Beating Winter Skin #1 – Why So Dry?

My fellow beauty blogger Amina recently wrote about some issues she was having with dry winter skin and posted a great recipe for a soothing milk bath. I’ve also been having similar winter skin problems. Not only has my skin been drier and itchier than usual but my hair has also been on the dry side. No fun! So I’m taking action. I’ll be posting a Dry Skin Series featuring tips to beating the winter itch and regaining your soft, supple skin. First things first, why is winter so tough on our skin?

Causes of Dry Skin

Age. As estrogen production decreases in women, particularly as menopause nears, the skin produces fewer lipids. As you get older, cell turnover also slows down, resulting in more flakiness. 

Genes. Some people are more genetically predisposed to skin dryness than others. It could be as simple as having fewer oil glands. Or you could be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from eczema, a skin disorder that is often hereditary.

Weather changes. Chilly temperatures, cold winds, low humidity, and dry indoor heat (particularly the forced-air type) cause water to evaporate from the skin because there is more water in your skin than in the air, says Cherie Ditre, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Long, hot baths and showers. Too much washing strips the skin of its protective layer of oil, causing it to become dry. Then, as the water evaporates from the skin, it pulls more valuable moisture from the epidermis with it. Cleansing with harsh soaps can also strip lipids from the skin and increase water loss.

Smoking. Extremely toxic for the skin, smoking deprives the outer layers of oxygen and nutrients, as well as promoting premature wrinkling. In addition, “the smoke itself dries the skin’s surface,” says Jerome Z. Litt, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland.

Bundling up in woolen clothing. Scratchy materials can rub your skin the wrong way, disrupting the barrier that keeps moisture in and causing chapping.

Chronic health conditions. Diabetes, thyroid disorders, kidney disease, and some other conditions can affect the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Some medications — including antihistamines, tamoxifen (for breast cancer), and certain antidepressants — also cause dryness.

Is the winter weather wreaking havoc on your skin also? Do you have a fool-proof solution to winter skin? Let us know – me and my alligator skin will be forever grateful!

Next post: Simple tips to get your skin back to tip-top shape

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8 responses to “Beating Winter Skin #1 – Why So Dry?

  1. i am thankful for this series because dry itchy skin is not fun at all!!
    I have to admit i am sooo guilty of long hot showers. I have to work on that!!

  2. I’ve had great luck with all natural remedies like honey, olive oil and oatmeal. They are wonderful skin hydrators, all of which I’ve used in various ways. You can use any of these three ingredients in a bath or on your face. Lately I’ve been mixing honey with my shampoo. Leaves my hair is so shiney and no dry scalp!

  3. I need to try something. My usual go to moisturizer is doing me no good during the colder season.

  4. thebeautyguerrilla

    Oh but I looooove hot showers 😦 BGx

  5. @Caroline These all sound like great (and yummy) natural remedies to dry skin. I’ve heard great things about oatmeal

    @Alicia I’ve noticed that my moisturizer has been failing me as welll. Time to ramp it up!

    @Beautyguerrilla I am also a fan of looong hot showers. It’s been hard trying to cut back.

  6. Pingback: Beating Winter Skin #2 - Tips to Replenish « Beauty Maven

  7. I have always had dry skin in the winter bad! Every year, I switch to Nivea lotion for the winter – it really works for me! Love long, hot showers even though I know they make it worse!

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