As the dark nights begin to set in and temperatures drop, you may notice that your skin begins to feel dry and itchy. Many refer to this as the “Winter Itch” – a condition caused by reduced moisture in the air.
When it gets colder, humidity levels decrease and, in turn, moisture is stripped from the air. As moisture in the air lessens, so too does the oil on the skin’s outermost layer (the epidermis). This typically results in dry and tight skin.
If you think your skincare routine requires an uplift during the colder months, we have the remedy. To see the key markers of winter skin, take a look through our handy infographic above. For more information, read below for the most effective ways to banish winter dryness.
If, like many, you regularly make the transition from hot water to a cold atmosphere, you could be irritating your skin. Fluctuating temperatures can cause the skin’s natural oils to deplete, causing and a dry and cracked appearance, and can increase the symptoms of conditions such as Rosacea.
The most effective way to reduce dryness after showering is to turn the heat down. This way, skin is not exposed to fluctuating temperatures, and moisture is locked in for longer.
Extra showering tips:
Moisturising is essential to keeping skin looking healthy during colder months, especially when you are exposed to fluctuating temperatures. Aside from bathing, we recommend using a hand moisturiser after washing hands, and a facial moisturiser after cleansing the face.
Skin also dries up when there is a sharp contrast in indoor and outdoor temperatures. To offset dry and itching skin during autumn and winter, try moisturising all exposed parts of the body before spending time outdoors; this includes the face, arms, and feet. Lip balm is also essential during the colder months.
Many daytime moisturisers are water or petroleum-based, which are usually too thin to tackle the effects of harsh winds and biting temperatures. Instead, try oil-based moisturisers, as they are hard-wearing and naturally rebalance the skin’s moisture levels.
A good tip is to look out for moisturiser ingredients like ceramide, glycerine, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid and lecithin; all of these form part of the humectant family, a cosmetic substance designed to retain the skin’s moisture.
During the colder months, it is easy to turn to hot drinks to keep warm. However, many hot drinks are full of hidden toxins which dehydrate the body. Drinks high in caffeine, for instance, energise the body by increasing blood flow to the kidneys. However, a side effect of increased blood flow is that it inhibits the absorption of sodium, a mineral the body requires to stay hydrated.
To offset dry and flaky skin, make sure you are consuming plenty of water and reducing your consumption of drinks which have diuretic and inflammatory properties, such as coffee, tea and hot cocoa.
If you have questions regarding effective skin care, you can book a free consultation with one of our specialists today.
This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Justine Hextall, a prominent Consultant Dermatologist with expertise in skincare, non-surgical treatments, laser hair removal, skin cancer and line & wrinkle treatments. She has been a skin care specialist for over five years and is chair of the Skin Network Site Specific Group (NSSG) division in Sussex. For more information about her work, browse Justine’s profile on the Harley Medical website.