5 steps to healthier winter skin We offer some tips to keep from drying out this winter
Cold, dry air, friction from heavy clothing, and indoor heating can turn your skin dry, itchy, and prone to cracks. Here's how to keep from drying out this winter.
Place a water-filled bowl near a heating vent or radiator, or use a humidifier. The device should have a humidistat that shuts the humidifier off when the preset humidity level is reached.
Hot water washes away the skin's natural oils, so limit bathing to 10 minutes, use warm rather than hot water, and keep the bathroom door closed to lock in humidity. Skip antibacterial, deodorant, and perfumed soaps, which tend to be drying, in favor of a mild, moisturizing, scent-free cleanser.
Smooth on moisturizer—preferably with glycerin, fatty acids, ceramide, or cholesterol—after bathing, while your skin is damp. Reapply throughout the day, if necessary. Use a facial moisturizer or sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of at least 30, especially on sunny days spent out in the snow.
Lips chap easily because they lack sweat and oil glands. But don't lick your lips, since evaporation makes the chapping worse. Petroleum jelly works well, though lip balm or lipstick can help. Put on lotion after you wash your hands, and wear cotton-lined plastic or rubber gloves when cleaning dishes. If necessary, apply a heavy lotion at night and wear cotton gloves. Treat cracked heals with moisturizers containing lactic acid or urea. For severe cases, see a dermatologist.
Avoid wool and other rough fabrics. Wear cotton or silk next to your skin. Switch to an unscented fabric softener to avoid drying perfumes and chemicals. Finally, leave your electric blankets in storage—they can suck moisture from your skin as you sleep.
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