Winter brings with it dry, itchy skin due to low temperatures, low humidity and strong, harsh winds. Dry air from furnaces and other heating sources also suck moisture out of skin, depleting skin of its natural lipid layer, which keeps it from drying out.
I've been researching what the experts say is the best cure for dry, itchy or flaky skin. Some of these I've used successfully, while a few are new to me. I’m sure you've heard of most of them as well. But sometimes we need a reminder, which was the case for me and I’m getting out the humidifier tonight!
- Stay in the shower 10 minutes or less; consider showering less, alternating with a sponge bath.
- Use lukewarm, not hot, water. The same rule applies to hand-washing.
- Use a soapless body wash.
- Before drying off, rub baby oil or mineral oil over your skin.Coconut, avocado and olive oils also are recommended.
- After drying off, use a thick cream; if it comes in a pump bottle, it isn't thick enough. Lotions are not thick enough and often times are more irritating to your skin.
- Exfoliate affected areas weekly. Moisturizer is much more effective on properly exfoliated skin.
- Get a humidifier for the bedroom; keep door closed so the moist air doesn't escape. A room heated by a furnace can have as little as 10 percent moisture in the air.
- Consider taking fish oil pills. New studies show omega-3 fish oil pills may soothe super dry skin. Patients who took fish oils pills, in a study reported in Allure magazine, saw significant results within a few weeks.
- Drink lots of water. Dry skin is the result of lack of water in the body.
- Eating almonds can help to retain moisture in the skin (who knew?)
- Itchy Scalp? Massage it. Encourage extra oils in your scalp by brushing hair daily (See? Just like your mother taught you to brush your hair every night!). Concentrate on the scalp.
- Apple cider vinegar on dry skin areas can cure dry itchy skin.
- For dry, cracked feet: Cover them with a thick moisturizer, wrap in plastic wrap and pull on a pair of socks for a couple hours. The same treatment can be done on hands, except try plastic bags and keep hands in a pair of socks. A half-hour should do.
- If you have super sensitive skin, consider avoiding rinsing your face with tap water, which can contain harsh minerals that are especially drying. Instead use a cold cream to cleanse your face or use bottled spring water.
- Vaseline works wonders. It’s not a high-end pampering product, but Vaseline works great on my itchy skin during the winter months.
There were numerous other remedies I found which I know that realistically I will not try. For example, I won’t apply honey to my skin and leave it on for half an hour; neither will I be giving myself a banana or yogurt facial.
But with an increased water intake,the use of a humidifier and keeping my skin adequately moisturized, I’m hoping to beat this winter itchy skin syndrome.
How about you? Do you have a remedy for winter itchy skin you’d like to share?