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It is winter. Cold winds, temperatures often below freezing and the air in our apartments often dry. This combination of cold, wet weather coupled with the dry air from our heaters at home can wreak havoc on our skin leaving it dry, flakey, itchy or sometimes red and blotchy.
The American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) recommends the following during the winter cold months:
Read the labels on all products you put on your face. Avoid any kind of cleansers that contain alcohol, fragrance, alpha-hydroxy acid and retinoids as they dry the skin.
Use lukewarm water; avoid use of excessively hot or cold water on your face and body. Wash your face no more than twice a day, morning and evening, and additionally if you have been sweating due to physical exertion.
When bathing limit the time in your shower to no more than 10 minutes. Keep water warm and avoid hotter temperatures despite how nice it might feel in the winter. Avoid washing your hair every day to avoid a dry itchy scalp. The natural oils in your scalp serve to moisturize your head and hair.
– Blot your skin dry with a towel and apply moisturizer to your face and body immediately after bathing to lock in moisture.
Other ingredients to look for include: petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, glycerin, lactic acid, urea hyaluronic acid and dimethicone. These ingredients are often non-irritating and sooth the skin.
Wear gloves in the cold to avoid dry cracked skin and use hand lotions that contain some of the ingredients mentioned above.
Use lip balm. Seek out balms with fewer ingredients and fragrances to promote healing and moisture.
Add a humidifier to your space in order to combat the dry air and add moisture to your dwelling while you sleep.
It is recommended that you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your skin supple. A good diet with copious vegetables, fruits and proteins promotes a sound working immune system and healthy skin. If implementing some of these changes does not address your dry, itchy skin, it is recommended that you see a dermatologist.
Ariana Ward, MS RD
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