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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

How to protect your skin in dry, indoor heat in winter

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Your skin is craving extra hydration

Winter's chill takes a toll on your skin. Cold temperatures and low humidity create dry air, robbing your skin of moisture. Brutal winter winds and indoor heating exacerbate the issue, often leaving your skin cracked and prone to bleeding. Combat the harsh effects with a tailored skincare routine to keep your skin nourished and resilient throughout the colder months.

Always use a rich moisturizer and sunscreen when you are outdoors. If you are prone to acne, consult a dermatologist to choose products for your skin so it doesn't worsen your skin condition.

Rhysa Phommachanh, Skin Care and Makeup Specialist at Landys Chemist, said: "Central heating causes the air to become less humid and dry, which causes the skin's moisture to evaporate swiftly from the surface. This causes the skin's top layer to lose its natural oils and moisture, resulting in dryness and dehydration." She added that indoor heating's low humidity leads to transepidermal water loss (TEWL), causing accelerated skin dehydration. This results in a tight, rough feel and heightened susceptibility to fine lines and wrinkles.

Central heating weakens the skin's protective barrier, increasing vulnerability to irritants and causing heightened sensitivity, dryness, redness, and inflammation.

How to keep skin healthy indoors with the best products for dry skin

Wear warm clothing

Amy Peterson, Medical Aesthetician and founder of Miami-based Skincare by Amy Peterson Medspa, said, "The heating systems we use are mostly dry air that sucks out moisture, and you do lose more water from your skin when there's less water in the air." She added that the skin tries to compensate for this by slowing skin cell turnover, which makes the outer dead skin layer (the stratum corneum) thicker, and while that may help slightly, it can also make the skin look dull and flaky. So, instead of cranking up the heat and drying the air more, stay bundled up, as it's better for your skin.

Limit Hot Showers

It's tempting to take long, hot showers in the winter because it is cold, but it's not good for your skin. "Prolonged exposure to hot water can lead to skin irritation and worsening of eczema symptoms," said Phommachanh. Instead, take shorter showers with lukewarm water and moisturize your body with Weleda Skin Food Body Butter afterward.

Moisturize your skin often

"The turn of the season into colder weather often brings about skin complications, most commonly dry skin leading to redness and flakiness. A nourishing skincare routine during this time is especially important to keep the skin barrier nourished and skin not irritated," said Dr. Michael Jacobs - renowned Manhattan-based, board-certified dermatologist. He products like the Image Skincare BIOME+ Smoothing Cloud Crème and the Neutrogena Triple Age Repair Night Moisturizer.

Dr. Anisha Joshi, dermatologist at Healthy Choice, said, "The important ingredients would be Hyaluronic acid serum and moisturizers." Dr. Joshi added that adding facial oil is also a good idea.

Don't let your skin dry out during the day

Celebrity makeup artist Carisa Ferreri said, "Mist your skin throughout the day with a hydrating essence." Tower28 Beauty SOS is one of the best for sensitive skin, too.

Peterson said, "In terms of ingredients you want to incorporate into your skincare regime to combat this, look for products with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin like 111SKIN hyaluronic acid aqua booster and 111SKIN molecular hydration mask." These products help increase moisture and lock in hydration.

Don't forget your lips. Dr. Joshi said, "Use a lip balm with Vitamin E." My favorite one is Bag Balm Lip Moisturizer.

Use a humidifier at night

It's a brilliant idea to sleep with a humidifier on at night. Dr. Jacobs said, "This is a great way to add moisture to the air when you have the heat on in your home during the wintertime, and people who use humidifiers often experience fewer eczema flare-ups during the winter and report dewier skin." I use Hey Dewy Wellness Humidifier and notice my skin is not as dry in the mornings. It's even better if you leave it on all day.

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