Published on February 13, 2018

Essentia Health offers tips to soften dry, winter skin

Dry skin and lips, cracked cuticles, hair that’s full of static.  Welcome to winter’s beauty woes.  But some simple tips from Essentia Health’s skin care experts can help you feel and look better during these cold months.

“Dry skin is very common this time of year, because the mere act of turning on the heat will take moisture out of the air.  I recommend investing in a humidifier to help,” says Marnie Guthrie, who works with clients at Essentia’s Skin Renewal Center. A humidifier will also curb static electricity in your hair, as will a hair oil, mask or deep conditioner used several times a week.

Guthrie’s answer to curb dry skin?  Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.  “We wash our hands often to ward off colds and the flu, but handwashing can dry out your skin.  Keep a bottle of moisturizer next to the sink, so you can apply lotion right after washing your hands,” she adds.  “Also, apply hand moisturizer at night before going to bed.”

Moisturizers run the gamut when it comes to cost.  The key is to finding lotion that has the right amount of emollient in it whether it come from a drug store or specialty spa.  Moisturizers can be thin like a lotion, thick like a cream or even thicker like butter but finding the one right for your skin type is the key. You can even use common household products to moisten skin.

“Coconut oil works great on dry hands, nail beds and cuticles, even on your feet,” says Guthrie.  “Just don’t apply it to your face.”  Petroleum jelly and baby oil can also be used, again not on the face.  “In the winter months, it’s also a good idea to pull back on the peels,” Guthrie adds.  “A face peel changes the ph level of your skin, making it more sensitive.”

Speaking of the face, just because it’s not sunny out doesn’t mean you should be skipping your sunscreen.  80 percent of UV rays still penetrate through the clouds, so be sure to apply at least a 30 spf every couple of hours when outside.  “The reflection of the sun on snow is very strong.  It’s like being hit by the same sun ray twice,” Guthrie adds.

Moisturize your entire body as soon as you step outside the shower.  And during the winter months, ban very hot showers and baths.  Guthrie also is not a big fan of saunas for fair-skinned people who have surface capillaries and recommends ten minutes max sauna time.

“People can also hydrate from the inside out,” Guthrie adds.  “Make sure to limit your alcohol intake, since alcohol dehydrates the skin, and drink lots and lots of water.”

It’s important to remember hydrated, moisturized, and sun-protected skin is vital for all of winter’s chilly residents, from babies to seniors, men and women alike.  If you have a condition that continues to worsen, please see an expert at Essentia Health for medical-grade products and professionals that can help find solutions to your skin concerns.