The skin, the largest organ of the body, must be hydrated as well as possible in the cold season because it can dry out, crack and even flake, causing itching or pain. It is important to protect it with the right products, to wear the appropriate clothing and not to forget an increased hydration of the air for your home and body.
Why the skin becomes dryer during the winter
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, dry skin is a common problem in winter, and this dryness can lead to a duller appearance compared to the rest of the year. When the temperature and humidity level are decreasing, the skin must make a greater effort to stay hydrated. Then, the drier the air, the more moisture is extracted from the skin, causing a loss of hydration and increasing the chances of experiencing dryness in the epidermis, cracks, inflammation and even flaking. Dry skin produces less sebum, its natural lubricant, so it acquires a stiff texture. In addition, the heated indoor air contributes to low humidity and water evaporation from the skin. Last but not least, hot showers and baths destroy the skin's protective barrier, also causing dryness.
Tips for taking care of your skin in the cold season
- maintain a proper degree of humidity in your home - use a room humidifier and do not forget to hydrate well; even if you do not feel thirsty, it is advisable to drink an extra glass or two of water every day.
- use delicate cosmetics - starting with cleansers, continuing with the soap you wash your hands with and ending with the shower gel, opt for products that help moisturize the skin. For creams and body lotions seek to contain among the ingredients ceramides and glycerin. It is helpful to have a hand cream (useful when you go out), as well as a lip balm.
- give up exfoliation - people with extremely dry skin should not resort to the exfoliation procedure at all. For those with normal skin, a less often exfoliation is indicated due to the fact that the skin barrier is already compromised because of the cold and dry air.
- avoid hot baths and showers - hot showers and lack of hydration in the winter months can create cracks in the epidermis. The hot water evaporates quickly, and if the skin is not immediately hydrated, the cracks in it allow the exposure of the nerve endings to the air, causing the sensation of itching and constriction. Use ceramide products as well as hyaluronic acid products after washing, and if you can't give up hot showers, try to reduce their duration.
- do not go out with damp skin and protect your skin from the cold - many people go out immediately after washing their hands or body, but this habit can cause additional skin aggression. When you go outside, protect your nose, fingers and toes. Cover your extremities with gloves, scarf, socks, hat and wear appropriate footwear.
- use a product that provides intense hydration - instead of a lotion, many specialists recommend using a cream or an ointment, which provides an increased level of hydration, due to the thicker texture they have. Also, avoid fragrant products, as they can further aggress and dry the skin. Keep in mind, however, that thicker products are suitable for the body, not the face, as they can clog the pores. For the face, the aim is to buy a product based on ceramides, as well as a derivative of vitamin B, nicotinamide, but it must be found on the label that it is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores)
- wear appropriate, comfortable clothing that does not irritate the skin - many materials for cold weather can irritate the skin. Avoid wool or rough textures touching your skin directly, as they can cause further irritation and itching.
- eat a proper diet and stay hydrated - when your skin is extremely dry, it can be helpful to eat foods or dietary supplements with omega 3 or omega 6 fatty acids, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil.
- don't forget to apply a sunscreen product - in addition to the moisturizer product, don't forget to apply such a product, just like in the summer time. The sun can fool you in the winter, and the reflection of UV rays in the snow increases your exposure to their effects (up to 80%, according to the US Skin Cancer Foundation). Look for sunscreen products that contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide
Finally, a problem that can only occur in winter, but which requires emergency medical consultation is the frostbite; if you postpone going to the doctor you can get permanent injuries. Frostbite frequently occurs on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin; it is characterized by a red and extremely cold appearance of the skin, which subsequently numbs, becomes hard and loses its pallor. Burning and pain may occur. Heating the affected area and then re-exposing it to cold air can make the situation worse. Instead, it is advisable to gently warm the region until it becomes slightly red and warm. Apply sterile compresses or a towel to protect it and go to a doctor as soon as possible.