At this time of year, it is very common to suffer from red, rough, raw, and itchy skin. This is because cold winter air means low humidity, both outdoors and indoors causing the dread of dry, flaky skin.
Dry skin occurs when the outermost layer of our skin (the epidermis) doesn’t maintain enough moisture. This can also happen to a number of us as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, ageing, or certain medical conditions.
However, it is always wise to be sure you know the difference between dry or dehydrated skin, as there is a fine line between the two. If you’re unsure, you can check out our article on the Symptoms and Remedies of Dehydration.
What can you do?
Fortunately, there are many simple and inexpensive things you can do to relieve the inconvenience and discomfort of dry skin. Easing your dry skin isn’t just about what you put on it. It also depends on how you clean your skin, the air around you, and even your clothes.
Bathe in mild temperature water
Hot water isn’t good for dry skin as they strip your body of its natural oil barrier. Dial down the temperature and bathe or shower no longer than 5-10 minutes.
Only use gentle, unscented skincare products
Stay away from strong antibacterial and fragranced soaps as they could be causing the irritation. Also, go easy on toners, cleansers, and exfoliants made with alcohol, which are drying.
Apply moisturiser immediately after washing
The best time to oil or cream your face and body is after a bath or shower, while you’re still damp and your skin is plump with moisture. Moisturising lotions are formulated to lock in moisture so that it doesn’t evaporate.
Thick moisturisers work best
Watery lotions are useless when trying to tame dry skin. The heavier and greasier a moisturiser, the smoother the results will be.
Shave with caution
As you shave unwanted hair, you’re also scraping off natural oils. Always shave after you shower in the direction in which the hairs are growing. Don’t forget to use a shaving balm or cream for extra skin protection.
Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent
The materials around you could be affecting the recovery of your skin. Look into changing your detergents if you continue to experience redness and itchiness.
Never scratch irritated dry skin. Most of the time, a moisturiser can control the itch. You can also use a cold compress to alternatively relieve itchy spots.
Wear SPF products
It’s important to use an SPF 15 lip balm and SPF 30 moisturisers all year round to continuously prevent damage from the sun. Sun damage is a main cause behind dry skin, wrinkles and roughness.
Stay clear of fireplaces
You can stay warm without exposing your skin to fires, which will dry out your skin, by layering up. Just remember to avoid wearing wool or other irritating fabrics.
Add moisture to the air
A humidifier is a great idea to replenish the missing moisture in the air when the heating is on throughout winter. Aim for indoor humidity of around 50-60%.
Milk has anti-inflammatory properties that often take the itch away. Just use a cloth to dip it in and apply to your skin for 5 minutes to help sooth it. Plus, the lactic acid in milk exfoliates dead skin cells and increases the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Olive oil contains many antioxidants and healthy fatty acids that are good for your skin. Around half an hour before taking a shower, apply some olive oil to dry spots and it’ll work wonders as a great conditioner for your skin.
Honey locks in moisture and contains vital vitamins and minerals. Before taking a bath or shower, rub honey all over your body and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Repeat daily to enjoy well-moisturised skin.
Coconut oil has a good amount of fatty acids that make up for any loss of moisture from the skin. Apply it all over your body before you go to bed and wash it off in the morning. Do it daily to make your skin soft and smooth.
We highly recommend you choose natural or organic skincare products, and organic ingredients for natural remedies.
When to see a Doctor
If you’ve tried a number of home remedies, your skin continues to bleed or becomes even scalier, then it’s best to get some professional help. A dermatologist can give you a prescription cream and rule out any medical conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.