It wasn’t there in August, but it suddenly appears in December – the itchy, dry, flaky skin that has you scratching all season long. In fact, over 80 million Americans say their skin gets dry and itchy between the months of November and March.*
When your skin is functioning healthy, it’s comprised of approximately 25% water. It naturally loses this water throughout the day through a process called TransEpidermal Water Loss – or TEWL. But during the winter months, when the humidity drops (and you add in forced heated air and blustery winds), TEWL increases, as the atmosphere actually pulls moisture out of your skin. When the percentage of water in your skin falls below 10%, the amount of skin-lubricating lipids in your skin decrease as well, and you begin to experience dryness, flakiness, a tight feeling – and the dreaded itchy winter skin.
Winter itch happens when there’s less water in the skin, and fewer lipids to lubricate and protect it. So take steps to prevent it now, and keep your skin comfortable, soft and healthy all season long.
Use a formula that will comfort and hydrate dry skin with ultra-gentle cleansers and essential oils. (For face: Try Moisture Positive Cleanser or Sensitive Skin Cleanser; For body: Try Comfortably Clean or Vitalization Rich Intensity Body Cleanser)
Moisturizing Winter Itch has two objectives – immediate comfort and long term hydration. (For face: Try Really Rich Moisture or Calmitude Sensitive Skin Moisture; For body: Try Extremely Emollient Daily Body Creme or Vitaliztion Rich Intensity Body Creme)
Exfoliate Dead Cells
When skin gets dry, it no longer exfoliates properly on its own, so dead cells can build up and cause dullness and flakiness. (For face: try Quick Refiner; For body, try the Dry Brush Body Smoothing System)
Dry Skin Professional Tips:
- Don’t bathe in water that’s too hot – it will rob skin of moisture. Dial back the temperature to warm, not super hot.
- Watch the clock – don’t take baths or showers that are too long. Lounging in the tub may feel relaxing, but your skin will pay the price.
- Protect against itchy fibers. Some fabrics like wool can make skin itch even more. Avoid them or wear a soft layer in-between.
- Be prepared for the outdoors: wrap yourself up in a scarf, gloves and other good winter wear to protect your skin from winter.
- Use a humidifier indoors to add moisture to the air and keep skin comfortable. Aim for a moisture level inside between 40% and 50%.
- Talk to a professional – visit a skin care professional at a Bioelements spa to address your winter skin, and all the seasonal changes you experience throughout the year.
Have you experienced Winter Itch? Tell me about it in the comments!
*The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) via Skin Inc magazine