Sure, all those people in advertisements frolicking in the snow and holding hot chocolate appear as though they’ve skipped winter dryness altogether, but you’re not one of them. You’re real. And if you suffer from dry skin in the winter, you’re certainly not alone.
Low humidity, indoor heating, and cold wind can cause dry skin, especially when combined with hot showers. The good news is that you don’t have to skip a hot shower just to stop dry skin.
You can keep your skin hydrated this winter by taking a few simple steps that won’t just prevent flakiness and tight skin but potentially provide anti-aging benefits as well.
Why Skin Hydration Is So Important
Skin hydration is vital to protecting your skin barrier and preventing skin irritation, accelerated aging, and breakouts that can happen with a compromised barrier. Research shows that in addition to protecting the skin barrier, keeping skin hydrated can:
- Result in smoother skin
- Deliver nutrients to the skin
- Help make wrinkles less noticeable
- Protect the skin against sun damage
- May have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin
As you can see, in addition to making skin look and feel better, keeping skin hydrated and moisturized may even enhance skin health.
5 Ways to Keep Your Skin Hydrated and Glowing All Winter Long
You can do these five easy steps at home. It can help you keep your skin hydrated and glowing all winter long: no professional treatments are needed.
1. Use a Humidifier
Low humidity has more of an effect on your skin than you might think. It can increase transepidermal water loss, affecting skin barrier function, elasticity, and texture. However, very high humidity isn’t great for the skin, so how can you find a balance?
In the winter, skin is generally drier because the humidity is low, and indoor heating can cause more water to evaporate from the skin. To create a happy medium, use a humidifier.
A ton of humidifiers are available, all of which will help put more water back into the air. To have the most impact, consider using a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep, which can help keep your skin hydrated so you wake up with a glow that your friends who don’t use a humidifier will envy.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
The verdict is in: drinking more water can help improve your skin quality by keeping skin hydrated, preventing transepidermal water loss (aka water loss from the skin), and even having the same impact as a topical moisturizer.
However, it’s easy to drink less in the winter because of colder temps and less activity, leaving you to feel less thirsty. That being said, it’s still important to drink plenty of water for both your body and your beautiful skin.
Everyone’s hydration needs are different. Depending on where you live, your level of activity, your body size and how much water you consume through your diet (think fruits and veggies, soups and smoothies), a good rule of thumb is to drink between nine and 13 cups—that means more than four two-cup glasses of water per day.
The good news is you can get water from your diet as well. So, if you’re eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, you won’t need to guzzle a ton of water every day.
3. Start Using Cream Instead of Lotion
Keeping your skin moisturized is important during any season, but more so in the winter. Moisturizer can help protect the skin barrier, potentially reduce visible signs of aging. And even it may reduce the risk of skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis.
There are many different kinds of moisturizers, including emollients, occlusives, and humectants, which include oils, hyaluronic acid, plant-based butters, and even waxes. Which one you use will depend on your specific skin type, but for many, using a cream instead of a lotion can best help prevent dry skin.
Creams are thicker and tend to contain more nutrients and less water than lotions. You can use a cream on your face as well as your body. For best results, apply your products as soon as you get out of the shower or bath, as this is when your skin will absorb them the best.
4. Consider a Body Oil
A body oil can help seal in moisture more than a lotion or cream alone. You can use separate oils for your face and body if you like. The best time to apply a body oil is after lotion or cream. However, you can also add a body oil to your body lotion or cream for added hydration benefits and a subtle glow all over.
The best oils to use include plant-based options such as coconut, sunflower, olive, jojoba, almond, and rosehip seed oil. These oils can potentially help prevent skin aging, protect the skin barrier and even accelerate wound healing.
Choose a body oil you love and will often use enough to have an effect.
5. Check Your Showerhead (And Water)
A harsh stream of hot water can quickly strip skin of its protective oils and dry out skin, leading to tight and itchy skin in the shower. Switching your showerhead to a gentler stream or spray of water and making it a little less hot. This can protect your skin and prevent it from drying out.
If you get cold easily, consider getting a heater for your bathroom. So, the area is already warm and you don’t need the water to be too hot to warm up after a day out in the cold.
Checking your water can also help you prevent dry skin. For example, hard water, which naturally contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium. This can dry out the skin more than soft water. You may be able to alter your water by adding salt or other minerals. It may help skin stay more hydrated and less damaged after warm showers or baths.
Find Out Your Skin Type in Just Minutes
Do you know YOUR skin type? Find out in just a few minutes. Knowing your skin type can help you choose the right products to prevent dry skin and keep your beautiful glow throughout the winter season!