How to Winterize Your Skin : Our Picks for the Best Body Moisturizers for Dry Skin
Sometime in between the last falling leaf and the first cold snap, we feel that first tingle of dry, itchy skin. But why does our skin seem to make us itch over every part of our body once the atmosphere changes? And what can we do to help winterize our skin?
In this post, we will take a look at three related factors. First, how winter affects the skin. Second, tips to minimize winter’s damaging effects. Third, what are the best body moisturizers for dry skin? (And if you live in Canada, you know this third part is essential in not letting the constant itch drive you bonkers).
How Winter Affects the Skin
Our skin is a natural barometer for registering the humidity in the air. Maybe it’s the burning sensation you feel in your legs when you undress at the end of the day. Or maybe, it’s the cracking of skin on your hands that shows up whenever the nights get longer than the days.
Our skin is not the same once the winter solstice is upon us. And this can have us reaching for body moisturizers for dry skin, hands, and even feet. But what happens in the winter that causes our skin to need extra love and care?
First, the humidity is less than during the summer months. This creates excess dryness in the air. Research shows that a dip in cold temperature further draws moisture away from your skin causing dermatitis, or skin irritation.
Second, to stay warm and cozy during the long, cold months, we turn up our heaters. This, too, creates less humidity in the air, and our skin can’t get the moisture it needs. Next, when we do head outside, our skin is hit with cold winds, another trigger to dry skin.
Last, you probably find yourself taking hot showers or baths to stay warm. But unfortunately, hot water strips the skin of its natural moisture barrier and can thus lead to, you guessed it, dry skin. But is all dry skin created equal?
Let’s take a deeper look at common skin problems that can flare up, especially in the winter months.
What is Xerosis?
Xerosis is the term for extremely dry skin. As it is more frequent in the dryer months, it is often temporary in its discomfort. More common in older adults, or those with diabetes, it can still bother those in less humid climates.
Skin can appear dry, itchy, and even scaly, and fine cracks can appear. It’s not restricted to a single body part either, you may experience it all over, but often it likes to target the arms, legs, and hands.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is inflammation of the skin. It can look swollen, have red patches, and have fluid-filled bumps. It tingles frequently, craving to be itched. Although dry, cold air is a trigger, other reasons can bring a surprise popup visit.
Dust, carpet fibres, deodorants, and other perfumes and chemicals that become airborne can cause a breakout. This is especially true in close quarters. Even that cozy sweater you recently bought may react adversely with your skin.
Much like xerosis, these flair-ups are temporary but may repeat throughout the colder season. So, what can you do to help minimize irritations and the damage the winter months can cause to your skin?
Tips to Minimize Winter’s Damaging Effects
We’ve already touched on some of the triggers for dry skin. But anyone with reoccurring dry, itchy skin will tell you that it’s enough to affect their mental health as well. We get that, so here are some tips to help minimize your dry skin woes – and your mental wellness.
- Add a humidifier to your home.
- Avoid hot showers or baths that can dry out your skin.
- Use a body moisturizer for dry skin while your skin is still wet.
- Avoid heavily perfumed soaps and those with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take your vitamins – here are some vitamins to help from the inside out.
- Vitamin C – works to enhance your skin cells’ natural fat production. It also works to strengthen the stratum corneum, the outer layer of your skin.
- Vitamin E – repairs skin cells and works as an antioxidant to remove free radicals, and soothes your skin with its anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – found in fish oil, omega-3 helps to produce healthy cell membranes. It also works to balance your skin’s inflammatory response.
- Probiotics – help to balance your microbiome.
- Vitamin D – those who are vitamin D-deficient, and that’s most of the population, often suffer from dry and flaky skin.
- Linoleic Acid – an essential fatty acid, also known as Omega 6, that isn’t produced in the body. It helps to reduce skin dryness.
- Stay away from fireplaces that can further dry your skin.
- Stop smoking – smoking can damage your skin.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing – tight clothing can irritate or rub the inflamed area.
- Trap moisture in with socks or gloves after applying dry skin moisturizers.
- Keep your heater set at a lower temperature.
- Continue to use SFP daily when going outside – even on cloudy days, UV rays can damage the skin.
- Protect your skin from the harsh winter winds – bundle up with gloves, scarves, and toques.
- Winterize your skincare routine – check out our top picks below.
The Best Body Moisturizers for Dry Skin
Before we talk about which body moisturizer is best for your dry skin, let’s talk about urea. Urea is naturally found on your skin. But it is also synthetically made in a lab. Under the outer layer of your skin, the epidermis, there are sublayers, including the stratum corneum.
Within the stratum corneum are water-retaining substances, known as natural moistening factors (NMFs). Urea is one of these substances. It works to exfoliate dead skin cells, relieve dryness, and may even help eliminate fungal infections.
Studies show that urea can improve skin barrier function and is well-tolerated – a relief for those with sensitive skin. It also helps increase the water content of the stratum corneum, particularly in the case of xerosis.
At Dermal Therapy, we have a wide range of moisturizers for dry skin, from your delicate face to your callused heels. When experiencing a hardened, callused layer of skin, we suggest using a lotion or cream with a higher urea percentage.
Dermal Therapy Body Wash is the perfect first step to ensuring your natural skin moisture barrier isn’t stripped away in the shower. It is gentle for your face and body and contains green tea, a powerful antioxidant to fight skin inflammation.
Dermal Therapy Sensitive Skin Care is ideal for eczema breakouts, providing soothing relief from red and itchy areas. It is also a terrific first step when dealing with cracks in the epidermis.
Dermal Therapy Extra Strength Body Lotion is deep penetrating, absorbs quickly, and works fast to relieve dry, itchy skin.
Dermal Therapy Heel Care Cream is essential for callused and cracking skin that needs more than a lotion. This cream has a higher urea percentage and will penetrate the skin without leaving it feeling greasy.
Remember that dry skin in the winter may not always be avoidable, but there are some great ways to treat it. We get that some of the tips are hard to follow; hands up for those who want to take a cold shower in the winter. Yeah, we didn’t think so.
For those times, that’s when you know you can rely on using one of Dermal Therapy’s body moisturizers for dry skin to save the day. It’s the treatment you can trust that is simple, effective, and doesn’t take anything from your life – well, maybe the constant itching.