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Tips to Keep Dry Skin Moisturized during Winter

Update Date: Jan 07, 2013 05:59 AM EST

While the winter season is the best time to wrap oneself in cozy comforters and sit along the window with a hot cup of coffee looking outside and admiring the snow fall, dry and itchy skin along with chapped lips can really ruin such a wonderful experience.

Skin dryness comes along with winter and experts warn that washing hands too many times a day to prevent the spread of germs can take a toll on the skin, leaving it extremely dry and itchy. Also, experts warn of drinking too much coffee and alcoholic beverages, which can lead to dehydration.  

"As the temperature is low and the heater is on, the indoor air gets dehydrated and your skin loses moisture from the environment," said Dr. Michelle Tarbox, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, in a medical center news release.

"Water always moves downhill, even on a microscopic level, and when the level of moisture in the air drops due to the heating process, it practically sucks the water out of your skin."

According to Tarbox, the following tips should help keep skin hydrated during the winter season:

  • Use a humidifier: Using a humidifier at night must really help prevent moisture loss indoors. Also, using distilled water will give better results than using tap water. "Humidifying the air can reverse the process of skin dehydration and is particularly helpful for patients with dermatitis (an itchy inflammation of the skin)," Tarbox said.
  • Use over-the-counter saline sprays: Saline sprays can be helpful in keeping the mouth, eyes and nasal areas hydrated, especially while travelling. However, one must try to avoid harsh cleansers, as some cleansers can be irritating and could lead to hand eczema, a long-term skin disorder, dermatitis and dryness. These could be replaced with more mild products such as jojoba oil and shea butter oil, she said.
  • Choose the right moisturizer: Choose moisturizers which contain fat molecules known as ceramides that help protect the skin, apart from essential oils. Also, people should understand and consider their skin type while choosing the right moisturizer, reports Medical Xpress. "The less water a moisturizer has, the longer it will last," Tarbox explained. "When in doubt, thicker is often better while choosing a skin moisturizer."
  • Drink water: Drinking coffee and alcohol could cause dehydration and dry skin. Tarbox recommends drinking one glass of water for each alcoholic or caffeinated beverage consumed, according to the report.

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