Winter Skincare For Dry Skin

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During the winter, dry skin can be a problem requiring greater attention to care of the skin. If skin gets very dry people can experience what is called "winter itch." Winter itch may be triggered by the harshness of the cold winter air, low air humidity or other health conditions and occurs in people of all ages.

If your skin is dry, the dry patches may appear scaly, rough, flaky or show visible small cracks and skincare will be of great significance to you. You may need to adjust your skincare routine at winter time to reduce the impact of the change in weather.

A more medical name for dry skin is "xerosis" or "asteatosis". Some individuals suffer from genetic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis. (Ichthyosis is characterised by scale-like skin.) Hormonal imbalances can also cause severe skin dryness and other problems. For people with dry skin resulting from medical issues it is best to discuss your options with your doctor.

Skin is a very complex organ and has many layers that each serve a different function.

The stratum corneum is the top layer of skin that prevents evaporation of the lower level of skin from drying out. This layer is shed during sunburn or other shedding processes.

The stratum corneum combines natural oils with the body's skin cells. Exposure to harsh chemicals, harsh soaps or cleansers, or exposure to hot water, is very drying to this layer of skin. Moisturisers play an important role in caring for the skin and helping to keep it pliable and smooth.

Individuals who are having problems with dry skin should only take one shower per day, for no more than 10 minutes, and the temperature should be moderate. The soap you choose should also contain a considerable amount of moisturiser in order to replenish the oils stripped from the body by the water.

Milder soaps should be used to further promote oil retention. Some of the more popular products include:

Aveeno Cleansing Bar
Oil of Olay Sensitive Skin Soap

Individuals who are suffering from eczema or other skin conditions should apply any creams recommended by their doctor after showering, though re-application at different times of the day may also be necessary. Cortisone treatments, if required, should always be applied to skin before the moisturiser.

Another great skincare tip is to increase the humidity levels in the home or workplace, and also to use natural oils to support the skin.

Although ingredients such as, petroleum, mineral oil, ceramides, linolic acid, dimethicone, or glycerin are common emollients found in lotions for dry skin, they are not equally soothing. Look for products that contain aloe vera, almond oil, vitamin E and zinc.

The paw-paw cream by Lucas is also a real favourite amongst Australian women as it has powerful healing properties. Camomile-based Camoderm is also a great little product to keep in the bathroom cabinet (good for babies, too).

You could also try adding a little oil to your bath water, while skin-friendly pH neutral products such as Sebamed, QV and Cetaphil are highly recommended for sensitive skin.

Some more common cream moisturisers to try include:

Eucerin Cream

It's not a complete list - most of the major brands offer a good daily moisturiser. You'll need to try a few before you find one that works best for you.

Moisturisers should be applied three times daily. Non-comedogenic moisturisers should be used on the face in order to avoid problems with acne or "white heads". It's also a good idea to carry a moisturising lip balm (with SPF) with you at all times - that winter wind can do some damage, fast!

Sunscreen is also helpful for protecting dry skin, and has moisturising benefits as well. Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen should be used year round. Sunscreens should block both UVA and UVB rays.

In Australia, UVB radiation worsens in the winter, making a sunscreen essential at this time of year to slow ageing and prevent skin cancer. Don't be fooled by a cloudy day, either: even when it is cloudy, sunscreens should be used, and when skiing, sunscreen on face and lips will help limit damage caused by sunlight reflecting off snow, which intensifies the damaging UVA / UVB rays.

Chelsi Woolz takes pride in her appearance and favours a natural skincare and beauty regime. She loves to share information about beauty products that she discovers when researching her freelance stories.

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