Ever wonder why your skin gets so dry and itchy? There are a number of factors to consider. For instance, the type of cleanser you are using may be too harsh for your skin and be causing you to become dry and itchy. Drier skins should choose a gentler cream cleanser, whereas oily skin types need a stronger gel cleanser. The fabrics you are wearing – wool and synthetics rub against your skin causing friction, in turn drying your skin out. Hard water may also be a factor. If you have hard water, the impurities may be stripping your skin of its moisture. Your diet can also affect how your skins acts and feels. Our skin needs fatty acids, such as Omega-3, to keep it supple. Omega-3 can be found in foods like salmon or chia seeds.
Of course this time of the year, however, the most drying agent to our skin may simply be the cold air outside. Cold air in combination with harsh winds can be extremely drying to our skin. What do we do when we get cold? Go inside where it’s warm and cozy, right? This warm air just compounds the problem, drying skin out even more! When our skin gets dry, it causes tiny cracks, often too small to see. These cracks allow microbes and other irritants in causing inflammation and itching. So how do we beat this cycle? Just as there are numerous reasons we get dry skin, there are just as many ways to avoid the dry, winter-skin blues. The following suggestions can be used to treat dry skin on your body, as well as your face.
1. Use a humidifier. It is recommended that humidity levels be kept between 30%-60%.
Many newer humidifiers will tell you how much humidity is in your air. *1
2. Moisturize, if possible, twice a day. The best time to moisturize is immediately
after you shower when your skin is still damp. Use a moisturizer with a high oil
content. Look for products with these ingredients: shea butter, cocoa butter, and/or
Ask one of our estheticians which Eminence product(s) is best for you.
3. As good as a hot shower feels when it’s cold outside, your body will thank you even
more if you keep the water warm. Warm water is not as harsh and drying to our skin.
If you prefer baths to showers, again use warm water, but now you can add a little
colloidal oatmeal to the tub! Oatmeal is very soothing and helps relieve itchy, chaffed
4. Exfoliate at least once a week (depending on your skin type – if you’re unsure, ask)
with a gentle scrub. This helps to remove that top layer of dead skin cells allowing for
better penetration of your moisturizer. Be careful not to over-exfoliate!
5. Drink plenty of water. Unfortunately, our skin is the last of our organs to receive the
benefits of the water we drink. According to the Mayo Clinic, The Institute of Medicine
recommends about 13 cups per day for the average male and about 9 cups per day for
the average female. * 2
6. SPF. Yes, even in the winter months we still need to wear SPF! Be sure to use a broad-
spectrum SPF. This means it protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Finally, a couple of other things to consider when you feel the winter itch coming. If your skin is extremely dry, wash your face only before bed, instead of the usual once in the morning and then again before bedtime recommendation. This will allow you to cleanse away the impurities from the day without over drying your skin. Also try putting on a pair of thin cotton gloves over moisturized hands. This helps keep the moisture in.
*1 – The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers
*2 – The Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283