Temperatures are plummeting here in NY which is a sure-fire sign that old man winter is near. Dry itchy skin, redness, tightness, irritation, and even breakouts are common when winter weather sets in. Trying to get problem skin under control during winter can feel like the ultimate struggle. Here are the causes of dry winter skin and prevention tips to keep your skin healthy and hydrated until spring.
What Causes Dry Winter Skin?
- The first thing you need to keep in mind during winter is that the air is much drier. Think about it for a second. During 80 degree weather, water is able to vaporize into the air at an excessive rate causing humidity (moist air). However, during winter, water tends to remain in its liquid form, unable to vaporize, resulting in drier air.
- Second, the heat we use to warm our homes, cars, offices, etc., can wreak havoc on our skin. This dry air continues to pull out natural moisture from our skin resulting in tight, dry itchy skin.
- Hot beverages like tea and coffee may taste great but they are usually loaded with caffeine. Caffeine acts as a natural diuretic, drying out your skin from the inside.
How To Prevent It
- One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to prevent problem skin in general is to wash your face every night. It’s absolutely essential to wash away your makeup, sweat and pollutants of the day before you go to bed.
When it comes to your morning routine, you can just do a quick rinse with water. There’s no need to go crazy with a deep cleansing routine unless you sweat excessively overnight.
- Dress to protect your skin from winter weather (frigid temps & high winds) as much as possible.
Keep your hands and face covered when it’s extremely cold.
- Try using a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist.
Remember, moist air further hydrates the skin. This is especially helpful for those with eczema & psoriasis.
- Take lukewarm showers/baths. Long hot showers/baths pull out natural oils that keep our skin hydrated.
You can indulge once weekly but be sure to moisturize a little extra afterwards. Tip: Moisturize while skin is soaking wet. I usually apply sweet almond oil immediately after showering. It’s super lightweight and has amazing benefits! Read more about the benefits of sweet almond oil here.
- If you can’t ditch caffeinated hot drinks try limiting them to 1-2 per day. You can also try substituting both for herbal teas if you’re looking for something to warm you up on a frigid day.
- Keep stress levels at a minimum. The moment we are stressed out it tends to show up on our skin in the form of breakouts, rashes, etc. Try taking time to address what’s stressing you out. Once you do figure it out try practicing meditation or yoga for at least 15-30 minutes a day. It’s a great way to decompress and release tension.
- Try eliminating synthetic fragrances in laundry, dish, and personal care products. Think of it this way, if it’s not an essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, etc) than it’s a synthetic fragrance. These fragrances tend to cause skin irritation for many people. They’re also loaded with petrochemicals and phthalates, many of which have been found to have hormone disrupting or cancer-causing effects.
*I switched to Seventh Generation fragrance free detergent and dish soap last summer. I noticed other dish soaps dried out our hands & left an aftertaste in our cups/Tupperware after washing which was super gross. We switched to their detergent after our newborn developed severe baby eczema. It is a bit pricier our hands are softer, we don’t taste soap in our food and drink & the baby’s eczema cleared up significantly!*(not sponsored)
Now that you know the causes of problem winter skin and how to prevent it, what will you do to keep your skin happy & healthy this winter?