LOOKING AFTER YOUR SKIN THIS WINTER
Protecting your skin this winter
Winter can often play havoc on our skin. We can find our skin dry and damaged due to the cold and dampness outside but also irritated from the hot air from indoor heating. Unfortunately, dry and damaged skin can be painful as it becomes flaky and can sometimes crack. Looking after your skin during the winter months is no easy task and can be especially difficult if you already struggle with a pre-existing skin condition. So, what can you do to look after your skin this winter? Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to look after your skin during the winter months.
It is likely you have already experienced the effects of dry skin this year due to the extra washing and use of sanitiser due to COVID-19. There are some easy ways to look to improve the condition of your skin, especially with increased washing and disinfecting, including applying hand cream or ointment after you wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.
Skin conditions that are likely to flare up in the winter
Dryness occurs when the skin doesn’t retain enough moisture. During the winter months, humidity tends to be low both outdoors and indoors meaning the water content of the epidermis (outermost layer of the skin) reflects the humidity levels around it, leading to dry and damaged skin.
This especially impacts individuals with certain skin conditions such as Eczema and Rosacea.
Eczema is a skin condition, often causing red and inflamed skin. Symptoms of eczema can include unbearable itching, dry and scaly patches on the skin, small, raised bumps on the skin, cracking skin and sensitive skin. Unfortunately, flare-ups are particularly common in the winter due to the air being drier than the summer months as the skin is already prone to dryness.
Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that causes small, red bumps on the skin, particularly the nose, cheeks and forehead. The causes of rosacea are unknown; however, the cold weather is known to often cause flare-ups. Another symptom of rosacea is dry skin.
COVID-19: dry skin from increased washing
Though not necessarily a skin condition, it is something that many of us have suffered with since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect ourselves and others around us, we wash our hands more than ever and use hand sanitiser whenever it is available. However, frequent handwashing can also lead to dry and cracked skin.
Tips for better skin in winter
Cut down on long hot baths and showers
Though a piping hot bath seems very tempting during the winter months, heat removes the skins natural oils and moistures, often leaving it extremely dry. During winter it is recommended to reduce the time spent in the bath or shower to a maximum of 10-15 minutes or to use warm water instead.
After a bath or shower, pat your skin dry so it retains some of the dampness and moisturise while the skin is still wet. This will help trap moisture and prevent dry skin.
Using a natural moisturiser regularly is one of the most effective ways to seal moisture and prevent water loss. As mentioned previously, moisturising immediately after a shower or bath is a great way to avoid dryness. Another great point to remember is that the oiler and thicker the moisturiser, the more effective it is at locking in moisture.
This is particularly relevant when washing your hands or using hand sanitiser. Moisturising your hands after washing or sanitising could really help prevent them from drying out!
Use a humidifier at home or in the office
The drop in humidity during the winter can also lead to your skin drying out. This also goes for having the heating on all day. Using a humidifier in your home or office to keep the humidity levels at an ideal temperature can save your skin from dryness and cracking. And remember to change the water inside the humidifier at least every 3 days.
Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will help moisturise your skin naturally. The low humidity strips your skin of moisture so it’s important that you drink water regularly throughout the day to help hydrate the body and in turn, the skin.
Get advice from a dermatologist
When it comes to our health it’s never a bad idea to get an expert's opinion. Checking in with a dermatologist during the winter months could be a great first step in combatting dry skin and other skin conditions that are known to flare up in winter.
At the Doctors Clinic Group, we have a team of highly qualified dermatologists to provide expert opinions on a wide range of skin conditions including those more prominent in winter. If you have any concerns related to your skin, get in touch with our dermatologist consultants today.