How to Avoid Itchy, Dry Skin in Winter

It happens every year…the weather gets colder, your skin gets drier. In fact, so much drier that it may be flaky or even itchy. This condition has a name, Xerosis, but in layman’s terms, it simply means dry skin.

 Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your skin stay comfortable as temperatures drop, and there are great, healthy ingredients you can use to restore comfort if those methods don’t help enough.

 A few simple changes can make a big difference. Here are some steps you can take to prevent dryness.

  • Use a humidifier. Skin becomes more dry in the winter because the air is drier, so putting more moisture into the air makes perhaps the most sense.
  • Use lukewarm water, not hot for your bath or shower. The skin’s natural oils create a barrier to help skin retain moisture, and hot water can strip away these oils.
  • Keep your bath or shower shorter. The longer you are in there, the more likely to strip the skin’s oils.
  • Unless you are taking an oatmeal bath! Bathing in colloidal oatmeal can help because the oatmeal bonds to the skin to reinforce the barrier.
  • Be gentle. Exfoliation in helpful with dry skin, because the dry, flaky outer layer of skin makes it difficult for any moisturizing products to penetrate, but harsh scrubs can make matters worse by stripping away oils. Use a washcloth or chemical exfoliant (like something with lactic acid) to exfoliate and save the sugars, coffees and salts for summer.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after leaving the bath or shower, while skin is still slightly damp.
  • Don't forget your lips--if they are chapped, they are dry!

Once you have done all of these things, you may still need additional moisture this time of year. Antioxidants and plant oils and butters are the key ingredients to look for. Antioxidants promote skin health and help skin fight off the effects of the environment, vitamin C and Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) are two that are particularly valuable. Butters and oils from plants provide essential moisture and help reinforce the skin’s moisture barrier.

Some of the best plant oils and butters to look for are:

  • Coconut Oil - be sure to look for it as an ingredient with other oils, or to apply it on damp skin if using alone.
  • Sunflower Seed Oil - also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help with skin that is so dry it has become angry and red.
  • Hemp Seed Oil - moisturizes without clogging pores, and may help bring balance to oily skin types.
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil - forms a barrier to help prevent moisture loss and contains several antioxidants.
  • Cocoa Butter - rich in phytochemicals that are thought to improve blood flow to the skin and help prevent premature aging.
  • Shea Butter - helps restore skin's elasticity and make skin look plump and hydrated.
  • Jojoba Seed Oil - rich in vitamins and close in composition to skin's own sebum, which makes it penetrate easily.
  • Argan Oil - moisturizing and nourishing, but also helps wounds heal, due to vitamin E content.
  • Borage Seed Oil - a lighter oil that absorbs easily as it moisturizes.

With ingredients like these in your products, whether they are face oils, body oils, body butters, serums, facial moisturizers or even lip oils like Brush On Block® Protective Lip Oil SPF 32, you will make your skin more comfortable and also healthier.