For many people, winter is their favorite time of year because they appreciate the crisp, cool air and love how beautiful the world looks when blanketed in snow. But for individuals with sensitive skin, this time of year comes with some problems.
What will you do to protect your skin? After all, it’s the largest organ of the human body, weighing about 8 pounds and measuring 20 square feet in adults, according to WebMD. Since skin serves as the barrier between us and the world, it deserves protection and pampering.
Your skin barrier can be compromised for a wide range of reasons—with some in your control and some totally outside of it. One of those reasons is the weather and environment that you live in: Cold, dry weather can weaken the function of your skin barrier.
There’s no need to fret, though. Here are tips on how to prepare and support your skin barrier that you can start using today:
(Gently) Scrub Your Skin
The trick to handling dry skin is to periodically remove the top dead layer, a process known as exfoliation. Find the gentlest scrub available (consult your dermatologist if you have questions). Typically scrubs contain lactic acid or rely on glycolic acid to remove dry skin. Doing scrubs gently prepares your skin while avoiding pain and itchiness that would result if the dead skin wasn’t eliminated.
Adjust Your Food and Drink Choices
Fans of alcohol and coffee should consider giving up or reducing consumption of their favorite beverages this winter. They’re diuretics, meaning they’ll cause you to be dehydrated. As you refrain from booze and caffeine drinks, increase the amount of water you drink. That’s the best way to stay hydrated, and that protects your skin barrier.
A great way to manage your skin is to eat foods like walnuts, olive oil and avocados, which are high in healthy fats. They’ll keep your skin from drying out and you’ll look healthier too, as pointed out by Byrdie. So, you have an excuse to eat delicious food, since it can help you minimize discomfort from dermatitis.
Use a Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C isn’t just a supplement that you take in pill form to avoid or reduce the severity of the common cold. Vitamin C serum is a skin-protecting substance that you can apply for daytime use in your effort to control eczema. The vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid, will protect skin against environmental damage, improving complexion. Free radicals that occur in the presence of ultraviolet light, diesel fumes and ozone all can damage the skin barrier, but vitamin C protects against them so you’ll feel and look much better.
Get Your Home Ready
Environmental factors matter when it comes to conditions like dermatitis and eczema. Dry air leads to dry skin. When you’re running the heater during winter, the air in your home dries out significantly. It’s best to run a humidifier to boost the amount of moisture, noted Vogue. Keep the humidifier in whatever room you spend the most time in, such as the living room at night while relaxing with family or the bedroom while you sleep.
Scientists have discovered that our skin cells contain lipids called ceramides. They work to keep water inside our cells and safeguard skin against damage, according to Mindbodygreen. You can imagine them as bricks and mortar making a wall. When ceramides decline (from age and environmental factors), skin is damaged. You can solve this problem by applying an extract containing phytoceramides, available through skin care clinics. They’ll boost hydration in your skin.
Wear Sun Protection Factor Sunscreen Daily
Even though it’s winter and temperatures are dropping, the sun still comes out and it can cause damage to your exposed skin. For this reason, you should continue to wear a high-sun protection factor or SPF sunscreen whenever you go outside, in consultation with your dermatologist about the appropriate SPF rating.
Keep Away From Alcohol and Fragrances
Adopting a hypoallergenic approach may be just what your skin barrier needs to stay healthy in winter. Select cleansers that do not contain alcohol, as this substance tends to dry out skin. Aim for fragrance-free products. The fragrances used in modern soaps often irritate skin that’s dry and itchy, such as when you have eczema.
Staying Comfortable in Your Skin This Winter and Into the New Year
It would be a shame if issues with your skin barrier prevented you from enjoying the rest of winter and the holiday season. Whether you suffer from dermatitis or eczema or any other uncomfortable skin condition, taking steps to protect yourself now will ensure you have a better experience. We hope that this blog post will help you protect your skin during winter and throughout the new year!
- WebMD: The Skin: Human Anatomy https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-the-skin
- Byrdie: How to Keep Your Skin From Freaking Out During Winter, According to Dermatologists https://www.byrdie.com/winter-skincare-tips- 4775910#:~:text=%20How%20to%20Keep%20Your%20Skin%20From%20Freaking,%204%20Eat%20More%20Avocado.%20%20More%20
- Mindbodygreen: How Phytoceramides Can Help Support Your Skin Barrier In The Cold & Winter https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/barrier-support-is-more-important-in-the-winter-phytocermadies-can-help
- Vogue: The Definitive Guide to Preventing Dry Skin—From a Top Dermatologist https://www.vogue.com/article/how-to-get-rid-of-dry-skin-winter-eye-cream-face-serum-mask-scrub