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Dry Winter Skin What to Do

Why does the skin get so dry in the winter?

There are several reasons why the skin on both the face and body gets so dry in the winter months.  Indoor heat and low humidity due to cold temperatures lead to increased transepidermal water loss, also known as dehydration.  When the air is dry, it leads to moisture leaving the skin through osmosis into the dry air.  This results in dry, flaky, itchy and rough skin.  You may experience redness, itchy, stinging skin, and other discomfort.  Wrinkles, crepiness and uneven texture can appear to look even worse.  When the barrier function of the skin (fatty lipids that “seal” the spaces between skin cells) becomes damaged due to cold wind and dry air, it cannot protect the skin from water leaving and irritants entering.  When this important barrier of the skin becomes damaged due to excessive exfoliation, over-cleansing, cold temperatures, and dry air, the skin can become extremely dry and sensitive. When the skin is dehydrated, many important functions are compromised.

Adequate hydration is necessary for the skin to function properly.  How do I treat my dehydrated skin, or prevent it from getting that way in the first place?

~Apply moisturizer at least twice a day.  Regular and consistent use of the right moisturizers can help restore the skin’s barrier function.  Also apply moisturizer immediately after bathing, while the skin is still damp to trap moisture in the skin.

~Avoid heavily foaming soap and cleansers.  The more they foam, the more detergent a cleanser has = the more healthy sebum or oil is removed from the skin.

~ Avoid any product with fragrance, as this is a well known irritant.

~Don’t bathe more than once a day unless extremely necessary and don’t use excessively hot water as this strips the skin of lipids and irritates already inflamed skin.

Are all moisturizers created equal?  No.

If you feel that your moisturizer is not working for your skin, or you feel irritated and/or dry, see your esthetician.  She can help determine what level of moisturizer your skin needs and which product or combination of products will work best for you.

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