The chill, the dryness, the itch: As temperatures drop, winter can wreak havoc on your skin. Fortunately, you can fight winter's wrath by taking a few smart, proactive steps.
Winter skin woes are common, with 83 percent of Americans saying their skin feels differently during the winter than it does the rest of the year, according to a recent survey conducted online among 2,000 U.S. adults by Harris Poll on behalf of CeraVe. More specifically, 77 percent say their skin feels dry in winter and 41 percent even describe it as itchy.
"Winter weather can affect all skin types," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein. "Even though people are aware that their skin is dry, they often unknowingly make mistakes that can cause their skin to feel worse. Being mindful of how you're treating your skin and adapting your skincare routine are two essential ways to help ease the skin discomforts that often come with the season."
To help fight dry and itchy skin brought on by winter, Dr. Marchbein suggests five simple skincare tips:
1. Stay warm, not hot
Everyone loves a long, hot shower in the winter. In fact, the survey found 50 percent of people take more hot showers during the winter. Unfortunately, hot water strips the skin of natural moisture that keeps it healthy, hydrated and protected. Take a short, lukewarm shower instead to avoid irritating the skin. Find that warm comfort by cozying up in a blanket afterward instead.
2. Fix the winter itch
That winter itch is most commonly caused by severely dry skin, so be sure to moisturize daily with products that contain ceramides to maintain hydration and fight dryness. Ceramides are naturally found in skin but can be regularly disrupted by factors like the environment and daily activities, leading to dry skin. Keep a tub of a ceramide-rich cream in your bathroom to slather on while your skin is still wet after showering to really seal in moisture and help restore the skin's protective barrier. For added moisture and protection, use an ointment like CeraVe Healing Ointment, which contains ceramides and helps to heal dry, chapped skin, and immediately slip on socks, gloves and comfortable clothes to help it soak in.
3. Dress smart
When you're heading outside, be sure to bundle up! Always wear gear that protects your skin from the elements, like hats, scarves and gloves. Additionally, while winter makes us more inclined to bundle up in cozy sweaters, avoid any materials that may irritate your skin. If you feel itchy under your favorite wool sweater, wear a breathable shirt underneath or consider swapping it for a different material, like fleece or cashmere.
4. Maximize moisture
The colder winter air pulls moisture from the skin leaving it dry, itchy and lackluster, and heading indoors isn't helping. The rising thermostat in your house causes dry air that sucks hydration from your skin. Use a humidifier to add moisture back into the air in main spaces, like your bedroom. You should also be sure to adapt your skincare routine for the winter just like you would your wardrobe. Swap your light creams out for richer products that will add the extra moisturization needed during the winter and be sure to use them twice daily.
5. Drink up
However, adding moisture back into the air isn't the only way to hydrate yourself. You should also be moisturizing yourself from the inside out by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water has a wide array of health benefits and the quality of your skin is one of them — especially during the winter months when we tend to lose moisture more often. Warm tea is another great way to get hydrated while comforting yourself during the colder months.
"Winter doesn't have to mean dry, itchy and uncomfortable skin," says Marchbein. "A few proactive steps and adjustments to your daily routine can help ease some of those winter worries so you can enjoy all the fun the season has to offer."