Winter weather can take a toll on your skin. The cold, dry air literally sucks the moisture out of you skin leaving it dry, red, cracked and irritated. Severe dry skin can lead to eczema and dermatitis. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than just slathering on an extra rich cream or doubling down on moisturizers. But, with the right products and skincare experts by your side, you can pep up a dry, dull complexion. 

Causes Behind Dry Skin

In many cases, dry skin has environmental causes. Cold weather, wind, chaffing, and overuse of soaps and improper moisturization habits can lead to excessive dryness most commonly in northern climates in the winter or in desert areas.

In other cases, though, perpetually dry skin is based on genetics, just like oily and combination skin types. Just as we can’t “cure” overzealous oil production, we can’t permanently change our skin’s tendency to default to dehydration. What we can do, though, is mitigate the condition with products and lifestyle choices that help protect our body’s largest organ from the discomfort of dryness. 

Skip Super Hot Showers

There’s a reason we wash dishes with hot water. It works quickly, stripping away oils, both on our favorite roasting pan and our skin. The hot water dissolves our natural oils allowing the moisture in our skin to evaporate, causing dehydration. Instead, opt for lukewarm temps and showers that last between 5-10 minutes a day. 

Look for Ingredients Built to Combat Dryness

Your skincare products’ goals should be hydration, prevention of moisture loss, and skin barrier restoration. Humectants like glycerin, glycolic and lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera draw moisture from the atmosphere into the skin’s topmost layer. Ceramides, a natural, fundamental piece of our skin barrier, can be supplemented with both prescription and over-the-counter treatments. 

Ingredients that you should avoid include alcohol, benzoyl peroxide, and fragrances. These can all irritate and dehydrate the skin, causing redness, flaking, and itching. 

Exfoliate Regularly to Get Rid of Flakes

When we chemically or manually exfoliate, we stimulate new cell growth while also helping our body’s natural skin sloughing process work more efficiently. When people with dry skin neglect their exfoliation routine, they allow dead skin cells to pile up, resulting in the dullness we often see in dehydrated skin. Alpha hydroxy acids naturally exfoliate, while attracting moisture into the skin, thus serving as an excellent moisturizer.

Refresh Your Moisturizers Throughout the Day

As your moisturizer loses its mojo throughout the day, it’s essential to give it a little boost when your skin starts to feel tight, itchy, and in desperate need of a drink from your favorite refreshing facial mist. These work even over the top of makeup, helping your skin rebuild its natural barrier and protecting from foreign invaders that can slip through the cracks.

Consider Adding a Humidifier to Your Bedroom or Office

Air, both hot and cold, can take a severe toll on your moisture levels. Your office’s brisk thermostat settings suck water out of the air, which means that your complexion is missing out on the passive hydration it provides. To combat this issue, consider putting a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, like your bedroom or workspace. It puts moisture back into the air. 

Our skin type can determine many of our choices when shopping for skincare products, trying out cosmetics, and finding treatments to address skin concerns. Don’t leave your body’s first line of defense to chance. Your best resource is the skincare experts at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Institute, who understand how the skin works from subcutis to epidermis.