Whilst we can't do much about the weather or the daylight, we can take steps to help protect our skin. And although many of us take a bit too much sun over the summer and fail to adequately protect against its harmful rays, this doesn’t mean it's too late to treat your skin in preparation for the winter ahead.
Why does skin dry in winter?
For many the cold winter weather means little more than rosy red cheeks, but for some the winter months are characterised by uncomfortably dry skin on the face, feet and hands. In extreme cases the skin starts to crack and flake and some may even develop symptoms of eczema. The drying out process starts as soon as the heating is turned on. Irrespective of whether your home is headed by electricity, oil or gas the skin can become dry very quickly. Extreme temperature differences between outside and inside also have a detrimental effect on the skin.
Here are some tips to prevent your skin from drying out:
* If you want to avoid your skin drying then you should remove wet gloves and socks as soon as possible when you get inside as these can result in cracking and itching.
* It may seem strange but you should consider wearing sunscreen on sunny winter days. Winter sun, together with glare from snow, can cause damage your skin.
* The hands have fewer oil glands and thinner skin that most of the body and tend to dry out more quickly. Protect them from the cold by wearing gloves.
* Humidifiers are great for counteracting the drying effect of central heating. Spaced throughout the home, they help to evenly add moisture to the air.
Using a good moisturiser is essential to prevent your skin from drying out. You may find that a moisturiser that works well in spring and summer doesn't necessarily stop the drying out process in the winter months.
There is an alternative however - oil-based 'ointment' moisturisers are more effective than water-based ones in the winter, as the oil creates a protective layer on the skin and prevents precious moisture escaping to the atmosphere. Ensure that any oil-based product you choose is suitable for use on the face and doesn't clog your pores.
It is vital to maintain hydration, not only for skin health, but also for feeling generally good and alert, so ensure that you drink enough water regularly throughout the day. It is also important to maintain fresh fruit and vegetable intake in the winter months. Make sure that baths are not too
hot and avoid harsh peels, particularly if you have dry skin.
If your skin feels dry after a bath or shower, apply a good moisturising cream afterwards. People with very troublesome skin should consider E45 cream which is excellent and available at most chemists.