Winter weather brings itchy, dry skin to most people. Thanks to a combination of plummeting temperatures and high winds, you may find yourself with ashy skin virtually overnight. Some people accept it as an inevitable part of the season. They grin and bear it, hoping to endure it until warmer weather returns. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to combat dry skin. Here are the top three ways to manage dry skin so that you can enjoy a more comfortable, beautiful season.
1. Beware of Temperature Extremes
When you’re outside, your skin gets blasted by cold winter winds. When you’re inside, you’re at the mercy of forced-air heating systems that are turned all the way up. Both extremes strip moisture from your skin, leaving you with itchy, flaky, ashy skin. You can protect yourself outside by covering up against the elements as much as possible. Wrap a warm scarf around your neck, pulling it up over your chin as far as is comfortable. Wear a hat or a hood to keep your scalp and ears protected. Keep gloves within reach to keep hands from getting chapped, and carry along a rich lip balm to keep your mouth comfortable.
Indoors, try to set your thermostat a few degrees cooler. You may have to wear a sweater, but a more moderate temperature is far kinder to your skin. Whenever possible, use a humidifier to add much-needed moisture into the atmosphere. You may not be able to control the thermostat at the office, but consider bring a small, portable humidifier into work to help combat the effects of the furnace.
Keep the same guidelines in mind when you’re behind the wheel. Try turning the fan down so you don’t have so much air blowing at your face. At the same time, moderate the temperature control so that’s blowing warm but not hot air. You’re bound to see less dry skin as a result.
Temperature extremes in water can also give you ashy skin. Choose lukewarm water over hot water, keeping showers to a short duration. Cleanse your hands with hand sanitizer to avoid using soap and hot water at least a few times a day.
When you understand how temperature extremes in the air and in water can affect your skin, you can find many ways to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place.
2. Change Your Products
You may have noticed that your skin has undergone a transformation as the season changed. Perhaps your face isn’t as oily, and maybe it’s even starting to feel dry, a sensation you couldn’t even imagine in July. Because your skin has changed with the weather, the products you use need to change as well. You may need to opt for a gentle, cream cleanser that helps your skin retain hydration. One that includes ceramides may be ideal. Similarly, you may find that exfoliation is more than your skin can take with the colder temperatures. This may mean that you don’t exfoliate as often or that you choose a gentler formula that gets the job done without being too harsh.
You may need to switch the moisturizer you use as well. A creamier formula is probably going to be a better bet than the lighter lotion you used during the summer. Look for a moisturizer that has glycerin, ceramides or shea butter. All of these are effective for remedying dry skin, and can provide you with a great deal of immediate comfort. Of course, some people still swear by petroleum jelly and mineral oil, tried-and-true products that have been around for decades. All of these moisturizing products can be used on any portion of the skin. However, you may find that you prefer to use certain products on some places as opposed to others. Petroleum jelly is an excellent moisturizer, but it isn’t necessarily cosmetically appealing when worn on the face. Another, less greasy product may be better for the delicate skin on your face.
3. See Your Dermatologist
If you have stubborn dry skin that just doesn’t seem to improve, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. After reviewing your symptoms and asking for a comprehensive medical history, he’ll provide a reliable diagnosis. He can also recommend a wide range of products and prescriptions that can soothe ashy skin on any part of your body. You’re bound to feel the relief that can only come with having your questions answered by a board-certified dermatologist, and you might be able to say goodbye to dry skin forever.
Don’t let ashy skin ruin your winter fun. Whether you plan to spend the colder months reading by the fire or hitting the slopes, following these three methods of managing dry skin can have you feeling more comfortable in no time. Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to learn more and to find out about an array of products that can help you cleanse without stripping water from your skin and moisturize for maximum effectiveness.