Many of us count spring as our favorite time of year—the flowers, the warming and humid air, the beautiful natural landscapes set off by green grass and budding trees. However, although the season itself may be one of beauty, it tends to wreak havoc on our own beauty – most specifically for those of us who suffer from dry skin.
The problem of dry, flaky, or itchy skin is a year-round concern for those who suffer from it, but several factors present during changing weather tend to exacerbate the condition considerably.
Spring and Winter tends to be a season of low environmental humidity, which can strip skin of its natural oils and moisture. The outer layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, is composed of dead skin cells and body oils, the latter of which is created by the living cells underneath. While the idea of being covered with dead cells and oil may be slightly off-putting, consider that our skin is designed to keep water inside the body as well as keep out harmful things, such as germs and irritants.
When the balance of oil to cells is disturbed, the result is dry skin, which creates skin shrinkage, cracks, and irritation to the living cells below. Some individuals are more prone to this uncomfortable condition than others, but everyone can benefit from some preventative measures and treatments during weather changes .
Start With Your Shower
First of all, make sure you are showering with warm—not hot—water. Yes, we know there’s nothing like a steamy shower on a spring crisp morning…but you’ll thank us later!
Water alone can strip your skin of protective natural oils; hot water is a particularly bad culprit in this arena.
Commit to a very short bathing period; around 10 minutes is a good rule of thumb. This will protect against stripping further oils. And never take more than one shower per 24 hours (time your workouts, etc. to accommodate this). More ideally, only shower every other day…or even less, if you can tolerate it.
Choose a mild, unscented soap—and don’t overuse it. Limit your lathering to key spots only (we’re pretty sure you know what they are…those places that need a little freshening up).
Once you get out of the shower, pat—don’t rub—your skin; do not fully dry it. Then apply moisturizer within a few minutes while you’re still damp, in order to seal in the most amount of moisture possible.
Dry-Proof Your Day
If you are able, increase the humidity in your home or office with a humidifier. The moisture in the air will greatly assist your dry skin to heal.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water, too. This will increase your body’s natural moisture level.
Make sure you have a good-quality moisturizer in your purse or backpack, and use it on troublesome spots throughout the day as often as possible. You may find that over-the-counter moisturizers contain ingredients that further irritate your skin. In these cases, consult a dermatologist for a prescription formula.
You can also try simple remedies that have worked for decades. Ointments are the most concentrated form of moisturizer available; consider using a little dab of petroleum jelly or even Crisco to seal moisture into stubbornly dry skin. Be careful to modify your application carefully to the right amount, so you don’t end up overly greasy!
Another good bet: Oils. You can use any sort of oil from baby oil to vegetable oil directly on your skin. As with ointments, a little goes a long way.
While you’re taking care of your body, don’t forget to care for dry, cracked lips as well—finish off your daily care with a swipe of lip balm.
Enjoy the season, just take a few precautions to stay hydrated!