How to Keep Your Skin Healthy Throughout the Winter

The colder months are here and that means dry, chapped skin. Winter’s bone-chilling temperatures, harsh winds and indoor heating can wreak havoc on your skin.

But you don’t have to put up with dry, itchy skin for the next three months or so. There are many steps you can take to keep your skin healthy during the winter months.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends these tips:

Winter can be a harsh season on your skin, with cold weather, dry air and the sun’s ultraviolet rays to contend with. But you can protect your skin with a little effort.

The following tips will help you keep your skin healthy through the winter:

* Moisturize your skin frequently. A rich moisturizer, applied two or three times a day, is crucial in keeping your skin moist throughout the winter months.

* Avoid hot water. Water that’s too hot can strip away the natural oil and moisture from your skin. Use warm water instead, and avoid long showers or baths.

* Apply sunscreen when you go outside. Sunscreen can protect against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which even in winter can cause sunburn and increase premature aging of the skin.

* Protect your hands by wearing gloves. The thin skin on the hands is easily damaged by dry air and cold weather, so wearing gloves whenever possible will help keep them protected from the elements.

* Avoid alcohol-based cosmetics. Alcohol tends to dry out your skin, so avoid products containing alcohol. Such products include astringents and some lotions, so read labels carefully before purchasing items for use during the winter months.

Dry Weather, Dry Skin: Winter Skin Care Tips

Winter is a harsh time for your skin.

The air outside may be dry and cold, but indoor heating can be worse. Many people turn up the heat in their homes during the winter months. As a result, the air inside can become very dry, which can lead to dry, flaky skin.

This is called actinic keratosis (AK), and it’s exacerbated by UV rays from sunlight or tanning beds. AKs are most common on sun-exposed areas: the face, ears, bald scalp, lips, neck, forearms and back of hands. But they also can appear on other areas of the body that receive sun exposure.

To help prevent AKs and keep your skin healthy this winter:

With the weather starting to get colder and dryer, it is time to start thinking about skin care. Many people suffer from dry skin in the winter due to reduced humidity in the air and harsh winds. However, there are many ways you can fight off dry skin this season.

Drink Plenty of Water: Dehydration can lead to dry skin since the body will try to retain water. Drinking water will keep your body hydrated, which helps prevent dry skin.

Use a Humidifier: Humidifiers add moisture to the air that may be lost from heaters or cold weather outside. You may want to use a humidifier in your bedroom at night as well as another room during the day for optimal results.

Use Moisturizers: The best types of moisturizers for dry skin are oil-based moisturizers such as petroleum jelly or mineral oil. Creams and lotions that contain lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin or phospholipids also work well on dry skin.

Take Cool Showers: Hot showers may feel great in the winter but they can leave your skin feeling itchy and irritated after you get out of the shower. It is best

If you live in a cold or dry climate, you are probably familiar with the dry, flaky skin that comes with winter. There are several things you can do to help prevent dry skin and help keep your skin healthy.

Avoid long, hot showers or baths. Long exposure to hot water removes the natural oils from your skin and dries it out further. Use warm water instead of hot, and try to limit your exposure time.

Use a humidifier in your home, especially in the bedrooms where you sleep at night. These devices put moisture back into the air and help keep your skin from drying out.

Moisturize daily, particularly after bathing or showering when the pores of your skin are open. Use creams or lotions; not gels or alcohol-based products which can make dry skin worse. Look for products containing lactic acid (such as AmLactin), urea (such as Carmol), salicylic acid (such as Stri-Dex), lanolin, mineral oil or petroleum jelly which help prevent moisture loss. Some moisturizers also contain topical corticosteroids which can reduce inflammation caused by extremely dry skin.

Protect your hands when performing outdoor chores such as shoveling snow or raking leaves. Wear

The cold and dry winter weather can be hard on your skin. It zaps moisture, leaving your skin feeling dry and tight. To help prevent what dermatologists call “winter itch,” follow these tips from dermatologist Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.:

Use a humidifier indoors

If you use a furnace or space heater, it can dry out the air inside your home. You can add moisture to the air by using a humidifier. If you have central heat in your home, use a humidifier with a central heating system that’s equipped with a humidistat to control humidity levels in the house. If you don’t have central heat, use an ultrasonic humidifier that has built-in settings to maintain optimum relative humidity levels.

Keep baths and showers short and warm — not hot

Long, hot showers or baths may feel good but they rob your skin of its natural oils. Limit yourself to one 5- to 10-minute bath or shower daily and avoid scrubbing your skin while bathing. Use warm — not hot — water. Don’t soak in the bath longer than 15 minutes.

Use mild soap or soap-free cleanser

Soaps can strip the oils away from your skin

Although actinic keratosis is a common skin condition, it can be difficult to diagnose. Typically, an actinic keratosis develops slowly and is often asymptomatic.

Actinic keratosis affects fair-skinned individuals most often. It is seen in both sexes and all races. The average age of onset is 50 years old, but it may develop in younger individuals who have received significant sun exposure.

An actinic keratosis is usually less than 0.5 cm in diameter and has the appearance of a rough, scaly or crusted lesion on the sun-exposed areas of the face, arms and back of hands. These lesions are usually yellow-brown to red in colour; however, they can also be pink, tan or the same colour as the surrounding skin.

The texture of an actinic keratosis may resemble a “dry patch” or a “crusty bump.” Early actinic keratoses have a dry and rough feel whereas more advanced ones have a wart-like surface.

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