If your skin is already tight and dry this time of year, you're not alone. Many people struggle with dry, flaky skin as temperatures drop in the fall and continue to descend in winter. Much of this has to do with the lower humidity levels and generally cold air, but dry indoor heat doesn't help either, nor do those biting winter winds when you step outside.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to both prevent and treat dry winter skin. Let’s go over a few of these below.
How to Prevent and Treat Dry Winter Skin
If your skin’s been feeling rough and scaly, try a few of these tips and see what works for you.
1. Don’t take super-hot showers.
We know, we know. How can you not take a super-hot and luxurious shower when it’s 0° outside? Unfortunately, extremely hot water will end up stripping off the natural oils that keep your skin moisturized. Therefore, it's far better to take lukewarm or semi-hot showers and baths in the winter.
2. Don’t dry off completely after your shower or bath.
Once you're out of your shower or bath, pat dry lightly with a towel, but don't dry yourself fully (in other words, don't rub to get the water off). This will leave some excess moisture on your skin, and that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to this next tip …
3. Put on lotion while your skin is still wet.
Once you’ve patted your skin dry, take a moment to apply some lotion. Choose something that includes ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Jojoba oil and vitamin E are also good ingredients for a strong winter moisturizer. Now put a robe on, and as you finish preparing for the day, that extra water moisture and the lotion will be absorbed into your skin to help hydrate it.
4. Don’t skin your SPF.
Contrary to what you might think, you should be using sunscreen even when the sun is hardly out — for example, in the winter, when clouds tend to cover the skies on most days.
The reason is that UV light is still able to penetrate the moisture barrier of your skin and deprive it of moisture and hydration — yes, even in the dead of winter! Therefore, if you can prevent this penetration and deflect UV rays (like you can with sunscreen), you can avoid the harmful effects.
5. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Water is certainly essential in the summer months when the temperatures are high and we tend to lose a lot of our body’s hydration through sweating. But it's also important in the winter. Staying hydrated doesn't just improve digestion, mental clarity, and a number of other body processes. It also hydrates the largest organ of your body — your skin.
If you've been having trouble getting enough water in each day, try incorporating other fluids. Low sugar juices, milk, and non-caffeinated tea all count toward your daily water intake.
6. Use a cannabis-derived oil moisturizer at night.
At night before bed is the perfect time to try some more intensely moisturizing treatments. We recommend using a good cannabis-derived oil moisturizer — one with CBD (also known as cannabidiol). A quality CBD oil from a reputable Olympia dispensary will be especially effective at treating severely dry skin and can also have anti-inflammatory effects.
7. Add an occlusive as your last skincare routine step.
Once you’ve applied your normal moisturizer and added a cannabis-derived oil moisturizer on top, finish your nightly skincare routine with an occlusive. These are thick barriers that lock in the moisture and literally keep it in place so that it can’t evaporate. A simple petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) works wonders.
8. Turn down your home’s temperature.
We tend to crank the heat in the winter and worry less about what we’re wearing, but it should really be the other way around. If you don’t mind adding a few extra layers and some cozy socks to your winter wardrobe, do it! This will allow you to turn down your home’s heat and will, in turn, result in softer, more hydrated skin. Home heating is drying for your skin, so leaving the temperature a few degrees lower can have a great effect on moisture levels.
9. Use a humidifier in your bedroom (or all over your house).
Lastly, don't forget to use a humidifier in your bedroom — especially while you're sleeping. During the day, you can use humidifiers all over your house if you like as well, but having one in your bedroom at night is especially important because that’s when temperatures tend to drop the furthest, and the dry air affects us most.
If you’ve been noticing that you tend to wake up every morning with a sore throat and a plugged up nose, chances are you could benefit from a humidifier — both for your sinuses and your skin!
Not everyone’s skin will respond the same to the measures listed above, so be sure and try a few! Those that are called for on a daily basis tend to be the most effective as they keep up with your skin and the weather’s changes over time.