As the temperatures outside drop, you may notice your skin feeling dryer now than it does in the summer months. Cold weather, low humidity levels, and increased use of indoor heating all contribute to dry skin, which is especially common in the winter. Dry skin can be itchy and uncomfortable, but there are steps you can take to prevent it and give your skin a little extra TLC this winter.

It’s important to adjust your skin regimen to fit the seasons. If you find that your skin feels dry in the winter, opt for a thicker moisturizer free of alcohol and added fragrances, as these ingredients can irritate or further dry out your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm rather than hot water. Long, hot showers strip your skin of natural oils. The best time to moisturize is right after you get out of the shower. Exfoliating no more than twice a week can help alleviate dry, flaky skin without contributing to further irritation.

Although you may not spend as much time outside during the winter, there are still steps you can take to protect your skin and prevent skin damage. Use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 daily, and reapply every 2 hours if you are going to be outside. This is especially important in the snow, which can amplify the sun’s rays and increase potential damage. Be sure to wear protective clothing, like gloves, scarves, and hats to shield your skin from the wind and cold.

Staying hydrated is important year-round, but many of us tend to drink less water during the winter. Water helps to regulate your body temperature, and is essential for keeping your cells, tissues, and organs healthy. Increasing water intake during the winter is good for both your skin and your overall health. Check out our tips below for staying hydrated this winter.

Winter Hydration Tips:

  • Hot beverages count! – Don’t feel like staying hydrated with ice water in the cold? Try herbal teas, soups, or hot water with lemon. Just make sure to limit caffeine and sodium in your beverage of choice, as these can contribute to dehydration.
  • Carry a water bottle – Keep a thermos of hot water or tea with you so that you can stay warm and hydrated all day long.
  • Use a humidifier – Adding moisture to the air can help keep you hydrated and prevent dry skin.

Sources: Mayo Clinic. WebMD. Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.