Whether you’re already covered in a snowy winter wonderland or you’re still enjoying the fall foliage, we all have one thing in common this time of year: the moisture has been sucked out of the air and we’re all feeling like walking human deserts. If you find yourself reaching for lip balm at all hours of the day and your skin won’t stop itching, you know what I’m talking about.
I might not be a magical weather fairy who can put hydration back in the air. I do, however, hate discomfort in all of its forms, so I’ve done some heavy-duty research into the many ways to soothe dry skin. These are the tips I live by throughout the winter.
Cool Down the Showers
I know, I know. When it’s cold outside and you wake up in a chilly bedroom, a hot shower is a great way to warm up for the day. Unfortunately, this isn’t doing your skin any favors.
Hot water has a way of sucking all the moisture out of your skin, and once that moisture is gone, it’s hard to get back.
I’m not saying you should bathe in ice cubes but aim for more of a lukewarm temperature. If you want to fight off the chill in the air, you could warm up your towel when you’re in the shower instead, using a towel warmer or a heating pad. That way, you’ll get to wrap yourself in warmth without making your skin drier than it already is.
Another bonus tip: keep your showers brief. The longer you’re under the water, the more of your natural hydration it will pull out of your skin. You can even go the extra mile in the shower by swapping your normal soap for a hydrating body wash, too.
Quench Your Thirst
Most of the time, when people want to improve their skin, they focus on products to put on the skin. Too many of us overlook the obvious: the fact that what we put into our bodies makes a difference, too.
If you really want hydrated, healthy skin, you need to nourish it from the inside and the outside. That means following the advice every doctor has given to every patient since the beginning of time: drink more water.
Mind Your Body
Most people who are at least somewhat skin-conscious are already using a moisturizing cream on their face every day. That’s a great start, but during the winter, every inch of skin counts.
Find a body moisturizer you love and use it every day. Keeping dry skin at bay is just as much about prevention than it is about repairing the skin, so keep up that routine to keep your skin comfortable all year round.
That isn’t all, though. If you struggle with itchiness from your dry skin, sometimes the flaky dead skin cells on top of your skin will make it worse. To keep that at bay, get into the habit of exfoliating your body, too, with a body scrub or another similar product.
Cut Back on Other Irritants
Your skin is a lot like your patience. It can handle one irritating factor, or maybe two. But when you have several problems all piling on at once, it’s too much for it to take.
There isn’t much you can do about dry winter air, so try to remove as many other straws as possible from that camel’s back. That means stepping away from makeup, lotions, perfumes, and other products with a lot of fragrances or other irritants.
Opt for natural, fragrance-free products for sensitive skin instead. When you want to wear perfume, try spraying a bit onto your clothing instead of spraying it directly onto your skin.
Repair the Air
Winter air outside is dry. There isn’t much you can do about that. Inside your home, though, you have more control.
The most obvious step you can take is to get a humidifier for your home. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if you choose small, economical humidifiers that can only handle one room at a time, make sure you have enough of them.
The other way to keep more moisture in your air is a bit less enticing. As much as we all love our heaters, it can make your air even drier than it already is.
Rather than cranking up the heat, keep it at a more modest temperature like 68 or 70 instead of 72 or 74. Rely on your favorite cozy blankets, socks, and sweaters to keep you warm.
Comfortable Skin All Winter Long
As joyous and cheery as the holiday season is, it certainly has its downsides, and one of them is dry skin from the winter air.
Fortunately, I've found some ways to dull the suffering, and the tips above can help you enjoy this winter without the bummer of dry, itchy skin.