Beating the winter dry-skin blues

With the cooler weather, the heaters come out and we take more hot showers, E but this can dry out our skins. Joy Duffield investigates

Extremely dry and dehydrated skin is normal in the winter, but it brings on a plethora of skin problems like rashes, itching, redness, cracks or flaky skin. While all these problems make you uncomfortable, it can be treated easily at home.

Dry skin

Dryness is often evident in the winter months because of the cold, lack of humidity in the air and the use of heaters. The secret is to increase moisturising efforts. Moisturise the skin right after getting out of the bath or shower while the skin is still a little damp. Using a slightly thicker or heavier cream during the winter months also helps.

Making use of a humidifier in the home to replace moisture in the air is beneficial, especially when using a heater.

Don’t forget that keeping oneself hydrated and well-nourished will also reflect on the skin. The vitamins D, C and Fish oils are most beneficial for repairing the skin.

Dry skin and Eczema causes itchy, dry, and irritated skin. It’s most common on the elbows, knees, hands, and face. The best way to treat the irritated skin is to use a fragrance-free moisturiser and avoid bathing more than once per day.

If severe dryness is persistent, it is best to contact your doctor to check for any underlying conditions or to prescribe a cream.

Chapped lips

Nothing is worse than cracking, red, chapped lips. It is one of the biggest issues people complain about during the winter season. Lips have a very thin layer of skin and are the part of your face that dries out the quickest due to the dry winter air, wind and low humidity. Splitting and cracking can also occur in severe cases, which is painful, does not heal easily and can act as a breeding ground for infection.

It is a natural reaction, but avoid licking the lips as it just aggravates the problem. Lip balm applied twice daily can ease and heal chapped lips by adding moisture and extra hydration.

Many lip balms also contain healing medication that can cool and ease lip pain. It is not advisable to use Vaseline, which contains petroleum. Petroleum-based products generally do not moisturise, but only act as a barrier. Check ingredients on the balms.

General tips

  • Avoid fragrances touching the skin, this includes laundry detergents/softeners.
  • Protect your hands from cleaning products by wearing gloves and keep them well moisturised.
  • Use a gentle exfoliator once or twice a week to remove the dead skin cells.
  • Lastly, turn down the heat! A hot, steamy shower is a real treat, but the hot water can take the protective moisture out of the skin and leave it dry.

I, for one, cannot live without a heater, but we cannot avoid the fact that it does dry out the skin. Stay warm, well nourished and well moisturised.


contributor

Joy Duffield has been a C4-C5 quadriplegic since 2005. She is the owner of Beauty Academy International, an international training Institute for the beauty industry and a distributor of hair and beauty products in South Africa.

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