Contributed by Dr. Thansiha Nargis, Consultant Dermatology Venereology Leprosy, at Aster RV Hospital.
As winter is here, we should take extra care of our skin before it gets us more trouble. It’s the greatest challenge to safeguard our skin from the winter damages. Once the skin vouches on dry and itchiness it takes a long haul. The drier 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?
1. Switch to a good hydrating moisturizer
The outer most layer of your skin is mostly made of 15 micrometers 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. In order to prevent this best, you need the right moisturizer for your skin.
If it’s a regular dryness without a red flush in your skin any moisturiser would 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.
2. Indulge yourself into short warm water baths
The use of excessive 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 10mins after bath.
3.Avoid make up removers
Not all alcohol is good 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 certain contents like ‘cetyl alcohol’ are good moisturisers.
4.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.
5.Switch to heavy creams over lotions
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:
For people with eczema especially atopic dermatitis, diet and clothes play an important 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 but 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. Regular head bath would help in reducing the dandruff along with anti-dandruff shampoo as prescribed by your dermatologist but scalp psoriasis needs to be diagnosed and treated accordingly.
● Other skin disease
Places where it’s 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 finger tips and toes turn blue on exposure to cold can flare. Such disease needs appropriate treatment to avoid the trigger.