The nip in the air is our cue to bring out the knits and neck warmers, draw the curtains on the cold winds and protect our skin from weather-related dryness and moisture loss. Research tells us that dry skin can lead to scaling and a reduction in the skin’s water-holding and barrier-repairing capacity. The indicators of dry skin like dryness, roughness, and scaliness are related to the level of ceramides (fats that are found in the skin cells that keep the skin moisturised) in one’s skin.
Keep the skin moist
Jennifer Noskor, an aesthetician based in Delhi, says, “During winters, the dry, cold air takes away the skin’s moisture and the skin majorly suffers from dryness and itchiness.”
Her tips to keep your skin hydrated and moist are:
Use a gentle hydrating cleanser: Using a hydrating cleanser can help retain the skin’s moisture by not stripping the skin of its natural moisture. It would also help in clearing the dead skin without making the skin feel dry and tight. Cleansing can also help to improve blood circulation and eliminate toxins. Cleanse your skin at least twice a day. Sunscreen is a must: Our skin needs sunscreen in all seasons. The skin can get damaged by UV rays at any time of the year. Mineral-based SPF can help reduce the damage. Use hyaluronic acid-based products: Hyaluronic acid has a high water-retaining capacity, with its central role being hydration and elasticity. Use body butter: Body butter with ingredients like shea and cocoa keep the skin hydrated. Their thick creamy consistency softens the skin and is the best for dry skin in winter. Lips and under-eye care: Dry lips are one of the first signs observed in winter, indicating that the skin is less hydrated and lacks moisture. Lips can be taken care of with moisturising lip balms. The under-eye skin is also sensitive and needs care with hydrating eye creams that can be used during the day and night.
Some do’s and don’ts
According to Dr Kimberly Shao, MD, general dermatologist, Dayton, Ohio, “You may want to cut back on the frequency of the use of retinoids during winter. I also advise using the moisturiser sandwich method (layering products to trap moisture in the skin)”. Retinoids are vitamin-based applications that boost the growth of surface skin cells and collagen. Dr Shao suggests switching from thinner, lotion-based moisturisers to a heavier emollient or even an occlusive, which will create a physical barrier on the skin to prevent water loss. “Skip the alcohol-based toner in your CTM (cleansing, toning, moisturizer) routine, as it can dehydrate the skin,” adds Noskor. For those living in very cold regions, Shao suggests using a humidifier when using a room heater. The heater generates not just warm, but very dry air. “Combat that with a humidifier at night. Just make sure you clean them regularly,” she adds. Noskor agrees it is important to stay hydrated, especially in winter when we tend to consume less water. Even though the weather is cold, it is best to avoid long hot showers as it may lead to drying of the skin. “Nothing is more comforting than a hot water shower especially when it is so cold. That hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and lead to more dryness. So, avoid hot showers,” Noskor says. “Keep a watch on your diet. It is important that you consume food that is rich in nutritional value,” she adds. For dry lips, Shao says, plain petroleum jelly works well, especially if you put on a thick layer before going to sleep. Avoid wearing matt lipstick, cream lipstick and gloss, to prevent your lips from being chapped and dry, Noskor adds.
A few quick tips by Kimberly Shao
- Keep travel-sized containers in your bag, in the car, and by the sink and use them regularly
- Products with ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and dimethicone help draw moisture in and maintain the skin barrier
- Wear gloves when washing dishes or using cleaning products
- Do not forget to wash items of clothing that touch your face a lot like scarves
- While some exfoliating is still beneficial, do not over-exfoliate