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Winterizing Your Skin is Easy
“Chilly, dry air outdoors and heated air indoors can be a tough combination for skin, causing it to lose its ability to retain moisture and become dry, cracked, and itchy,” says Lana Hawayek, MD, FAAD, FASDS, a board-certified physician specializing in Dermatology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
To keep skin hydrated and healthy during the winter months, Dr. Hawayek recommends the following:
- Shower only once daily for less than 10 minutes. The longer the shower, the more natural oils and nutrients are lost. Use lukewarm water and avoid very hot water. Use gentle, fragrance-free soaps and choose wash cloths over harsher scrubs and loofahs. The same applies for children.
- Make moisturizing a daily habit. Moisturize immediately after showering or bathing.
- Protect skin from the inside out. Poor nutrition can be a source of skin disease. A deficiency in vitamin C results in fragile skin, so it’s also beneficial to eat citrus fruits, green or red peppers, and tomato juice. Deficiencies in B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin) can lead to dry, itchy skin. Eating turkey, tuna, whole grains, lentils, and bananas will help maintain healthy levels of B vitamins in the body.
- Be aware if skin needs extra care. Those with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as those with thyroid disease, are at greater risk for skin problems and discomfort during the winter.
- Humidify. Dry air can pull the moisture from your skin. Room humidifiers can be very beneficial.
“Remember, even in the winter months you should use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 or greater. Overexposure to sunlight can lead to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer,” says Dr. Hawayek.