your gloves after you come inside from a day in the snow.  

5. Use A Humidifier

Central heating systems and space heaters blow dry hot air throughout homes, offices, and other buildings. Humidifiers add moisture to the air which helps prevent skin from drying out. If possible, place several humidifiers throughout your home to help spread the moisture evenly.  

6. Not Too Hot In The Shower

The heat of a hot bath or shower may feel great on a cold day, but hot water actually breaks down the lipid barriers in skin which can lead to a loss of moisture. Keep your skin moist by using warm, not hot, water and limiting your time in the bath or shower. You may also want to apply a moisturizing lotion while the skin is still damp to avoid more loss of moisture.  

7. Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal baths in lukewarm water can help to revive dry, itchy skin. It soothes the painful itch as it protects your skin. Itchy, dry skin normally has a high pH level. An oatmeal bath can help reverse that by normalizing your skin’s pH.  

8. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages can lead to dehydration and dry skin. Try to limit consumption of these beverages. Replace them with water.  

9. Avoid Harsh Skin Cleansers

Be careful of the ingredients in facial cleansers. Some facial cleansers contain rubbing alcohol and other skin drying chemicals. Replace these with a milder, skin-friendly product during winter to combat dry skin.  

10. Saline Moisturizing Sprays And Drops

Saline moisturizing sprays and drops can help to keep the mouth, eyes, and nasal areas hydrated. When these areas become dry, the mucosal surfaces can become itchy, irritated and vulnerable to viral infections.  

11. Remove Dead Skin

Help soothe your skin by getting rid of old, dead skin cells. Use an over-the-counter exfoliating scrub. Do this gently in order not to damage the skin.   If your skin stays dry in the winter despite these tips, it may be time to talk to a physician. A physician can diagnose what is wrong with your skin, prescribe needed medications or treatments, and suggest a skin care regimen for you.

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