Dry skin, clinically known as xerosis, is a common skin condition that can be caused due to various reasons. In some cases, it can be a sign of an underlying disease such as scleroderma. In such cases, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist to manage and prevent complications caused due to dry skin.
However, in most cases, it is caused due to changes in the environment such as a drop in the temperature and humidity level, which removes moisture from the skin. This makes the skin more prone to dryness and can also lead to itchy, flaky skin with cracks and bleeding. Using a moisturizer and making a few lifestyle changes is all you need to repair dry skin. If these tips fail to show any improvement, you should consult a doctor.
Tips To Manage Dry Skin In Winter
Dry skin may not always be due to changes in weather or use of harsh, chemical-laden products. So if you have a sudden onset of dry and itchy skin or if you are suffering from dry skin for a long time, do consult a doctor. Dry skin can be a sign of an underlying skin condition that can range from vitamin deficiencies and dehydration to diabetes and hypothyroidism. So getting in touch with a dermatologist can help you to know the exact cause of dry skin and get treated accordingly.
For people with dry skin, following the same skin care regimen all round the year may seem less effective when the temperature drops. Hence, it is important to make a few changes in your skin care routine during winters for a healthy skin. The American Academy of Dermatologists lists a few simple tips to deal with dry skin.
1. Limit Your Shower Time
Most people are well aware of the fact that taking hot water baths during winters might rip off moisture from the skin, making the skin to become dry. Hence, it is advised that people with dry skin must use warm water instead of hot water or cold water to take care of the skin. Also, one should limit their shower time to not more than 10 minutes as taking showers for a long time can also cause the skin to become dry.
Do avoid scrubbing the skin too much during winters as it can increase the risk of ripping off the moisture along with dead skin cells, making you more vulnerable to dry skin. Also, when you are done with bathing, do not rub your skin with a towel but gently, dab your skin dry with a towel.
2. Apply moisturizer immediately after taking a shower
It goes without saying that applying a moisturizer is a must during winters, especially for those with dry skin. A moisturizer works by trapping off the existing moisture in your skin. For a moisturizer to work, you need to apply it within a few minutes after taking a bath or after washing your face, hands, and legs. It is advised to use ointments or creams as they are more effective and less irritating than lotions. Make it a habit to apply moisturiser after bathing and before going to bed every day, especially during winters, to beat the harsh weather and keep your skin smooth and soft.
3. Use unscented skincare products
Some skincare products tend to be too harsh on the skin, especially for those with dry and sensitive skin. Hence, avoid using soaps which are scented and products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). These products usually remove the natural oils present in the skin, thus, worsening the skin condition.
4. Wear gloves
The hands are the first part of the body which get affected and are noticed. Wearing gloves can help you to manage dry skin on the hands. Ensure you wear gloves before you go out in winters, especially at night. Also, if you have to handle any scented products or use chemicals use gloves to keep your hands safe and prevent being excessively dried. It is wise to invest in thick and soft gloves made of cotton as they cause less irritation on the skin and are quite well tolerated by people of all ages right from children to elders.
Also, use of socks especially when travelling and during night time is advised for people who are more prone to dry and itchy skin and hence, are at high risk of suffering from cracked heels.
5. Stay warm
Last but not the least tip to manage dry skin is to stay warm, whether you stay indoors or outdoors. However, sitting in front of a fireplace or a heat source to beat winter chills is not a good idea. This is because cozying up to a fireplace can dry your skin and make it worse. Also, opt for layers and cotton clothes to stay warm. It is wise to wear cotton fabrics under your woolen clothing as woolens can irritate the skin.