It’s the most significant challenge to safeguard our skin from the winter damages. Once the skin vouches on dry and itchiness, it takes a long haul. The more dehydrated the air, the drier the skin. People using heaters at home are affected by dry skin and cracked feet as it takes its toll. Pre-existing skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema and dandruff worsens!
How can you prevent your skin and nourish it the best way this winter?
Switch to a good hydrating moisturiser
The outer most layer of your skin is mostly made of 15 micrometres of dead skin cells which acts as the natural barrier against the environment. This layer helps in preserving the moisture within the skin. The cold temperature with a drop in its humid content exfoliates the outer layer of the skin, which leads to the loss of the natural barrier. This makes our skin itchy in a vicious cycle. To prevent this best, you need the right moisturiser for your skin.
If it’s a regular dryness without a red flush in your skin, any moisturiser will work. But if you have a pre-existing skin disease or those with redness due to scratching, any moisturiser will not be effective. It is best to use moisturisers with no fragrance and consult a dermatologist to prescribe you the best one with your disease before winter worsens it.
Tip: If it’s just a regular skin dryness, applying coconut oil for 1/2 an hour before bath would help your skin get back its moisture and radiate immediately.
Indulge yourself into short warm water baths
The use of excessively hot water in winter will dry out the skin even more as when the skin dries it removes the moisture along with the water. Avoiding long hot water baths would heal it best.
Tip: Apply moisturiser within 10 mins after the bath.
Avoid makeup removers
Not all alcohol is right for your skin! Use of certain types of products containing alcohol contents like ‘isopropyl alcohol’ present in makeup removers and also wipes should be avoided as it can add on to the dryness. But specific substances like ‘cetyl alcohol’ are excellent moisturisers.
Your extremities and lips need more moisture
Lips, palms and feet have different kinds of glands than the rest of your body, so they tend to dry faster with less production of sebum, giving the natural moisturisation in these areas. Petroleum jelly acts as the best moisturiser over your dry lips, palms and foot. Creams are better to be used than lotion in winter as they are thicker and work faster than the usual!
Pre-existing skin conditions need to be nurtured and nourished:
Eczema: For people with eczema, especially atopic dermatitis, diet and clothes play an essential role. Clothes made of wool-like blankets and sweaters have to be avoided. Foods like peanuts, egg and shelled fish could also aggravate the disease.
Fungal infection: Pre-existing fungal infection can increase on wearing wet clothes and damp condition though the disease is seen more in summer if you already have the infection it can aggravate.
Flaky scalp: As winter approaches scalp scaling increases, it can be just dandruff, or it can be scalp psoriasis as psoriasis tends to increase in winter. A regular head bath would help in reducing dandruff along with anti-dandruff shampoo as prescribed by your dermatologist, but scalp psoriasis needs to be diagnosed and treated accordingly.
Other skin diseases
Places, where it’s an extremely cold disease like Rosacea, a condition where the cheeks become red with pimples like rash on the face, can aggravate and Raynaud’s disease, a condition in which the fingertips and toes turn blue on exposure to cold can flare. Such disease needs appropriate treatment to avoid the trigger.
With inputs from Dr Thansiha Nargis, Consultant Dermatology Venereology Leprosy at Aster RV Hospital
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