Winter can be a harsh season for your skin, especially if you have dry skin. The cold, dry air outside and the heat inside can strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving it feeling parched and uncomfortable. If left untreated, dry skin can lead to more serious skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. To keep your skin healthy and hydrated during the winter months, it’s important to take a few extra steps to care for it. Here are some tips for taking care of dry skin in the winter:

Use a humidifier

This time of year, we have the furnace running nonstop, which dries our indoor air. The dry air inside your home can be just as harmful to your skin as the dry air outside. A humidifier will help add moisture back into your home, which can help keep your skin from drying out and becoming itchy.

Take shorter showers

It seems like getting your skin wet will hydrate it, but that’s not true, especially with hot water. Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, so it’s important to keep your showers short and warm, rather than hot. Avoid using harsh soaps and scrubs, which can further dry out your skin. Instead, opt for a gentle, moisturizing cleanser. For more shower tips, check out this article from the American Association of Dermatology

Exfoliate regularly

Dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it looking dull and dry. Use a gentle exfoliator a few times a week to remove dead skin cells and reveal smoother, healthier-looking skin.

Moisturize immediately after showering

After you shower, pat your skin dry and apply a moisturizer while your skin is still damp. This will help to seal in the moisture and keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. Read the ingredients list on your products; The Mayo Clinic recommends healing ingredients such as urea, ceramides, fatty acids and glycerol (also known as glycerin), shea butter, and cocoa butter. 

Use a heavier moisturizer

During the winter months, you may need to switch to a thicker, heavier moisturizer to provide extra hydration for your skin. Look for a product that is oil-based rather than water-based, as oil is more effective at sealing in moisture.

Don’t forget your hands and feet

It’s easy to forget about your hands and feet when you’re focused on taking care of your facial skin, but they need love and attention too. Use a thick, creamy moisturizer on your hands and feet, and consider using a foot soak or foot mask to keep your feet hydrated.

Protect your skin from the cold

When you’re outside in the cold, make sure to protect your skin from the elements. Wear a scarf or a hat to cover your face, and consider using a face cream with SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is important for healthy skin year-round, but it’s especially important during the winter months when the air is dry. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.

Pay attention to your diet

Drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are high in healthy fats can help to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Some good choices include avocados, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon. You should also avoid consuming too much caffeine and alcohol, as these can dehydrate the skin.

Use a hydrating facial mask

In addition to using a humidifier and a heavier moisturizer, you can also give your skin a boost of hydration with a humidifying facial mask. Look for a product that contains hyaluronic acid, which is known for its ability to hold onto water and keep your skin hydrated.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your dry skin feeling comfortable and hydrated throughout the winter. Remember, it’s important to be consistent with your skincare routine and to pay attention to your skin’s needs. If you notice that your skin is still feeling dry and uncomfortable despite your best efforts, it may be time to see a dermatologist for additional treatment options.