By Yelena Sapin
Cooler weather means turning on the heat, cozying up to a crackling fire, and lingering under the spray of a hot shower. It also means the start of dry skin season. Lower outdoor humidity and drier indoor air are major contributors to the problem. And while those hot showers certainly feel good, they strip your skin of natural protective oils. Left untreated, dry skin can crack and bleed, creating an entry for bacteria that can lead to infection, says Nina Scott, RN, BSN, president and owner of DS Research.
Read on for two easy solutions for dry winter skin:
Solution 1: Hydrate and Moisturize
Drink lots of water during the day to hydrate from the inside, Scott urges, and use a humidifier to combat the drying effects of heated indoor air. Apply a good lotion or cream daily — especially right out of the shower when skin is still damp — to lock in that precious moisture. Plain Vaseline is an inexpensive option that is safe even for most people with allergies, Scott says. It works especially well when rubbed onto hands and feet at bedtime.
Solution 2: Be Gentle and Cover Up
Make sure your soaps and cleansers are gentle to your skin. Some products break down your skin’s natural oils and can be harsh and irritating. Many people are also sensitive to fragrances and certain ingredients, Scott points out. You should also cover up your skin when going outside in cold, windy conditions to protect it from chapping. “We recommend cotton clothing as the layer touching your skin because other fabrics can be itchy and irritating,” Scott says.