Beat that winter skin with some clever interventions. Dry skin is usually not a serious health problem, but it’s quite irritating and if left untreated may lead to chronic eczema (red patches).
Unfortunately, in winter dry skin is usually a given because the skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. That’s because humidity is low both outdoors and indoors, and the water content of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) tends to reflect the level of humidity around it.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to relieve winter dry skin.
A chemical peel
First up is a light chemical peel. Nothing beats a peel in sloughing off dead skin cells and giving your skin a refreshed glow. In addition, a chemical peel treats: wrinkles and fine lines; sun damage; acne scars; hyperpigmentation; scars; melasma, as well as uneven skin tone or redness.
Water loss accelerates when you cleanse or scrub too much. So to counteract the drying effects of indoor heat, make sure that you use a good moisturiser. The latter will rehydrate the epidermis and seal in the moisture.
A good moisturiser contains four all-important ingredients. And these are: humectants, which help attract moisture, glycerine, hyaluronic acid and lecithin.
Another set of ingredients — petrolatum (petroleum jelly), silicone, lanolin, and mineral oil — helps seal that moisture within the skin. Emollients, such as linoleic and lauric acids, smooth skin by filling in the spaces between skin cells.
Generally, the thicker and greasier a moisturiser, the more effective it will be. Least expensive among the moisturisers are petroleum jelly and moisturising oils (such as mineral oil), which prevent water loss without clogging pores. Importantly, these are best used while the skin is still damp from washing or showering.
Skin ageing and dryness
Unfortunately, dry skin becomes much more common with the passage of time. This is also ascribed to the cumulative effect of sun exposure. Sun damage results in thinner skin that doesn’t retain moisture. In addition, the postmenopausal drop in hormones that stimulate oil and sweat glands is also to blame.
Use a humidifier in winter to replenish the top layer of the epidermis.
Limit yourself to 5-minute showers or baths and use lukewarm water rather than hot water.
Importantly, use soap-free cleansers and steer clear of perfumed soaps and alcohol products, which can strip away natural oils.
You’re now set to beat that winter skin!