This post was written by Dr. John O’Shea, an Irish GP with a special interest in dermatology and co-founder of Good Pharma Dermatology, which has launched Suu Balm™ in the UK.
Dry, itchy and eczema prone skin can be one of the biggest sources of frustration and annoyance, as anyone with a skin condition will tell you. It can be particularly troublesome during the winter months, as the harsh colder and dryer weather can lead to itchiness and cracking.
Dryness can affect all parts of the body, and it’s not just a result of the weather outside. The heat as soon as you step indoors can dry out the skin leading to flaky, cracked and inflamed skin.
So why does this happen? In simple terms your skin’s natural lipid barrier that stops moisture escaping has broken down. Fix that barrier as fast as possible and avoid whatever caused the break down and you are on the way to long term relief.
Below are my top 10 tips on how you can look after your skin in the winter:
1. Get Specialist Advice
A skincare specialist can analyse your skin type, assess your current skincare regimen and advise you on the products you should be using. Specialists are not just found on beauty counters, but local pharmacists have staff specially trained to give skincare advice.
2. Moisturise More
You might have found a moisturiser that works for you in summertime, however as the weather changes in winter, the cold windy conditions on the skin means that your skin needs a little extra nurturing. Look for moisturisers that contain ceramides, which are key to repairing the damaged skin barrier of dry skin.
3. Avoid Dry Lips
During the winter months it is important to keep your lips hydrated, as this skin can get dehydrated just like any other skin on your body. Prevent your lips from drying out by using an intensive lip balm when you venture outside.
4. Helping Hands
The skin on your hands is very thin and likely to dry out, so it is important to moisturise your hands more frequently in the colder, harsher winter months. Wearing gloves and avoiding going outside with wet hands is also helpful.
5. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks
Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin leading to itchy, cracked skin, which, over time can lead to a skin flare-up. Get waterproof gloves and shoes for winter to avoid the risk of skin irritatation.
6. Humidify your Home
Central heating systems work by blasting hot, dry air into your home, which can dry out your skin. Humidifiers place moisture into the air, preventing skin dryness.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
The average person’s skin does not reflect the amount of water they have drunk. Drinking water is a good contributor to your overall health, which will reflect in the condition of your skin. Eight glasses a day is the recommended total.
8. Support Your Feet
In winter your feet get cold and dry, so you need to support them with a strong moisturiser. Find creams that contain glycerine and urea, and apply them often and liberally – the thicker skin of the heels in particular needs this. Exfoliating dead skin periodically can help your moisturiser sink in faster and deeper.
9. Get Behind the Mask
If your skin is dry, particularly your face, avoid using harsh masks, peels and alcohol-based toners. These will strip your skin of essential oils. Instead use mild cleansers, which means those that do not contain soap, SLS or SLES. Go for deep hydrating over clay-based masks and alcohol-free toner. For your moisturiser, try to find one with fewer, high quality ingredients; again ceramides are great for skin repair.
10. Take Lukewarm BathsOn cold nights a hot bath can be welcoming but the intense heat breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. A lukewarm bath with added oatmeal or baking soda can help sooth dry skin. After bathing pat the skin dry and moisturise all over.
So, what next?If your skin barrier has broken down, getting that barrier back in place as fast as possible, is the best thing you can do give your skin a fighting chance to heal underneath.
Suu Balm™ provides rapid itch relief to break the itch-scratch cycle to prevent further damage from scratching. It contains menthol, which has both soothing and cooling properties and induces a significant reduction in itch, and ceramides, which repair the natural skin barrier, restoring the skin's natural moisture. This unique combination sets Suu Balm™ apart from other moisturisers.