January 20, 2022

Winter skin TLC

Get comfortable in your skin this winter. 

So, a couple of us were standing around the office printer–because, who trusts the water cooler in the COVID era? –when somebody started talking about their skin. 

It’s so dry!

My legs look like lizard skin.

Trust me, no one wants to kiss these lips.

I looked down at my chalky hands and shoved ‘em in my pockets.

Winter skin. It hits everyone to some degree. It’s itchy, sometimes painful, rough to the touch and a little unsightly. 

Here’s why. 

Because water molecules slow down in cold air… Just kidding. Suffice it to say, cold air outside is drier. So is the air inside your home when you run your furnace. The double dry-air whammy inside or outside your home results in skin that needs a little extra TLC.

Here’s what to do (or not to do).  
  1. Lotion up after washing up. Adding to the dry air dilemma is the fact that washing your skin strips away oils that naturally protect it from drying out. We’re not getting into the endorsement game, so if you don’t have a go-to brand yet, get googling. 
  2. Break out the heavy-duty moisturizers before bed. Sometimes they’re called emollients, ointments or creams. They’re richer and heavier and consequently take longer to absorb into your skin–which is why you want to use them overnight. 
  3. Pump up the humidity in your home. A humidifier can replace the moisture that heating your home depletes. The peeps at Harvard Health Publishing recommend setting it at 60% to effectively replace the moisture in the outermost layer of your skin.
  4. Hydrate from the inside out. You know what adds moisture to your body, right? Drink more water. 
  5. Go for next-to-skin comfort. Fabrics like wool are winter wardrobe staples–and they can feel like staples on dry, itchy skin. Don’t skip the wool, just consider a softer base layer underneath. 
  6. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Sure days are colder and shorter, but UV rays still pack a harmful punch in winter, exacerbating the season’ wear and tear on your skin.  
  7. Axe the exfoliating and scrubbing. Or at least tone it down. During winter, it can be a fine line between achieving smooth, vibrant skin and ending up red, raw or irritated.  
  8. Don’t scratch that itch. Easier said than done but scratching generally makes the itch worse. Keeping your skin moisturized treats the underlying cause. 
What to do if none of the above work.

See your doctor or dermatologist. There could be an underlying condition that won’t be cleared up with at-home remedies.

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