Do you suffer from dry, flaky skin in winter? Don’t panic – you’re not alone. Dry skin and winter go hand in hand. Colder weather can often be a shock to the skin, and maintaining its protective barrier function can be more of a challenge.
As we constantly drift between hot and cold temperatures in winter, the skin can lose essential moisture, making it feel tight and dry. Therefore, it is important to up your winter skincare regime
Here are some home remedies for chapped skin in winter.
Milk has natural anti-inflammatory properties and also contains lactic acid, a mild, natural exfoliant. You can use a lactic acid and ceramide-containing lotion twice daily to improve skin hydration while eliminating dead skin cells. To make a milk compress, soak a clean cloth like a washcloth or towel in a bowl of cool milk. Hold it in place over any dry areas of skin. Use the compresses on your skin for five to 10 minutes at a time to soothe irritated or itchy skin.
Coconut oil is a popular home treatment for healthy hair and skin. It becomes solid at room temperature, so use it as a moisturising cream at bedtime. For chapped heels and hands, apply the oil, then layer with thick socks or non-latex gloves for best results.
Colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory, soothing, and protective effects, and it can help your skin retain moisture. A cup of oatmeal in a warm bath can naturally rehydrate dry skin. For a mess-free soak, try tying the oats to the tap in a gauze bag and then run your bathwater through them.
This face mask is chock-full of antioxidants and probiotics that can promote healthy and glowing skin. Mix half an avocado with a quarter of a cup of plain Greek yoghurt along with a drizzle of honey and one teaspoon of turmeric for anti-inflammatory benefits and to improve symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema. Apply the mixture to clean skin and let it set for five to 10 minutes before rinsing off.
Natural oils are great for moisturising the skin and helping to recreate the natural skin barrier that is often damaged by frequent hand and face washing with water and drying soaps that can strip the skin of its natural protective oils. Aside from olive oil or coconut oil, you can test out other natural oils that are free from irritants, including jojoba and avocado oils. Try adding a few tablespoons of oil to running bathwater. Treat yourself to a short soak and gently pat your skin dry afterwards to avoid removing all the oil. You might also consider applying a small amount of your preferred oil to your skin after a shower to keep it soft and moist.
Oatmeal, banana, and almond oil mask:
Plant oils can have many benefits for the skin when applied topically. Among these are strengthening the skin’s barrier, healing wounds, and reducing inflammation. To soothe raw winter hands, mash two tablespoons of ground oatmeal, a quarter of a cup of banana, and one tablespoon of water. Coat the hands with the mixture and then rinse off after 10 minutes.
Apply Aloe Vera:
While often thought of as sunburn relief, Aloe Vera gel can also be helpful during the dry winter months as a natural moisturiser. It works by alleviating the redness and irritation related to excess dryness, and it can even decrease signs of aging, as well as acne breakouts and skin injuries.
Now that you have succeeded in restoring moisture to dry winter skin, try to follow these steps to avoid a relapse. Make moisturising a part of your daily skin care routine, and for extra dry skin, consider an ointment or a cream with shea butter, hyaluronic acid, or jojoba oil. Develop other skin-friendly bathing habits like avoiding hot showers and baths and limit your overall bathing time to between five and 10 minutes, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Opt for a mild cleanser or liquid body wash, as regular bar soap can contain ingredients such as fragrances and preservatives that can be harsh to your skin. Finally, drink plenty of water as this will help your skin be more hydrated.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 9 February, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly