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Winter Health: Dry Skin and Hair Remedies

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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

Dryness is a consistent and widespread problem during the winter. It seems strange that a season when water falls from the sky, can cause so much dryness!

There are many reasons that our skin tends to get more dry during the winter. Firstly, the humidity lowers drastically during the wintertime, reducing the moisture in the air outside and in the home, thus causing dryness. Many of us also get more exposure to cold, drying wind during the winter.

The good news is that seasonal dryness isn’t a serious medical condition. Sure it can be unsightly, itchy and uncomfortable. But if you take care of it, you can avoid the itchy, flakey, cracked skin and even enjoy a comfortable winter suit.

Although seasonal dryness isn’t serious, extreme dry skin can result in dermatitis, in which red, inflamed, itchy and scaly patches may appear. Severe dry skin that appears to have crust, puss, or inflammation should be treated with the help of a dermatologist or family doctor.

The itchy stuff that most of us deal with during the winter, however, can be treated with a little TLC:

Switch to creams instead of sticking with the lotions you’ve been using year-round. Lotions are mostly water based and don’t do much to help really dry skin.

Avoid overly hot showers. Although that’s what we want in the wintertime, hot water can strip away the oils in our skin and dry us out.

If it’s the hot water you crave, take a bath instead! Add moisturizers like colloidal oatmeal and essential oils.

Avoid deodorant soaps that can strip the moisture from your skin. Switch to something that promotes moisture.

After a shower or bath, make sure to moisturize with your new, thick and hydrating cream. Just-wet skin is the prime time to apply moisturizer.

Hydrate from the inside out. This is a great time to practice drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

For dry hair:

Avoid soaking your hair in scalding hot showers. In addition to causing dryness, hot water can open up the hair cuticles, stripping away moisture. A little cold water will make your hair look soft, shiny, and less frizzy.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.