Ah,winter. The season of togetherness, cozy nights by the fireside, fun holiday festivities - and dry, itchy skin. Flakiness, red spots, and lingering itchiness can all put a damper on your holiday spirit. Here’s how to help soothe the winter itch and get soft, glowing skin in time for your favorite holiday.
The chilly weather has most of us hiding out indoors during the winter time. But that dry heat can do a number on your skin - especially the sensitive skin on your face. Even those hot showers or baths you take to shake the chill can strip your skin of its moisture, leaving it tight, dry, and itchy. And as for those snowy nighttime strolls you’ve been taking to admire your neighbors’ Christmas lights? Well, the icy winter air can be just as disturbing to your
skin as the heat.
Skin sensitivities like eczema are also often much worse in the winter time. Why? Exposure to the dry indoor heat and frigid air outside combined with
personal habits like bathing too often in hot water all can strip your skin of its natural oils, or ceramides. Ceramides are the building blocks of your skin’s protective barrier, helping to lock in moisture and keep out external aggressors. When ceramides are lost, that protective barrier can become weak, leaving your skin feeling tight, dry, and sensitive.
Itchy skin is the least-wonderful part of the season. So how do you soothe that winter itch?
How to Face Itchy Skin with Soothing Smarts
1. Hydrate both inside and out. Skin craves moisture to keep it soft, smooth, and feeling healthy. Invest in a humidifier to boost the moisture level inside your home and give your skin a fighting chance.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin from the inside out. It’s easy to over-indulge during the holidays on caffeine and
alcohol, but too much coffee or red wine can easily lead to dehydration and parched, sensitive skin.
2. Watch your diet. Your skin’s protective barrier is made up of essential fatty acids like omega 3s. Eating plenty of omega 3-rich foods like walnuts, flax seeds, and cold water fish like salmon and tuna will help ensure your skin has the building blocks it needs for a strong moisture barrier, helping to keep itchy skin at bay.
3. Turn down the heat. Nothing warms you up on a cold winter night like a long hot bath, but your itchy, sensitive skin won’t thank you for it. Hot water can strip skin of its natural oils, and could perpetuate symptoms of dry skin. Shorter, lukewarm baths and showers can help your skin retain its protective oils, keeping it soft, smooth, and hydrated.
4. Choose your cleansers wisely. Dry, flaky skin needs gentle exfoliation, but harsh soaps and cleansers could do way more harm than good. Try a mild, gentle scrub with lactic, glycolic, or salicylic acid. But if your skin is extra dry or raw, just use a washcloth to very gently buff away dead skin cells.
Watch out for cleansers containing harsh or drying ingredients and choose a gentle, moisturizing facial cleanser formulated to wash without stripping your skin.
5. Protect and moisturize. The outside air might be chilly, but the sun’s rays can be just as damaging in the winter as they are in the warmer months. And if there’s snow on the ground, harmful UV rays will reflect off that powdery white, intensifying its damaging effects. Choose a daytime moisturizer with at least 15 SPF to protect the delicate skin of your face from a winter burn.
At night, use a thick, deeply hydrating cream to help repair dryness and protect your skin.
And finally – enjoy the festive season!