Skincare 101: Keeping your skin hydrated during winter

Well, the weather outside is frightful, especially for your skin. This time of the year may look magical, but it certainly doesn’t do any wonders for your skin.

Cold weather, combined with snow showers and freezing wind can dry out your skin almost instantly. Combine that with snuggling up in central heating, and your skin finds itself going through 50 shades of dehydrated.

It’s something you notice nearly immediately, your skin becomes scaly, spotted and rough to touch. It can be itchy under your sweaters and can become very irritated if not treated.

Naturally, our first instinct is to lather on as much moisturiser as possible. The short answer is yes, this is a good idea, but there is much more to it.

Your skin is being stripped of moisture at a rapid rate, so you want to consider methods that minimize transepidermal water loss. The easiest way to start initial treatment for dry skin is using in-showermoisturizers rather than soap. You can use a beauty bar such as Neutrogena, Cetaphil,or Dove rather than soap to help keep skin moisturized. Soap has an alkaline pH, which contributes to dryness and irritation when it comes in contact with the skin’s acid pH. Beauty bars have an acid pH similar to the skin’s natural levels.

If a bath is more your style, you can also use bath oils while taking baths to help trap moisture in the skin. It is important to not stay in the bath or shower for more than 15 minutes. When you take long soaks, you’re washing away your skin’s protective oils. And use lukewarm water, not hot. Hot water tends to strip the oil from your skin.

After you bathe, always pat your skin dry and apply moisturisers – they do not have to be expensive. Widely available products, such as Eucerin, Elta Swiss Crème Moisturiser and Vaseline Intensive Care, work well. Use a moisturiser that contains alpha-hydroxy acids. These remove loose, flaky skin cells, leaving the skin softer.

It is important to not ignore these moisturising steps, as you can develop severe winter itch. Chronic scratching then thickens the skin, and in these cases, you may need oral antipruritics as well as topical corticosteroids.

Indoors humidity is a key player in the health of your skin, so you could also consider adding a vaporizer to your bedroom and/or have a humidifying system added to your heating system.

One of the easiest things you can do daily is to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink at least 250ml of water each day. Herbal teas and juices also count, but not caffeinated beverages like black tea, coffee, and sodas containing caffeine, or any drinks that include alcohol. All of those have a diuretic effect, which means you’ll lose body fluids because you’ll have to urinate more frequently. Combine your fluid intake with a daily dose of vitamins such as A, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, zinc, and selenium, which can be found in one skin-enhancing nutrients pill.

It may seem like a lot to remember, but these steps alone can take a matter of minutes to ensure your skin survives the winter.

If you’re looking for a blast of immediate hydration, we offer some excellent options. Book a free consultation with one of our medical estheticians, and give your skin some love.

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