How to Combat Dry Skin This Winter

In winter, the cooler temperature, lower levels of moisture in the air, and indoor heating can really dry out our skin. Dry skin can become itchy, flaky, red, and irritated. How can you prevent dry skin in the winter?

1) Make sure showers aren’t too hot and keep them to 5-10 minutes. Pat the skin dry and apply moisturizer immediately after showering. The epidermis, or skin barrier, can become compromised letting the good stuff out and the bad stuff in. La Roche Posay Lipikar AP+M Triple Repair Moisturizing Cream has ceramides, lipids, and glycerin to soothe dry skin.

2) Drink plenty of water. Aim to drink between half an ounce to one ounce of water for every pound you weigh daily. Eat foods rich in fatty acids such as salmon and consider taking supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6. Element’s pick: Pure Encapsulations EPA/DHA Essentials.

3) Change up your facial skin care depending on the season. You may need to swap out your summer cleanser for a more gentle one such as Cerave Hydrating Cleanser. If you want to gently remove dead skin, use a hydrating exfoliating wash containing glycolic acid such as Skinceuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser once or twice a week. At Element, we also switch from a light moisturizer in the summer to Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar, which contains dimethicone (moisturizes and smooths skin), squalane and lipids (strengthens the skin and helps the skin retain moisture), peptides (antiaging), arnica (calming), and carotenoids (antioxidants). Continue to use SPF year round. 

4) Use a humidifier to introduce water back into the air. Dry skin can result in cracks that let moisture out of the skin. Chapped lips, brittle hair, and itchy skin can all improve with humidifier use. Make sure to use distilled water and clean the humidifier properly to avoid overgrowth of bacteria, fungi, yeast, and mold.  Choose a cool mist humidifier which is safer for children and pets. While pricey, Element loves the Dyson Purifier and Humidify + Cool Autoreact because it filters pollutants while adding moisture to the air. 

5) Protect skin from the elements (not the Elements, see what we did there?) The Element crew carries tiny pots of Cerave Healing Ointment wherever we go and slather it on lips and hands. Cover your hands, head, and ears. Consider breaking out a balaclava when temps dip super low. Merry at Element loves the one from 66 North that she picked up in Iceland!

If dry skin is not improving with these remedies, see a dermatologist to rule out eczema, which may require prescription medications.

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