Q: What can I do about the dry itchy skin I get in the cold winter weather? No matter how much lotion I slather on it still seems to be very dry………..Jane, S
Q. I have such dry scratchy feet in the winter, what can I do to make them smoother and not ‘catch’ my socks as I put them on? …………….Steve, C
Q: I love to use a chap stick on my lips during winter but my friends say it is not good for my lips. It feels pretty good when I use it though. ………………….Stanley, S
A: The joys of winter! We spend lots more time in artificially created heat, wearing long sleeves and warm jackets, drying out our skin, scratching, sniffling, skin crackling and hair standing on end. Not to mention getting shocked by your car door when you get out of the car, or shocking a friend when you go in for a kiss.
Even if you don’t keep your home really warm, your skin still dries out, lips crack and winter dryness becomes annoying. Experts agree that it’s especially important to keep skin moist and supple in the winter, avoiding cracks in fingers, hands and feet. These can be very painful, causing infection and bleeding.
A great daily regime is to smooth on a light water based moisturizer, while your skin is still damp from the shower. Pay particular attention to those parts of your body that are especially dry, hands, elbows, heels shins. Stay away from any moisturizer that contains mineral oil or petroleum jelly (petrolatum). These create an artificial film on your skin and lips which signal your skin to stop producing the natural lipids. Choose a lip moisturizer with natural botanical waxes or shea butter, such as Burt’s Bees. For the body use products including plant based oils such as grape seed, avocado, shea butter, jojoba, olive and palm oil. These humectants are nearly identical to human sebum and are much more available for the skin cells. Shea butter is a little heavier, and better suited to evening use. On the face and neck consider using creams with humectants like aloe, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid.
Although warm showers and baths feel great on bone chilling days, they are extremely drying for the skin. Water over 98.6 degrees causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in more water loss throughout the entire epidermis. If you crave heat, keep it under 5 minutes, and use a soap free body wash instead of bar soap. Pat—don’t rub– your skin dry, and moisturize immediately (within 3 minutes) while skin is still damp to help the oils penetrate.
Sloughing off dry dead skin cells with an enzyme based exfoliant will help new moisture rich skin cells to rise to the top. Wear layered clothing with natural cotton or silk touching the skin. A humidifier can help—especially at night, when combined with night cream, skin is more likely to drink in moisture. It also defrizzes staticky winter hair.
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- Tuesday, 24 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ask Madalyn