5 tips for shielding your skin from a dry winter

Nov. 24, 2014—Snowflakes. Hot chocolate. Holidays. There are many things to like about wintery days.

Itchy, dry skin is not one of them.

No wonder November has been designated Healthy Skin Month. The month before winter officially begins is a great time to start giving your skin the TLC it needs to get through the season.

Why does skin become dry in the winter? The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), gives some reasons:

  • Turning up the heat. That dries the air in your house, which in turn dries your skin. Dry skin is irritated skin.
  • Harsh winter winds. Wintry weather conditions can irritate your skin.
  • Wool and other warm fabrics. Rough fabrics, like wool, in your favorite mittens or blankets can just add to your skin’s irritation.

Winterize wisely

The AAD’s tips below can help you prevent—or relieve—the drying effects of winter:

  1. Moisturize. Choose an oil-based moisturizer. Ointments and creams are better choices than lotions. And the best time to moisturize is right after you’re done bathing.
  2. Say no to long, hot baths. Use warm water in the bath or shower. Excessive bathing can dry skin, so try to keep bathing time between 5 and 10 minutes.
  3. Be gentle. Avoid deodorant soaps and skin care products that contain fragrances or are alcohol-based. These can irritate dry, sensitive skin. Also, don’t scrub: Gently wash your skin. Softly pat yourself dry with a towel.
  4. Use a humidifier. For a large house, buy 2 or more. They don’t need to be expensive—they only need to add some indoor moisture.
  5. Wear sunscreen. The sun doesn’t disappear in winter. In fact, reflection from the snow can double the intensity of the sun’s rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher.

Get more tips to help your skin survive the winter and stay healthy from the AAD here.


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