7 tips to bat­tle dry skin dur­ing win­ter

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Health Lifestyle -

Wrap up against the cold

Colder, drier air dur­ing the win­ter months means the wa­ter in your skin evap­o­rates faster. Sci­en­tists have es­ti­mated that your skin loses more than 25 per cent of its abil­ity to hold mois­ture in win­ter, mak­ing it feel drier and tighter. You can re­duce this by shield­ing your skin with pro­tec­tive cloth­ing such as gloves and scarves while out­doors.

Use a hu­mid­i­fier

Spend­ing more time in­doors with the heat­ing on also dries out your skin. Run­ning a hu­mid­i­fier in the most com­monly used liv­ing ar­eas in your home can help re­plen­ish mois­ture in the air that has been sucked out by the dry in­door heat. Set­ting a hu­mid­i­fier to about 60 per cent is thought to be suf­fi­cient to help re­plen­ish the skin’s oily sur­face lay­ers.

Avoid overly hot show­ers

Pip­ing hot show­ers may be tempt­ing, but the higher tem­per­a­tures dry out skin by strip­ping away its sur­face oils: keep­ing the wa­ter luke­warm is ac­tu­ally much health­ier. Try to limit show­ers to no more than 10 min­utes and avoid us­ing bath sponges or scrub­bing brushes that can dam­age and ir­ri­tate the skin. When tow­elling dry, pat the skin rather than rub­bing vig­or­ously.

Mois­turise

Reg­u­lar mois­tur­is­ing is the most ef­fec­tive way of tack­ling dry skin, but some prod­ucts are bet­ter than oth­ers. Look for mois­tur­is­ing Your skin dries faster in win­ter. creams con­tain­ing lac­tic acid or am­mo­nium lac­tate as these in­gre­di­ents help seal mois­ture within your skin. The best mo­ment to ap­ply mois­turiser is within three to five min­utes of show­er­ing, while your skin is still damp.

Swap your soap

One of the most com­mon causes of dry skin is harsh soaps, par­tic­u­larly those that prom­ise lots of ex­fo­li­a­tion. Soap is an emul­si­fier, mean­ing it strips away the mois­ture within your skin. Def­i­nitely avoid de­odor­ant or per­fumed soaps or soaps that con­tain al­co­hol – in­stead, try soap-free cleans­ing prod­ucts such as Ce­taphil or Aquanil, which con­tain added mois­turiser.

Avoid woollen cloth­ing

Scratchy fi­bres such as wool can ag­gra­vate dry, sen­si­tive skin, caus­ing it to be­come itchy. If you are prone to dry skin, you may be bet­ter off stick­ing to softer, smoother fab­rics that al­low your skin to breathe, such as cot­ton.

Stay hy­drated We tend not to be as thirsty dur­ing the win­ter, com­pared with the hot sum­mer months, but your body ac­tu­ally loses wa­ter through the skin all year round, es­pe­cially when you spend most of the day in a warm in­door en­vi­ron­ment. This makes it easy to be­come de­hy­drated with­out re­al­is­ing, which can con­trib­ute to dry skin. Drink reg­u­larly even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid caf­feinated drinks, which will de­hy­drate you even more.

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