Dry winter skin is a common problem during colder weather.
Dry, flaky and eczema prone skin gets worse in winter due to lower humidity outside and moisture-draining central heating inside.
However there are several surprisingly simple do’s and dont’s to help minimise skin moisture loss during the harsh winter months and banish dry winter skin.
Do wash bedding at a higher temperature
Dust mites thrive in centrally heated environments, especially in sheets and bedding which is when your skin comes into most contact with them so during the winter months it helps to wash your bedding more often, like once a week and at a higher temperature, at least 60 degrees.
Don’t lick your lips
Chapped lips are a curse during the winter months and can lead to cold sores and patches of weakened eczema prone skin around the nose, mouth and chin area.
Licking your lips only makes the problem worse as this makes the moisture evaporate faster.
Coat lips twice daily in a basic petroleum, perfume and chemical free lip balm that seals in the moisture. Try Liquorice Balm, which is a lip balm that is free from all chemicals, perfumes and petroleum and actually helps guard against cold sores.
Do have baths
During the winter months having baths more often can help soften and hydrate very dry skin.
The most helpful thing for dry skin in bathwater is oats. Try Oat Soak, which is a natural bath soak made from colloidal oats, twice a week and soak skin for 30 minutes. This will help restore moisture and smoothness to very dry skin and will aide better sleep by reducing night itching and dryness.
Don’t fight germs
We have a tendency to use more antibacterial agents in winter to try and avoid getting germs from flus and colds.
For very dry and cracked winter hands try Mastic Care Hand Cream. This rich healing hand cream has no skin drying chemicals and contains a natural anti-bacterial agent from a tree resin called mastic gum that fights bacteria without drying the hands.
Do switch to soap
Most body washes and shower gels contain harsh chemicals that further dry the skin. Soaps tend to have a more natural base and remove less moisture from the surface of the skin. The more natural the soap the better.
Don’t let skin dry before moisturising
It normal to let skin dry off after showering before moisturising but during the winter you need to try and lock in as much moisture as possible so apply moisturisers when the skin is still damp.
Use moisturisers that do not contain chemicals and are not too heavy and sticky.
Do sleep in the cold
The best combination is an electric blanket with no central heating in the room so when you get into bed the bed is warm but the air in the room is not dry.
Don’t wear wool
Often the advice for dry or eczema prone skin is to wear natural fibres next to the skin. This is true of cotton and silk but in winter wearing natural wool next to the skin can actually make it worse as the course surface can irritated delicate, dry and weak skin.
Soften artificial fabrics like fleece and viscose are kinder on dry and sensitive skin.
Do shave your legs
It’s tempting to shave legs less often in winter as no one sees them. However shaving helps exfoliate skin, reduces chaffing from winter clothes and allows for easier penetration of body moisturisers.
Don’t wait until skin is dry to take action
Once the skin is dry it’s much harder to get the moisture back into it as the skin barrier is weakened and moisture escapes faster, making skin itch and flake.
Be aware of the fact that winter often dries skin more and start preparing and protecting skin in advance before the really cold weather arrives.
Begin to treat problems areas of dry skin, such as cheeks, behind ears and knees, in the cracks of elbows and on the hands with a moisturising and anti-itching skin treatment in advance of the colder weather, this way the skin will be less prone to damage once the colder weather arrives.
Try Defensil Rescue Serum that contains a natural vine extract proven to reduce itching and inflammation and lock in moisture on patches of skin you know are vulnerable to dryness.