Winter can be great! Warm scarves, hot chocolate, and Christmas music are just a few cold weather perks! Like any season, however, winter comes with beauty challenges.
Perhaps the most common is that dry winter air can hurt our skin! We’ve all experienced dry hands, itchy legs, and red noses from using tissues during a cold. If you’re dealing with dry skin, there are things you can do to take care of your skin before it causes too much damage!
Things that Cause Dry Skin
Dry winter weather is one of the biggest causes of dry skin, but it’s not the only one! Swimming, sun burns, dish washing, and skin conditions are just a few other things that can dry our your hands, face, and body. If you already do these things often, or are naturally prone to dry skin, you might experience even more discomfort during colder months. Taking precautions to limit your skin’s contact with things that dry it out (ex. dish soap, chlorine, etc) can be helpful, but you might find that more care is needed.
Using Lotions and Moisturizers
Moisturizing your skin is one of the best ways to both soothe and prevent dryness. It is important, however, to know which products are most effective for which areas of the body! Anyone who’s seen the skin care aisle in a pharmacy knows that finding the right product can be difficult, but there are some key differences between products that are important to keep in mind!
Lotions are usually meant for use on your general body area, rather than your face. If you’re experiencing itchy legs, flakey elbows, or dry hands, lotions can be a good remedy. If you find that you have sensitive skin, many reputable companies offer lotions that are unscented or designed to be gentle. While lotions are great for your body, they’re not recommended for your face. Lotions are thicker and usually oilier than facial products, so applying them to your face can cause breakouts or increased oiliness.
Most moisturizers will state that they’re designed for the sensitive skin on your face, rather than the tougher skin on the rest of your body. Moisturizers are usually gentler and less oily, allowing them to soothe the dryness around your nose without causing an oily shine elsewhere!
Body butters are often designer lotions, rather than something meant to prevent chronic dry skin.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t be useful. If you don’t have sensitive skin, scented body butters might appeal to you!
They are thick and concentrated, and are often applied once a day, rather than ‘as needed’ like lotions. If all you need is a bit of nice-smelling, protective moisture, rather than an actual repairing treatment for very dry skin, body butters might work!
While some people worry about using products that are oil-free or very light, others have more lost moisture that they need to make up for. Using a thicker cold cream before bed, as opposed to a light, gentle moisturizer that might not be quite strong enough, can re-hydrate your skin more thoroughly.
If you have tried many products to soothe or cure your dry skin but nothing has worked, it might be worth consulting a doctor. It’s possible that a prescription cream is the safest option for your skin, in order to avoid irritating it even more!
Working with your skin type
Just like creams and lotions, skin comes in all different types! Working with your skin type can be the key to finding the product that will cure your dryness.
If you often have a shine around yours nose or forehead, you might have oily skin. Oily skin doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t experience dryness in the winter! To get the best results from a facial moisturizer, choose one that is ‘oil free’. This way, you can apply as needed to soothe your dry areas, without irritating your oily patches and causing breakouts.
Some people’s skin is just more prone to dryness than others. If this is the case, a little oil might not be a bad thing. While you don’t want to choose a cheap moisturizer that leaves a film on your skin, buying ‘oil free’ products might not be necessary. Your skin needs that increased hydration!
People with combination skin might experience something like oiliness on their forehead, but dryness around their nose or elsewhere on their body. While there are lotions that are marketed specifically for combination skin, some people might choose to buy different products for different areas. Working with combination skin can take some trial and error to find what works best for you. Remember to listen to your skin and keep an eye on how it reacts to the products you use.
Particularly for people with sensitive skin, using natural, organic skin products to soothe dryness can be helpful. Some people prefer not to use mass-produced lotions from pharmacies and will opt for homemade moisturizers from local markets or organic lifestyle stores instead. In some places, these can be a little more expensive, but if your skin doesn’t react well to mainstream brands, the cost might be worth the benefit of trying something with natural ingredients.
Some people like to make their own natural skin cleansers and moisturizers with household items like honey and coconut oil. The Internet is a gold mine of beauty bloggers with advice on how to make your own face creams and soothe dryness with things from your kitchen. If you’re very careful, you might find a natural recipe beneficial, but remember that you should always test a small patch of your skin first to make sure that you aren’t allergic to anything in the mixture.
Things to avoid
As with any beauty tactic, there are things to avoid do when taking care of your dry skin. Watch out for these bad habits in order to avoid making the problem worse!
- Over-hydrating: When your skin is very dry and itchy, it’s tempting to smother it in lotion every second of the day. Like most things, however, moderation in moisturizing is key. While you do want to hyrdrate often in the dryness of winter, avoid using so much lotion that your skin becomes dependent on it. If you over-moisturize, you can experience breakouts or interfere with your skin’s ability to produce it’s own naturally hydrating oils.
- Too many products: Don’t feel pressured by advertising to use every product under the sun! Switching products too often or using too many kinds at once can actually cause dry skin to react badly and get itchier than before! Give a product some time to take effect and stay consistent when you find one that works well!
- Risky ingredients: Whether your lotion is from a pharmacy, an organic store, or something you made yourself, be aware of what ingredients you’re putting on your skin. Keep track of things you’ve had reactions to in the past and educate yourself on what kinds of things are safe for use in homemade moisturizers before you make and use them.