Does your skin get flaky, itchy, scaly, or irritated when the weather gets cold? Are you worried about your dull, sallow, or devitalized appearance this time of year? If so, you likely have dehydrated skin and a buildup of dead skin cells. This uncomfortable condition tends to be more prevalent in the winter months, with over 80 million Americans complaining of dry and itchy skin between the months of November and March.* Dehydration and irritation can occur regardless of skin type. Read on to learn the causes of dry flaky skin and how to treat this skin concern.
What causes dry flaky skin?
There are many factors that contribute to dry flaky skin. As we age, our ability to retain moisture slowly diminishes, so dry skin often gets worse with time. Our ability to shed dead skin cells also decreases over time, causing skin to become dull and flaky. Other factors include poor diet, allergies, medications, improper skin care habits, and not drinking enough water.
Pro tip: to check for dehydration, gently lift up on the surface of your skin. If you see tiny horizontal lines above where you've lifted, you'll know that the skin is dehydrated. Check over several parts of the face.
Seasonal changes also have an immense impact on skin. Due to decreased humidity, frigid winter weather wreaks havoc by robbing your skin of naturally lubricating lipids and much needed moisture. Blustery winds and forced heated air only make matters worse.
How to fix dry flaky skin
To treat a dry flaky face and "winter-proof" your skin, you need to deliver emollient moisture to your skin cells. However, it can be difficult for moisturizing ingredients to penetrate dry flaky skin due to the dead and rough skin cells at the surface. Exfoliate this upper "crust" of flaky skin before using other products, so a surge of moisture can be delivered deep into your skin. If you skip essential exfoliation, you're stuck with a flat, dull complexion, so click here to find the best exfoliator for you. Once you exfoliate dead skin away, use these dry skin saviors:
Dealing with dry flaky skin on legs or other parts of your body? Use products specifically designed to smooth skin neck-to-toes.
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*The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) via Skin Inc magazine
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