Do you ever wonder why your skin cracks and dries out in the winter? Why you get nosebleeds and sore throats? It is all down to the low humidity.
You see, warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air. As such as it gets colder, the drier the air becomes. Sure, there is no replacing the cold crisp winter’s air, but imagine what it does for your skin.
The tightness and dryness are signals. Your skin is screaming for help. As I got older, my skin started to intermittently flake and crack in the winter. It needed work, but I ignored the problem until it started to occur more frequently and the tingling sensation grew worse to burning pain.
So What Should You Do for Ashy or Flaky Skin?
This will be a series of detailed blog posts. I will do my best to detail all aspects you should keep in mind with each tip.There are many helpful tips, but it comes down to one thing: Keep your skin moisturized and protected.
1. Moisturize and then Moisturize Some More
You probably use a lotion of some sort, one that works well in spring and/or summer. Much like your wardrobe, your skincare product should change with the season.
For dry climates, the lotion should be oil-based (vs. water-based). The oil will create a protective layer that will lock in additional moisture. That’s not all. You should choose the oil types carefully as not all oils are equal or appropriate.
Some oils can clog the pores, such as coconut oil (or butter), sesame oil or wheat germ oil. If your skin is prone to clogged pores, look for "non-clogging" oils, like avocado oil, primrose oil, almond oil or mineral oil. Mineral oil however is controversial as it is made from petroleum (i.e. gasoline), which is linked to increased risk for cancer according the WHO.
You can also look for lotions containing "humectants," a class of substances that attract moisture to your skin. There are two classes of humectants: Synthetic (propylene glycol, PEG, silicone and urea) and Natural (honey, glycerin, aloe, hyaluronic acids and beta glucan).
Skin care manufacturers like synthetic humectants because they cost less than natural ones. They will moisturize to some extent, but they tend to evaporate more quickly and provide no real nutrients to the skin.
Another point of consideration is how a lotion “feels” on your skin. If it is made from all the right ingredients but if it does not absorb well, it is not a well formulated product. It may just sit on your face without alleviating dryness. Above all, you should listen to your skin. If a particular lotion causes irritations or troubles, you must stop using the product.
2. Turn On the Humidifier
Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) in our homes and offices dry out the air quickly. Humidifiers replenish the lost moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. It is an obvious solution that will help you on top of the lotion.
3. Hydrate from Within - Drink Water for Your Skin
It is a myth that drinking water helps your skin stay moisturized. But drinking plenty of fluids will help you flush away any harmful material which will ultimately help you with skin troubles.
4. Stop Taking Super Hot Baths
Many of you may feel the steamy hot shower/bath will moisturize the skin, but in fact, the intense heat breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture.
5. The Choice of Facial Cleansers
Furthermore, use gentler soaps. Being “squeaky” clean means the skin’s natural oil is gone, exposing the skin to further dryness and flakiness. So take lukewarm showers with gentle soaps that suites your skin type.
The same goes for makeup remover. Stop using the alcohol based makeup removers and reach for the cold cream cleanser. The towelettes may be convenient, but the cold cream cleanser moisturizes AND removes makeup. Skin care products with added alcohols, and sulfates not only irritate but dry skin, too.
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