Winter tends to intensify skin dryness, which can be particularly challenging during perimenopause and menopause when the skin is already compromised due to fluctuating and declining hormones.
Physicians are aware that climatic conditions negatively affect the skin, but it’s not only outdoor elements such as the cold, dry air, and harsh winds that are detrimental. Indoor heating devices can also dry out the skin and cause signs of aging.
Reasons to Change Your Skincare Routine
Because the water content of the epidermis (outermost layer of skin) reflects the level of humidity around it, dry winter air can deplete your body’s moisture and hydration levels more quickly, and they will need to be replenished more often.
In winter your skin can be especially sensitive or irritated, coupled with the fact that our skin’s pH levels change during the menopausal transition (around 50 years of age), making our skin more sensitive. Products that would normally feel great on your face or body can turn into irritants. It is best to keep your skincare regimen simple and avoid overloading it with unnecessary products.
Symptoms of dry skin include:
⦁ Increased appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
⦁ Dull, lackluster skin
⦁ Skin feels “tight”
⦁ Flakiness or scaliness
⦁ Cracked, or raw, irritated skin
Tips to Prevent Dry Skin
Use Gentle Skincare Products
Using a moisturizer is the best way to rehydrate the epidermis and prevent water loss. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides which attract moisture, and peptides that help to reduce inflammation and lock in moisture. Moisturize several times a day, straight after bathing or washing your hands. Be sure to apply your SPF, even during winter.
Go Easy on Exfoliants and Scrubs
With dry flaky skin it can be tempting to exfoliate, but over-exfoliating, harsh ingredients, brushes, and rough cloths can damage your skin’s protective barrier causing moisture loss and even more dryness. Use a gentle chemical exfoliant rather than a physical scrub.
Use Warm Water and Limit Bath Time
Hot water will strip away your skin’s natural oils faster than lukewarm water and cause even more damage. Limit bathing to no more than once a day and no longer than five to 10 minutes. This should get you thoroughly washed without causing any skin damage. Blot your skin dry gently with a soft towel.
Use a Humidifier
You can’t always control what happens to your skin outside your home, but you can control the climate inside. A portable humidifier will add moisture back into the air which can help relieve parched and sensitive winter skin.
Eat and Drink for Hydration
Good nutrition can generate robust skin cells. Healthier, stronger skin cells retain more moisture and have a suppler form, so skin won’t crack with dryness. According to the Mayo Clinic, the adequate daily intake of fluid for women is about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) per day. Consider consuming healthy essential fats, like omega-3 and omega-6, as they are the building blocks for healthy skin cells in general — they form a protective shield, reinforcing the skin’s barrier.
Choose Fabrics that are Kind to Your Skin
Avoid extra physical irritation by wearing loose, natural fabrics such as cotton, and avoid washing your clothes in regular detergents. Instead, look for a detergent without dyes or perfumes and formulated for sensitive skin.
It’s not uncommon to experience dry skin during winter, and the key to keeping your skin healthy is to follow a simple, clean skincare routine using gentle products including an SPF. Make sure to drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and avoid hot baths and showers.
Reach out to your healthcare provider or dermatologist if your dry skin symptoms become worse, don’t improve, or if you have other concerns. It’s important to have regular check-ups during the menopausal transition to rule out any other issues.
NOTE: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. It should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.