How to Treat Dry Skin During the Winter Months

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No matter who you are, dry skin can potentially be a problem. It can produce skin tightness, redness, fine lines or cracks, and overall a texture that appears and feels rough as opposed to smooth. In advanced scenarios, fish net-like cracks can appear around the body resembling the fine fracture lines of cracked porcelain.

The winter months take a higher toll on one's dry skin care regimen. Indoor heating and the low environmental humidity are winter's main influences in causing dry skin. These produce a wearing down of the skin's natural moisture barrier and cause the outermost layer to dry and flake off. This barrier is found in the stratum corneum, or the outermost layer of the skin. This is the layer of the skin that peels off after a sunburn. This layer is our skin's last line of defense at keeping our natural body moisture from escaping into the air. The fresh look and feeling in our skin is derived from this moisture. Being this important, here are some tips to maintain that moisture and prevent dry skin in the most trying periods of the year.

Oil Based Moisturizers

The aforementioned skin layer, the stratum corneum, has natural protective skin oils that maintain moisture. Water and water based moisturizers used alone can remove these essential oils. The difference with oil based moisturizers is they trap and maintain them within the skin's outer layer. The moisture that is naturally locked in by the skin's own oils remains after using oil based moisturizers.

The Importance of Humidity

How could anyone disagree that indoor heating was a nothing but a great home addition for the cold, wintry months? What's unfortunate is when it blasts out its dry hot air it causes your skin to dry out. Poor household ventilation further disrupts the balanced distribution of moisture. To prevent your skin from drying out it is a worthy investment to buy several small humidifiers to be placed in the most occupied sections of the house.

The Right Shower Method

Everyone loves long hot baths. Unfortunately the heat from the water increases the loss of natural oils from the skin. Moisture is then lost as the result of your skin's lipid barriers being broken down. Here are some tips to avoid this. First keep it at showers as opposed to baths. The maximum time one should shower is a good ten minutes. Keep the water temperature at warm rather than hot. After exiting the shower pat yourself dry as opposed to rubbing in with the towel. Within 3 minutes of exiting the shower it is important to apply moisturizer to the needed areas. Before it can evaporate off this keeps the water in the skin.

Sunscreen for the Winter

Sunscreen is definitely not just a summer application. Both snow glare and the winter sun are known to damage skin. Thirty minutes before leaving for outside is a good time for its application, and frequently reapply if you are going to be outside for long periods of time.

Liberal Water Intake

To stay fully hydrated throughout the whole year is always a good idea. This is best practiced in the winter months. It is recommended to drink seven to eight glasses of water a day. Although it is does not help to go overboard with drinking water to avoid dry skin, this healthy minimum daily intake does keep your body's skin moisturized.

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