As we all know from living in Maine, the cold and exceptionally dry air of winter can wreak havoc on your skin. Winter skin is frequently dry, scaly, and itchy with increased tendency to crack and become irritated.
While the outside environment has bad effects, the indoor conditions are not much better for the skin. Heating systems decrease moisture in the ambient air, and therefore decrease moisture in your skin.
There are several everyday tips to fight the causes of your dry winter skin. All of these ideas have been proven effective in clinical studies:
- Humidify Your Environment - A room humidifier is a very good investment for the excessively dry Maine home. This simple device will increase the moisture levels in the air, and therefore reduce the amount that will be withdrawn from your skin. While a whole home humidifier that works with your heating system is best, that option is not practical for most Maine homes. At the very least, use a room humidifier in your bedroom at night, as that is the room in which we all generally spend the most time.
- Hydrate Your Body From Within - Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, is one of the best to improve skin hydration from the inside. However, it does take a large amount of free water intake to make a significant difference on the skin. Studies have shown that low water intake people can positively improve their dry skin by drinking more water, but it does require drinking more than 2 liters per day.
- Limit the Hot Showers - While a hot shower seems like a great idea on a cold day, hot soapy water removes natural oils from your skin that help to form a barrier to moisture loss. Limit showers to 5-10 minutes and when you towel off at the end, pat yourself dry. Dabbing the skin, rather than the usual rubbing motion, helps the skin retain moisture.
- Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize! - While these first few tips involved getting more moisture in the environment and within your body, this tip involves preventing water from leaving your skin. Moisturizers provide a layer over the surface of your skin that limits the sapping of water from your skin by the local humidity winter weather. Generally, thicker and creamier moisturizers are better in the winter.
- Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen, Even in Winter - The winter sun can still cause damage to skin and aggravate photoaging effects that cause wrinkles, age spots, and broken blood vessels. Many sunscreens also contain moisturizers such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid, so you can proverbially kill two birds with one stone.
We at Maine Laser Skin Care hope these five tips will help you protect your skin from the drying and irritating effects of our glorious winter weather. We New Englanders love the four seasons, but we have to deal with the consequences that these changing environments have on our skin.