The winter months can be especially tough on our skin and at times it will be virtually crying out for some hydration. Your skin is amazing stuff and left to its own devices it can deal with most things and certainly the changing seasons.
However, the combination of the cold winter air, the dry air from heating (at home, in car, on the train or in the office) dramatically increases the amount of moisture that is lost from your skin.
It’s also the ‘Season to be Merry’ and whilst many of us have and will enjoy an extra tipple or two over coming weeks the alcohol in these beverages being diuretic will cause us to further dehydrate our bodies (making us pee more) and further deprive your skin of moisture to replenish the extra that is being lost.
Add in a long hot shower or bath on a cold winters night and you wash away the oils from your skin that are there to help lock in moisture and control its loss (called transepidermal water loss (TEWL for short), which is a subject in itself!).
The end result of all this can be skin irritation, increased sensitivity and itchiness, skin that looks dull and starts to feel rough and flaky. In the extreme it can start to crack and bleed (who hasn’t suffered chapped hands at some point or other).
One solution would be to live like a Monk for the winter, but aside of being highly impractical for most of us; it doesn’t sound a whole lot of fun either.
Some simpler solutions include:
1. If you do nothing else extra for your skin this winter then just try and drink a couple of extra glasses of water a day.
2. Use a moisturiser on clean skin in the morning and at night just before bed. A good moisturiser will create a semi- occlusive layer over the skin and will act in similar way to your body’s natural oils to help slow down water loss through evaporation.
3. Avoid too many long hot showers or baths.
4. Use a hand cream (we really like the Aveeno hand cream) regularly throughout the day. Hand hygiene is very important to help stop the spread of germs and even more so in the winter months when germs are more virulent, but this really strips the oils from the skin and doesn’t give the skin a chance to recover. A hand cream will give it more of a fighting chance.
5. Keep the humidity up a little in the room you sleep in. A simple damp towel on the radiator or a cereal bowl of water next to the radiator does the trick. Or if you are feeling a little flusher you could invest in a humidifier (ranging from £25 from Argos to a £500 Dyson device!).
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and is our natural protection system (an average man is covered in 20 square feet of it!) so it’s worth looking after.
A bit of skin TLC will go a long way this winter and be one less thing to irritate you this Christmas.