Treating Dry Skin in Winter

Winter can be very hard on your skin. The air is dry and cold, and your skin gets chapped and dried by wind and household heat. For some people, dry skin can become quite problematic in winter, resulting in flakes, redness, or even eczema.

Here are some tips and ideas for helping heal your dry skin, and preventing it from getting too dry again.

Night Creams

Night creams are generally formulated with oil rather than water. This is important for wintertime moisturizing – water-based lotions may be fine for summer, but in the winter you need something oil-based that will seal in moisture, sources say. Night creams tend to be oil-based.

Not all oils are created equal, though, and not all parts of your body will respond well to certain oils. For your face, experts point out that non-comedogenic oils are best. Jojoba and sweet almond oils are said to be good for the face, as they most closely resemble your body’s natural oils. For dry hands and feet, castor oil-based creams can be very effective.

“Spa” Footies and Gloves

Many of us like to slather on the moisturizer at bedtime. But then it all ends up getting wiped off on the bedding. An effective solution is thin cotton mittens or gloves and footies. You can usually get these for very little at your local pharmacy, drug store, or health food store. You can also use cotton socks.

Apply moisturizer heavily to hands and feet (start with your feet), and then cover them with the socks and gloves. The socks and gloves will hold the moisture against your skin all night.

Moisturizing Make-Up

One of the keys to healing and preventing dry skin is to use moisturizer daily. But it can be easy to forget, so using a make-up with moisturizer is a good way to get your skin moisturized each day. Some of these moisturizing make-ups are lightly tinted, while others provide more opaque coverage.

Moisturize the Air

Wherever possible, get moisture into the air in the winter. It will also make the air feel warmer. Sources recommend using a humidifier in the wintertime. If this is not practical, take some other humidifying steps: leave the bathroom door open when you shower; hang your wet laundry up in the house; leave pots of water on heating vents or on wood-burning stoves (safety first, of course).

Minimize Soap

Speaking of showers, we often unknowingly exacerbate dry skin in the shower. Many people scrub themselves all over with soap each time they shower, but this is really not necessary and can even be harmful. Instead, use soap “where it counts” (under the arms, for example) only, and just go over the skin of the rest of your body with a soft washcloth and water. Use soap on your body maybe once a week, and make it a moisture-rich cleanser.

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