Most of us know the feeling – the temperature outside drops, humidity levels begin to lower, and our skin gets, well…uncomfortable. Dry skin and winter seem to go hand-in-hand. Add in the forced air heating that is so popular in the South, and you have a recipe for skin that feels like a desert!
But why is an HVAC company talking about this? Well, here’s an uncomfortable fact – the dust in your house includes a good deal of dead skin cells. Dry, flakey skin can actually contribute to more dust in your home, which in turn can lead to a lowering of air quality. Sure, the increase is likely to be small, but who wants to deal with any amount of extra dust?!
Invest in a Humidifier
Decreased humidity levels in your home are a major cause of dry skin issues. Unfortunately, forced air heating can decrease the amount of moisture in the air during the winter months, but you don’t have to make the choice between dry air and comfortable temperatures. Investing in a humidifier will help you to have the best of both worlds and keep your skin warm and hydrated.
There are many different types of humidifiers out there, including whole home models that are built right in to your HVAC system. Many of these models allow you to precisely control the humidity level of your entire home via the thermostat or a separate control panel. For those not looking for a whole home humidifier, there are plenty of portable units that can humidify whole rooms or maybe just personal space, depending on your individual needs.
Keep your skin moisturized from the inside out by drinking plenty of water when the temperature starts to drop. Many of us tend to drink more water when it’s warm outside, but as humidity levels fall our skin desperately needs the extra moisture. So have water on hand and try to remember to drink it throughout the day on a regular basis.
Moisturizer is Your Friend
Lotions and creams are a great way not only to moisturize, but to help you create a barrier against harsh winter conditions as well. However, some moisturizers are better than others when it comes to serious hydration, so it is definitely a good idea to check labels. Oil-based moisturizers are your best bet – look for ingredients that include plant-based oils. For serious protection, take a hint from grandma and use a little Vaseline on extra dry areas – the formula creates a barrier between your skin and the air, keeping moisture close and helping to heal any cracks.
When you apply moisturizer can also have an effect on how well it works. Right after a bath or shower is the best time to use lotions or creams, as they help to keep the moisture from the shower close to your skin.
Avoid Hot Water
When the temperature drops, there’s nothing better than stepping into a hot shower! Unfortunately, we have some bad news…that hot water tends to strip away your skin’s natural moisture. While those hot showers are comfortable at the time, they tend to lead to dry skin after the fact. So keep the water lukewarm if you can, with hot showers as an occasional treat.
Lay Off the Soap
Now, we’re definitely not saying that you should stop using cleansers altogether, but soaps that lather also strip away moisture. There are plenty of products out on the market that are advertised as being moisturizing while they cleanse, and the ones with higher amounts of moisturizer tend to produce less lather. So skip the bubbles once winter hits in order to leave your skin feeling clean and hydrated.
Keep Lip Balm Handy
Your skin isn’t the only thing that tends to get dry during the winter – don’t forget about your lips. Having a lip balm on hand will help protect against dry air, and the cracking and peeling that sometimes goes along with it. And thanks to the small size of most lip balms, you can keep them everywhere – your car, your office, your pockets…you’ll never have to fear dry lips again!
If it gets really cold outside, you will definitely want to start using gloves. Our hands are often the first area to experience dryness, as we use them all the time and tend to expose them to the elements. Gloves will help to retain some moisture and protect from that dry air outside.
Don’t Forget Your Feet
Another area especially prone to dryness? Your feet! Don’t forget to give them a good moisturizing on a daily basis to prevent heel cracking. A product like Vaseline can even be used at night with a pair of socks – apply the Vaseline, put on the socks, and go to bed. You’ll wake up with hydrated feet that feel amazing.
Step Away From The Special Treatments
If you are someone who tends to use a lot of exfoliants or treatments including Retinol, it may be time to back off on the special products. Many treatments have a tendency to dry the skin out a bit while working, and in winter this definitely won’t do your skin any favors. If you are using products prescribed by a dermatologist, ask what you can do to keep your skin comfortable during the winter months.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Tight, scratchy sweaters aren’t going to leave your skin feeling comfortable. Whenever possible, stick to clothing that is looser, breathes a little, and feels good against your skin. This usually means choosing natural fibers, and shying away from synthetics like acrylic in sweaters.