Baby it's cold outside, but inside the heater is roaring keeping everything toasty and dry, including your skin. Here are a few tips to prevent dry and itchy winter dry skin, or if your skin is already dry, help it from getting worse.
Tips for Treating and Preventing Dry Skin, edited from the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org)
Say No to hot water. Hot water removes natural oils from the skin more quickly, so stick to warm water for shower and bath.
Use a gentle cleanser, toss the soap: Soaps (even organic liquid soap like Castile) can strip oils from the skin. Super gentle glucosides are my go-to cleanser.
Limit time in the shower or bathtub. A 5- to-10-minute shower or bath can do wonders to add moisture to the skin. But spending any more time in the water often leaves your skin less hydrated than before you started. A great solution is to not bathe more often than once a day, and if possible, shoot for every other day.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisture. Dry skin needs moisture. Applying moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing seals in much-needed water. If skin is noticeably dry and uncomfortable, moisturizing more frequently throughout the day can help the skin heal. Consistent use of moisturizer will help prevent dry skin from returning.
Use a humidifier. To help keep the air in your home moist, crank up the humidifier and run it day and night.
Humidifier vs. VaporizerCool mist humidifier is best for prevention of respiratory ailments – it adds moisture to the air to keep the throat and nasal passage comfortable and clear while making the room more comfortable.
Steam vaporizer works best when a cold or flu is already present. The combination of humidity and warm steam helps to loosen mucus and create an environment where the influenza virus cannot survive. Studies consistently show that the flu virus survives best when the relative humidity is below 40%, so try to keep it between 40-60% by consistently using your vaporizer day and night when sick. Vicks vaporizer has an added bonus of the ‘inhalant cup’ to add essential oils like eucalyptus. Note that this vaporizer needs salt added to the water in order to create steam, be sure to read the instructions carefully.