DRY SKIN IN WINTER MONTHS

By Dr. Dinko Kaliterna In Blog Posted 5.2.2019.

Finding the right facial skin care routine may present a real challenge, even in the best
of circumstances. However, during winter months, when the temperature and moisture
levels drop, keeping your skin hydrated gets even harder. If you dedicate more time to
finding the adequate products, you may avoid unwanted itching, cracked skin,
dehydration and redness.
Face care has to suit your skin type, and it is much different than your skin care routine
in the summer. Areas such as hands and legs are most often affected by dry skin.
Environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, have a strong impact on
the volume of water retained within the skin. For example, when the cold and dry air, is
heated in the stove, it will cause dry skin by the evaporation of humidity on the skin.
Frequent washing and disinfection of hands cause evaporation and dryness. Dry skin
can also be a side effect of some medication, as well as a side effect of certain skin
diseases.

Causes of dry skin

There is no single cause of dry skin. We can divide causes of dry skin into internal
causes and external causes. External factors are the most common underlying cause
and are the easiest to solve. External factors include cold temperatures and low
humidity, especially during the winter when central heaters are used. Internal factors
include the overall health, age, genetics, family history and personal history of other
medical conditions such as the atopic dermatitis. In particular those with certain thyroid
diseases are more prone to developing dry skin
.

External factors that cause dry skin include:

• over-washing with hard soaps
• overuse of sanitizers and lipid solvents (alcohol)
• cold temperature
• low humidity

Even though we add water to skin by bathing and showering, it is the evaporation of this
water after the completion that results in dry skin. Also, skin that feels too tight after
bathing may indicate excess removal of water and natural skin oils.

One of the most common factors causing dry skin is frequent use of harsh soaps. The
type of soap can have a great impact on dry skin. Soap is an emulsifier that removes
oils on the skin. The more the skin is scrubbed with soap, the more oil is removed,
which ultimately results in dry skin.

Dry skin may become worse if using moisturizers improperly or choosing an
inadequate moisturizer. Sometimes the material of different clothing can also affect
dry skin. Some of the materials, such as wool or synthetic fibers tend to irritate and
worsen dry skin.

Internal causes of dry skin

Internal factors include the overall health, age, genetics, family history and personal
history of other medical conditions such as the atopic dermatitis. In particular those
with certain thyroid diseases are more prone to developing dry skin
Dry skin may also be caused by taking certain medication. For example, high blood
pressure, high cholesterol, allergies and acne treatments. Sometimes the dry skin
can be a sign of internal health. For example, ageing can inherently make people prone
to dry skin. Furthermore, eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, hypothyroidism and
malnutrition are all linked with dry skin.

Dry skin prevention

To prevent skin from drying out, try do decrease the bathing frequency and avoid strong
soaps. Reducing the exposure to detergents may also help improve dry skin. Harsh
cleansers may remove natural oils and sebum from the skin. By limiting exposure to
solvents and wool clothing can you can prevent the dry skin condition from worsening.

• Avoid strong soaps and detergents.
• Use indoor room humidifiers.
• Avoid wool clothing.
• Use cotton and natural fiber clothing.

Treating dry skin

Since dry skin is mostly caused by external causes, external treatments such as
creams and lotions can be applied and effectively control the skin problem. Dry skin
can often be improved by applying a gentle moisturizer. Once the other causes of dry
skin have been ruled out, the main goals of treatments are to stop the itching, prevent
loss of water and restore skin hydration.

Apply calming cream two or three times a day on wet skin!

Dry skin may be improved by taking lukewarm showers and avoiding excess skin
scrubbing. Hot water and harsh scrubbing can take away the natural oils protecting the
skin and make it even drier.

Dry skin may be prevented by use of soap-free gentle cleansers. Many scented,
deodorant and antibacterial soaps can be too harsh and wash off natural skin-
protecting oils.

Applying moisturizer

Find a product that works for your skin and use it regularly, especially after taking
shower. It can help the skin to keep the moisture.

Face cream has to be scent and alcohol free as it can cause unnecessary irritations.
Special moisturizers containing lactic acid (AmLactin, Lac-Hydrin) or urea (Urix or
Carmol) are also effective in hydrating the skin. Mild perfume-free moisturizers are
good for dry skin. Apply moisturizer 3 – 5 minutes after the shower, while the skin is
still wet.

Gentle face wash
When choosing face care products, avoid soaps and cleansers that contain harsh
ingredients such as alcohol, retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids. These unnecessary
ingredients can dry out the skin and cause irritation or inflammation.

There are a few gentle and hydrating scent-free soaps that you can try out.

Look for one or more of the following ingredients that retain moisture:

• Polyethylene glycol
• alkyl polyglycoside
• silicone surfactants
• lanolin
• paraffin

Avoid washing your face several times a day

If you have dry skin, it is best to wash the face only in the evening. In that way you clean
the face after a long day of building up dirt and you prevent the removal of necessary
oils from the skin.

Lip balm

Lip balm can help free dry or chapped lips. Lip balm should contain petroleum jelly or
mineral oils.

Wear protection

Don’t forget to cover your face with scarf and your hands with gloves, and also pay
attention to the composition of the detergents you wash your clothes with.