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Why Is Your Skin so Dry During Winter (And What to Do About It)?

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If you're living in a colder climate, you've probably faced one of the most annoying issues: dry skin. No matter what cream you use, what lip balm you apply or how much water you drink – nothing seems to work. Your lips are still chapped and skin feels like sandpaper.

And if you naturally tend to have drier skin, winter spells out a serious skincare nightmare.

Why is your skin especially dry during winter?

There's only one culprit behind your skin's dryness: humidity.

During winter months, humidity levels drop significantly, resulting in much drier air. Yes, despite all of that rain, snow, and slush that's covering the streets, it's actually drier in winter than it is during summertime.

But what makes things worse is the fact that we turn up our heat in our homes by using radiators and heaters which dry our home's environment too. The result: very low humidity in both outdoors and indoors.

Due to this dryness, our skin's outer “shield” starts drying, revealing our top layers and that's how the horrible cycle of itchy dry skin begins.

How to get rid of dry skin during winter?

Dry air can be annoying and often, a very difficult problem to face, but luckily, there are plenty of things you can do. Sure, winter months require a bit more hassle but if you want to avoid the ugly redness and itchy skin, nothing is too hard.

Here are some top suggestions to try out if you're looking to fix your dry skin for good.

1. Get a humidifier

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This is a no-brainer.

Due to heating, your home will inevitably become drier which is not a bad thing at all, considering that dry environment can't become a home to nasty mold.

But dry air will be your skin's worst enemy, drying you up like a plum.

A humidifier is a must for every home during winter. Experts advise putting it in your bedroom where you most likely spend the most time. In addition to keeping your skin healthy, you'll probably wake up a lot fresher too!

2. Keep your showering short

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Yes, we know – long warm baths and showers are something most of us look forward to the whole day. But during wintertime, this is a huge no-no.

Spending too much time under the water, especially hot one, removes moisturizing oils from your skin, leaving you even drier than before. Experts recommend taking no more than 10 minutes for showering and keeping the water warm, not hot. Some even say it would be wise to keep your showers no longer than 5 minutes and use only lukewarm water.

And when talking about showering, keep your distance from soap too. It doesn't mean you should skip washing your hands but try to keep it minimal and only use fragrance-free soaps that treat your skin a bit more softly. The same applies to all kinds of household products – avoid contact with these as much as possible and always use rubber gloves if you aren't already.

To avoid excessive dryness, just keep in mind this simple rule: 5-minute showers + lukewarm water + neutral soaps. Plus, you'll do the environment a favor if you use less water!

3. Moisturize like there's no tomorrow

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Even if your daily skincare routine already includes a moisturizer, most experts agree that during winter months, you really need to vamp up the moisturizer use. Switch to a heavier day cream and look for lotions with ingredients like:

  • hyaluronic acid
  • ceramides
  • shea butter
  • lactic acid
  • petroleum jelly

As a general rule: the thicker the cream, the better. This way your skin will get a nice protective layer that will hydrate your skin and avoid your natural moisture escaping.

By the way, you should apply quite a nice load of cream both in the morning and in the evening.

What about diet?

You might have heard how you can ensure better skin with a healthy diet.

Partially, that's very true, especially when it comes to excessive sugars and fats. It's no secret that treating yourself with nutritious food will help your body from the inside out.

But when it comes to winter dryness, unfortunately, your diet has little effect. The best way for dealing with dry skin is to apply products to it and keep your environment humid, but eating correctly won't really remove the dryness from your skin. The dryness is completely related to the humidity.

What if humidifier and great creams aren't doing the trick?

Sometimes, dry skin might not be caused by the regular winter dryness.

If your skin doesn't seem to get better and it's red, irritated and itchy, it's quite possible you're suffering from some skin conditions (like atopic dermatitis which very commonly gets worse during winter).

In cases like that, it's best to contact a dermatologist to figure out the root cause and get treatment. Don't wait until things get worse – the sooner you get relief, the better you'll feel!

But if you just notice your skin drying up during colder months, it's very possible the problem lies in humidity.

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