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How to Cure Dry Skin in Winter


How to Cure Dry Skin in Winter

For many people, the cold days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. Here are some useful tips to help you (and your skin) get through the cold, dry months of winter.

Avoid Water on Your Skin

It is natural to think that applying water alone to dry skin would help control the problem. However, water alone (especially hot water) can actually worsen the problem of dry skin by removing the normal, protective skin oils. Hot, soapy water depletes the natural skin oils to the greatest degree. However, water followed by the application of oil such as a moisturizer is of great benefit for dry skin. The oil in the moisturizer helps trap and seal water in the stratum corneum and makes the skin softer, smoother and less likely to become dry, cracked and itchy.

Bathing Techniques to Retain Moisture

You should take a short shower (no more than 10 minutes) only once in a 24 hour period. While longer baths or showers, especially in hot water, can be quite relaxing, they will also increase the loss of natural oils from the skin and worsen skin dryness. The bath or shower should be in warm rather than hot water. Use a mild, less drying soap and only use minimally.

After bathing or showering, quickly and gently pat the skin partially dry with a towel. Within three minutes of getting out of the water apply a moisturizer to seal the water in the skin before it can evaporate. Moisturizers should be reapplied liberally during the day and evening when possible especially to those areas prone to dryness and when itchy.

Be careful about using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and itch-suppressing creams or lotions. Many of these products contain chemicals that can irritate or cause allergic reactions in dry, dermatitic skin.

Increase Your Home’s Humidity

Any way that you can increase the humidity level in the air of your home and workplaces would be advisable. If not already present, you should consider adding a humidifier to the central heating system of your home. If you use a portable humidifier, make sure it is used in your bedroom at night.

Facial Moisturizers vs Body Moisturizers

There are basically two types of moisturizers – facial moisturizers and body moisturizers. Most facial moisturizers on the market relate largely to makeup and cosmetic concerns. Facial moisturizers are different than body moisturizers in that they are very carefully designed to avoid causing allergic reactions (hypoallergenic) and flares of acne on the face (noncomedogenic).

There are four basic classes of body moisturizers – ointments, oils, creams and lotions.

Ointment moisturizers have the greatest ability to trap moisture in the skin, but they have the greasy consistency and feel of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. People often shy away from using them because of the greasy feel, but this can be minimized by applying a small amount and rubbing it into the skin well.

Oil moisturizers are less greasy but still effective. It is preferable to apply oils after getting out of the tub or shower, just as you would other moisturizers, directly to damp skin immediately after a light toweling off to partially dry the skin.

Cream moisturizers are usually white and disappear when rubbed into the skin without leaving a greasy feel. As a result they tend to be more popular than ointments.

Lotion moisturizers are suspensions of oily chemicals in alcohol and water. Lotion moisturizers are generally the least greasy and the most pleasant to use and therefore are quite popular. However, because of their alcohol content, they can be somewhat drying when used repeatedly compared to ointments and creams. The bottom line is that if the moisturizer you choose does not feel at least a bit greasy you may not be getting as strong a moisturizer as you might need.


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