The coldest months of the year are here, and, unfortunately, so is itchy, dry winter-weary skin. But you don’t have to suffer until summer. Here are key ways to soothe dry skin this winter:
• Bathe sensibly: Long, hot showers and baths may feel good on a cold winter day, but nothing dries out the skin faster. Experts advise to keep winter baths and showers to 10 minutes, use lukewarm water, pat dry and moisturize when skin is slightly damp. Best bet: Avoid baths altogether (sorry, this includes hot tubs especially) and stick to brief showers.
• Moisturize: Keeping skin moisturized is key to warding off and treating the discomfort of dry skin. Look for a multi-purpose natural product such as Merino’s Everyday Balm (also known as The Crack Blaster), which hydrates, softens and protects dry skin. (Make sure to use it on your lips and fingertips, too.) A non-greasy blend of lanolin, sweet almond oil and beeswax, it also softens cuticles and helps soothe painful cracks in fingers, elbows and heels due to dry weather, eczema, psoriasis and diabetes. A 1.76-ounce container of Merino’s Everyday Balm is available at select retailers and online at http://www.merinousa.com for $19.95.
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• Hydrate: Both your body and your home need moisture when the weather turns cold. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep skin cells functioning well and skin looking healthy. Invest in a humidifier for your home and keep it running to put moisture back in the air and into your skin. While you’re at it — turn down the heat, which dries out the skin. Instead, warm up by putting another blanket on the bed or adding a sweater to your outfit.
• Pamper and protect: ’Tis the season for vigilant skincare. It addition to hydrating and moisturizing, make sure to use sunscreen daily on all exposed areas of skin (including lip balm with SPF), even on cloudy days. UV rays are just as damaging in the winter. When planning your health and beauty routine, pay special attention to hands and feet: Wear gloves while washing dishes. Avoid harsh soaps and detergents. Treat yourself to overnight moisturizing treatments.
Dedication to a good skin care regimen will take you a long way toward relieving dry winter skin. But if the home treatments are ineffective, it may be time to see a dermatologist. Psoriasis or eczema can grow worse in the winter, and need attention.
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