7 Reasons Your Skin is so Dry this Winter

mellieb on 16 Feb 2011 at 12:00am

It's the heart of winter and your skin is cracked, dry, and itchy. It may be due to your lifestyle habits, not just the dry air and cold wind.

The recent Harvard Health E-Newsletter identifies 7 habits to start (or stop) to improve your winter skin:\

1. Humidify: Use a humidifier in the winter. Set it to around 60%.  Stop using your dehumidifier!

2. Less bathing: Limit yourself to one 5- to 10-minute bath or shower daily. Use bath oils while at it.

3. Avoid hot water, use warm instead as also recommended by dermatologist Jeanette Graf, MD

4. Select cleansers that are soap-free, unperfumed.  Harvard recommends "moisturizing preparations such as Dove, Olay, and Basis, or consider soap-free cleansers like Cetaphil, Oilatum-AD, and Aquanil."

5. Stop scrubbing.  Lightly apply sponges, scrub brushes, and washcloths.

6. Leave on shaving cream/gel several minutes before starting.

7. Wash clothes with products that are fragrance-free. Same applies for fabric softener

Regardless of how flaky your skin gets, dermatologist Mary Lupo, MD notes that dry skin is not a health threat, more an inconvenience.  She writes on RealSelf, "Dry skin is not usually serious. The loss of water increases inflammation. The itch can cause you to scratch and that can cause an infection. Avoid hot showers and use emollient washes and lotions."

Source: Harvard Women’s Health Watch