Fall's cooler temperatures are often a welcome relief, especially after months of long, hot days. But as you know, cooler temperatures can make your dry, sensitive skin worse. But have you ever wondered why? Knowing what’s physically happening when temperatures start to dip can help you prevent or minimize the impact cool air has on your skin.
Dry Air, Dry Skin
Cooler air has low ambient humidity, meaning there is less moisture in the air. Think of the air like a sponge. When a sponge is fully saturated, it stops absorbing additional water. But a dry sponge will suck up any moisture it comes in contact with. So like a dry sponge, the dry, cool air will pull moisture away from any exposed skin it comes in contact with.
These conditions can be problematic for dry sensitive skin. Just think back to when you last spent time outside on a chilly day. You may have noticed that your skin felt tight and uncomfortable the longer it was exposed to the cold, dry air. When you feel that dryness, you need to act because if left untreated, you are jeopardizing your skin’s health and your comfort.
The low ambient humidity in cooler air can cause dryness, but this is often compounded by personal biological factors such as age, genetics, and decreased production of natural skin oils that are intended to keep skin hydrated. When your skin loses hydration due to any of these factors, you can experience a variety of skin issues, including dryness, itchiness, irritation, and potentially even cracked skin. Without treatment the strength of the moisture barrier will worsen over time, making it harder to alleviate these symptoms. This is why proactively taking care of your skin at the first signs of dryness is so important.
As the temperature drops, here are some proactive steps you can take to minimize the loss of hydration from your skin this fall.
Create Conditions for Optimal Skin Hydration
Use a Therapeutic Moisturizer
Dry air takes moisture from your skin, but an effective moisturizer creates the conditions for your skin to retain hydration instead of losing it to the air. While you may already be using a moisturizer daily, is it the most effective moisturizer for your skin? Those with dry, sensitive should be using a therapeutic moisturizer, which helps to create an environment for the skin to repair itself. For more information on using an effective, therapeutic moisturizer, click here.
For maximum effectiveness, apply your moisturizer immediately following your shower, and for additional hydration reapply again before you go to bed.
Showering too often can reduce the hydration in the skin, causing irritation and dryness. If your skin is sensitive, it’s best to shower once per day to avoid irritation. While it can be tempting to take long, hot showers when it’s cold outside, it’s important to remember to shower with lukewarm water, as opposed to hot water. Hot water can disrupt your skin’s moisture barrier by stripping away natural, protective oils, potentially leading to dry, itchy and flaky skin.
Reduce or Eliminate Exfoliation
Many exfoliating tools like scrubs, loofahs, sponges and washcloths can scrub away the skin’s natural moisture, leading to dryness and irritation. In addition, exfoliating can cause tiny abrasions or micro-tears in the skin. If you’re already dealing with dryness, this can cause additional damage and discomfort. Consider taking a step back from exfoliation to prevent damaging your skin during cooler months.
Dont Wait to Take Care of Your Skin
When it comes to preventing and treating dry skin during cooler months, it’s important to take a more proactive approach. Far too often, people wait to feel that tightness from the cool air before suddenly adding lotion to their daily routine. But you can avoid playing catch up by simply taking a proactive approach to your skin care. Before temperatures begin falling, it’s best to get started using that moisturizer or lotion as soon as possible.
Following this advice will help keep your skin protected and hydrated. In the meantime, learn more about what exactly a moisturizer does for your skin by clicking here.