Cold season is more than just saying hello to dry skin and chapped lips. The low-temperature weather and low humidity level cause an uncomfortable feeling of dryness all over the body and aggravation of skin disorders.
Dry skin can occur only during winter or it can extend to other seasons of the year. The most common areas where flakes appear, in my case, are the lower legs. Some people even have flakes and cracks on arms too.
Have you ever experienced going out into a cold-weather and being underdressed? Like you feel that you must add another layer for you to feel warm outdoor? Then, later on, you feel itchy on, let’s say, your thighs?
Cold, dry air disfigures the skin’s top layer and water is drawn from the surface. These cells underneath are exposed to irritants and bacteria, and the nerves in that area will then send itch signals to the brain. That explains why I felt itchy on my thighs when I went out for a run during my first winter season here in Canada.
How can you tell if you have dry skin?
- skin tightness sensation, especially after taking a shower, or any form of exposure to water like swimming
- skin areas that look and feels rough
- varying degrees of flaking, peeling or scaling
- cracks, with or without bleeding
Dry Lips are common during the cold season. It may appear peeling and chapped as this body part is very vulnerable to lose moisture compared to other parts of the body.
As for my lips, they have been dry and chapped almost everyday since the start of winter. And it feels rough when I touch it. In cases that I happen to bite my lip and cause pulling of the partially peeled skin, it’s usually a game of ‘will it bleed or not?’.
So how do we manage dry skin and dry lips? Read on to learn more.
If you are a person who grew up in a tropical country like me, you could live with the use of a lotion. But wait, I kid not when I tell you it is not sufficient.
I used to feel sticky when I use body cream back in the Philippines. I preferred the lighter formulations, which are body lotions. But here in Canada, I realized body lotions dry up fast and couldn’t catch up with the dryness brought by the extreme weather. So I looked for alternatives and will list them down below.
Even though most lotions and body creams have the same ingredients, body creams are less fluid and have more thickener, oils, and emulsifiers. Since their formulation is much thicker, you can massage it onto your skin for a longer moisturizing effect than lotions.
Body Butter and Balm
Some of the available body butter and balm in the market if they are non-water containing products, are greasy when applied onto the skin. Also, they feel heavy and can be somewhat grainy. Luckily, there are options that contain emulsions removing the unpleasant greasiness of the other formulation.
Body oils are another alternative to body lotions. They are smooth but thicker liquid form than body lotions. I usually apply it right after taking a bath and it gets absorbed leaving your skin moisturized. It will lock moisture, just like body creams, for hours. Despite the fact that oils tend to be greasy when applied, there are body oils that are contrary to that.
Whichever you would like to use depends on your preference. Some might not work well with you, some will do show up improvement on skin hydration. However, most of the time, it is going to be a round of product test before you get the perfect product that suits you.
And since they don’t probably give you the hydration you need for 24 hours, you must apply them multiple times a day. Most will be fine with the twice-daily application but really, it will depend on a lot of factors like your environment (indoor or outdoor temperature and humidity level), your skin type, age, health, and if there are any underlying skin problems.
For the lips, the same rule applies: Multiple applications in a day. Or if the weather is too harsh, you can cover it with a scarf or winter face mask. Also, the best options in the market are those lip balm/cream that contains sunscreen, petroleum, or beeswax.
Heaters provide warmth indoors during the winter season but it also has a negative effect on our already dry skin. What else can it do? It adds up on making our skin feels and look drier through drying up any remaining moisture in our skin.
Fear not as we can fight this skin dehydration caused by heater by installing a humidifier inside the house. Humidifiers function as air moisturizer, meaning it adds water or moisture into your dry air through releasing a mist or a vapor. This is not the main solution but it is a supplement to your skincare.
Hydration is important whatever the season is. So, don’t forget to drink a glass of water every now and then. Make sure to bring a bottle when going out to avoid signs of dehydration like thirst and headache.
Quick Lukewarm Bath
When you feel like the itchiness is affecting most of the body’s surface, then try having a short lukewarm shower or bath. This could help relieve the itchiness and makes you feel refreshed too.
I hope these tips will help you with the dry skin issues this winter season. Remember, if the skin dryness becomes worse (e.g. presence of infection secondary to scratching) or does not improve after following the recommendations here, better consult a doctor.