5 Expert Tips to Prevent Dry Skin in Winter
17 November 2021
Winter in Hong Kong is dry and cool, and along with the fallen leaves comes the common dry skin problems which can cause cracks, flakes, itches and discomfort. The dry weather makes it worse for those with eczema, psoriasis or allergy, particularly in vulnerable areas like the lower legs, hands, face and lips.
Keep your skin moisturized this winter with these skin care tips from a dermatologist.
#1 Start with your showering/bathing habit
You may feel extraordinarily clean and refreshed after a good wash, but the excessive evaporation of water from your skin surface, especially when you have washed off the oil layer (sebum) that moisturizes and protects your skin.
Try to shorten your shower/bath time to under 10 minutes and use warm (rather than hot) water. Also, it helps to use cleansers that are formulated to moisturize your skin, as an overuse of soap can worsen dry skin.
#2 Apply a mild or fragrance-free moisturizer
Rehydrate your skin with moisturizer right after bathing/shower to seal in moisture before your skin dries up. For your choice of ointment, cream or lotion, better to pick a gentle or fragrance-free product to minimize irritation. If possible, look for a moisturizer with these ingredients:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Petroleum jelly
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Lactic acid
*Reminder: “unscented” products may not be the same as “fragrance-free” ones and may contain chemicals that can make your dry and sensitive skin worse.
#3 Use a humidifier at home
Add moisture to the indoor environment, especially if you live in an enclosed flat like many people in Hong Kong. A setting at 60% humidity is recommended to keep the room comfortable for your skin.
While the warmth is tempting, don’t stay next to a fireplace or heater for too long! The heat dries out the air and drains moisture from you.
#4 Avoid wearing fabrics that irritate your skin
Rough materials like wool or synthetic fibers can aggravate your already dry skin as they rub against your flaky skin surface. So, when you choose from your winter wardrobe, wear a layer of cotton or silk beneath other rough fabrics to avoid direct contact of your skin with the scratchy and uncomfortable material.
What’s more, you can use hypoallergenic detergent to do your laundry to reduce dryness and irritation.
#5 Stay hydrated!
Drink ample water to replenish the water loss in evaporation and other metabolic activities of the body. It helps by moisturizing your body from the inside out. An overdose of alcohol and caffeine, however, can cause dehydration as they are diuretic.
If your symptoms are still not going away, you may want to visit a dermatologist for advice. Your dermatologist may prescribe an ointment for you and conduct a more thorough examination of your skin condition.
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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.