Got the Winter DRY SKIN blues?
Well folks, with Winter upon us we are preparing our skin for the worst. I wanted to give you 10 ways to help survive the Winter without having the dry skin, or flaky, alligator like skin I tend to get.
If you are anything like me, I can almost mark on my calendar when my eczema will pop up and dread the cold Winter months as I know it means dry skin that itches, looks unattractive as ever and flakes. Ugh, right? You with me on this? Snake-like scaly legs?
Okay, so here are some things I have learned in how to avoid dry skin.
10 Ways to Survive the Winter Without Dry Skin:
Yes, you may not be sweating, but drinking enough water during the Winter months is so important! Regardless of whether or not you think you are sweating, your body loses water every day regardless of the temperature outside. Oh and heaven forbid you are using a heater… you are sucking water right from within. Okay, so this is an easy fix… drink minimally 8 cups of water a day. Not soda or juice, clear good ol’ water.
2. Increase Your Intake of Good Fats
Mmmmm… good fats. You know, the Omega 3 and 6’s you’ve been hearing about all these years. Yes! Taking good fats and oils internally helps your skin more than you may think. Eating foods with good fats, such as salmon, sardines, cod, avocados, nuts and olives, does wonders. If you can’t stomach those, simply buy a good, high quality, fish oil supplement. I’m no doctor, but my kids even take fish oil supplements. My personal fave, after lots of research (you know, mercury and all that concerns me) is Nordic Naturals.
3. Say Goodbye To Long, Hot Baths or Showers
Sounds odd, I know. During the Winter after playing outside in the snow, you look forward too those long hot baths and showers to relax and take the frosty edge off. Unfortunately, those long and hot baths and showers actually dry your skin out and make matters worse. The combination of hot and extended time in water removes the natural oils on your skin and leave it looking more like an alligator.
Instead, opt for warm baths and try keep them no longer than 10 minutes. And always try and pat your skin dry with a towel rather than rubbing the skin.
4. Stick With Moisturizing Cleansers (toss the bar soap)
Bar soaps and other clarifying cleansers take it another step further – removing what little natural oil you may have left on your poor skin. If you are using these clarifying soaps, you are praying to the skin Gods for dry skin.
Instead, use a mild, moisturizing cleanser that contains vegetable glycerin, fruit and nut butters and organic oils and NO sulfates. If you must use a bar soap, I recommend a real African Black Soap as it does not contain any sulfates and contains shea butter and other moisturizing ingredients.
5. Add a Dash of Oil to Your Bath
While I don’t recommend this if you are washing your hair in the bath, I certainly recommend it for your dry skin! My personal favorite is coconut oil, but you can really use any good quality carrier oil. Just dump about 1/4 cup (or 2 tablespoons) worth right into the bathwater. Coconut oil is nice and light and melt nicely in a warm bath so that when you climb out, you are coated in a thin layer of oil. Just rub that goodness into your skin after patting dry and voilà!
And for an added tip, you may have noticed that coconut oil hardens in cold temperatures. However, fractionated coconut oil doesn’t! Its also not that expensive – around $15 for a 16oz bottle. Also, toss in a few drops of your favorite essential oil and you have a bath from the heavens.
6. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize. Did I say Moisturize?
Okay, you may think “well, my dry skin is going to be hidden under layers of clothing, so I don’t need to apply lotion.” Wrong! With dry and cold weather its time to turn up the moisture. Morning and night you should be slathering on a good quality lotion or just a good quality oil or butter. Argan oil, Jojoba Oil or Rosehip Oil are my recommendation for oils if you will be using them in place of a lotion. And Shea Butter for butters as it is light and fluffy and easier to apply than others. I’ve included links to ones I like that are available on Amazon.com.
Oh, and the best time to moisturize is directly after your bath or shower. Your pores are wide open and just waiting to take in that smooth, oily, buttery goodness.
7. Avoid Skincare Products Containing Alcohol
I know, seems obvious. Alcohol makes dry skin even worse. However, so many products on the market contain alcohol that I felt a need to point this out. Here are some products that frequently contain alcohol are: facial and skin toner, hairspray, hand sanitizers, sunscreen, acne treatment products and many other products targeted at oily skin.
Drying alcohol is different from fatty alcohols, which moisturize. Ethyl, denatured, isopropyl or methanol alcohols are drying. Cetyl, cetearyl, stearyl and behenyl alcohols are fatty alcohols and have a moisturizing effect.
8. Add a Humidifier to the Equation
Well, most likely you are using some sort of heating element either at work or home (or both) to stay warm during these bitterly cold months. Its hard to avoid, but it only makes matters worse with dry skin. Adding a humidifier to the equation ads some moisture back into the air and helps keep your skin hydrated.
9. Use Sunscreen
You say what?! Yes, in Winter you also need sunscreen. If you outside in snowy or icy climates the suns glare off of ice or snow burns just the same. So if you are going skiing, snowboarding, sledding or whatever else you may do outside, apply sunscreen, and don’t forget your hands either. Burns dry your skin out further! Stick with a mineral based sunscreen that is also moisturizing for the best of both worlds – hey you may even avoid windburn.
10. Wear Non-Irritating Fabrics
Your skin can be even more prone to rash and irritation in the cold, dry weather. Wearing polyester and other synthetic fabrics that don’t allow your skin to breathe can irritate your skin or lead to rash. Just what you want to add to your already dry skin, right?! I don’t think so. And unfortunately even some natural fabrics, like wool, can irritate your skin. Cotton is really your best bet so stick with it as much as possible.
There you have it. Lessons learned. I am sure I will learn more over time and will grow this list with my learning. After all, my dry skin is dry year round, not just during the Winter months so I have plenty of opportunity to perfect my preventions and remedies and share my learnings with you!
So I’m dying to know, what tricks do you have for avoiding dry skin? Any favorite remedies for dry skin?? I’d love to hear from you so please share in the comments section below!