Why is the Skin Often Dry and Cracked in Winter and How to Prevent

Best Tips to Prevent and Care for Dry Skin in Winter

During winters, our skin and hair start to feel dry and undernourished.
During winters, our skin start to feel dry and undernourished.

Dry skin is a very common skin condition that can affect anyone and is characterized by a lack of an appropriate amount of water in the epidermis of the skin. In most cases, cracked, dry skin does not cause serious health problems but can lead to some difficult-to-treat dermatological complications such as eczema, secondary bacterial infections, inflammation of the tissues. cells, skin discoloration…

1.Why is the Skin Dry and Cracked in Winter?

The structure of the skin consists of 3 layers, arranged from the outside to the inside:

♦ Epidermis: The main protective barrier of the skin, covered with water and lipids (emulsions). This hydrolipid film has the effect of maintaining sweat and sebum secretion to keep the skin soft, against bacteria and fungi from the outside.

♦ Dermis: The main structure that makes up the dermis is collagen fibers, elasticity and connective tissues, which help keep the skin healthy and flexible. These structures are tightly bound to a gel-like substance (containing hyaluronic acid), which is highly effective in binding with water molecules to help maintain the skin's volume.

♦ Subcutaneous tissue layer: Consists of fat (glued together as a protective cushion); collagen fibers (which hold fat cells together) and blood vessels; has the function of generating energy of the body, acts like a cushion to insulate.

With such a structure, one can imagine epidermal cells stacked on top of each other, held together by a lipid-rich "glue" that helps keep skin cells flat and smooth. Dehydration occurs more rapidly when this glue is peeled off under sun damage, washing, excessive rubbing, or the low humidity of winter causing chapped, dry, and flaky skin.

Some causes of cracked, dry skin in the cold season can be mentioned as:

Weather: The sudden change of weather to winter makes the skin not able to adapt to the cold climate, low humidity and dry wind... so, the skin easily loses water, surface Skin becomes dry and lifeless. This is also the main cause of cracked, dry skin in winter.

Drink less water: The colder it is, the drier the skin is, this is due to increased transepidermal water loss in cold weather. Moreover, because it is cold, everyone is afraid to drink water, often waits for thirst to drink, so the less water supplied to the skin, the more prone to cracking the skin.

♦ Hot baths, scrubs, strong detergents: Hot baths will help the body feel warmer and more comfortable in winter. However, if you shower with hot water for a long time, it will easily cause the natural lipid layer on the skin to be lost, leading to rough and flaky skin. Besides, some soap products with too strong detergent properties also remove the lipid layer that makes up this skin barrier.

Ultraviolet rays: Many people subjectively think that in winter there will be no UV rays, so it is not necessary to protect the skin under direct sunlight like in the summer. However, in reality, ultraviolet rays are still active and have a bad effect on the skin in winter.

2.Expression of Dry Skin

- Sometimes itching without skin damage.

- The skin is inflamed and red, with inflammatory papules, scratches, sometimes into red inflamed patches.

- Dry skin, with less dry flakes, more severe condition is peeling facial skin.

- Feet and hands are dry, rough, rough, skin lines are prominent, sometimes there are deep cracks, pain or worse, may bleed.

If left untreated, it can lead to dangerous complications such as:

Atopic dermatitis (eczema): This is a condition that causes redness, cracking, and inflammation.

Cellulitis: This is a bacterial infection of the tissues beneath the skin that can enter the lymphatic system and blood vessels causing danger.

3.Best Methods to Prevent and Treat Cracked Skin in Winter Effectively

How to Prevent and Treat Dry Skin in Winter
How To Take Care Of Dry Skin

In general, there are two main approaches to the treatment of dry skin: minimizing irritants and adequately moisturizing the skin.

Minimizing irritants

- Do not bathe for too long with very hot water as this can strip the natural lipids and natural moisturizing factors that can escape from the skin, reducing its ability to retain moisture.

Avoid using cleaning products that are too strong, contain alcohol or other drying agents.

Avoid wearing woolen fabrics or fabrics that are likely to cause skin irritation.

- Use sunscreen regularly: In winter, the days are shorter and there is less sunlight, so many people often forget to apply sunscreen in the morning. However, experts advise that even in winter, harmful UV light can have an adverse effect on the skin's moisture barrier.

So the best option is to apply an extra layer of sunscreen every morning after you have applied your moisturizer. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. If you have dry skin, choose a cream-based sunscreen rather than a gel or lotion. Choose a sunscreen that's made for dry skin and has hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Absolutely do not use sunscreens containing alcohol or parabens because they can make the problem of dry skin worse.

- Do not abuse exfoliating: Cracked, rough, dehydrated skin in winter needs to be exfoliated. However, this remedy can deplete moisture and worsen irritation.

If peeling or redness occurs when exfoliating, change to a gentler exfoliation formula with lactic acid, fruit acids, or scrubs with circular jojoba beads, which are less likely to irritate the skin. dehydration of the skin.

Avoid using stronger acids like glycolic acid and harsh physical exfoliants like sugar and salt. Use a towel to gently dry your face and body instead of rubbing, to avoid scratching the skin. No matter how severe your dryness is, scratching can damage the surface of your skin and cause your skin to lose more moisture. Instead, apply a moisturizing ointment or balm to the area to immediately soothe and protect the skin and prevent chapped skin.

Treat chapped, dry skin by fully moisturizing the skin

This is the first and most important step in caring for dry, chapped skin. You need to distinguish between the concepts of moisturizing, moisturizing, and emollient to know how to handle in each appropriate situation.

- Humectant: Has the effect of attracting and retaining water to the skin, improving hydration in the stratum corneum. These active ingredients have the ability to remove moisture from the air to add moisture to the skin. Commonly used moisturizing ingredients are: Glycerin or Glycerol, Hyaluronic acid (HA), PEG (Polyethylnene glycol), Sodium PCA: salt of Pyrrolidone Carbonic, Propylene G.

In addition to applying moisturizing products from the outside, you also need to pay special attention to replenishing the necessary amount of water for the body in a day. Alternatively, you can also use an indoor humidifier in the winter to replenish the top layer of the epidermis with water.

- Humectants: Simply put, these moisture-locking ingredients will have to create a film that covers the surface of the skin, helping to keep water from being lost. Some substances in the group such as: Vaseline, petrolatum, wax, oil, silicone... These humectants can cause skin congestion and clogged pores, so it is important to pay attention not to use it alone, but to combine it with a moisturizer. and humectants to enhance moisturizing effect, increasing skin's ability to nourish by capturing and retaining moisture from the environment.

Emollients: These are substances that are able to fill in the gaps between the skin cells and scales. These active ingredients are usually lipids, lipids or have water- and oil-retaining properties in the stratum corneum as well as support the epidermis and lipid layers in linking skin cells, limiting water loss and create overall consensus.

In addition, it is possible to add some vitamins and minerals to prevent cracked and dry skin in winter: Vitamins C, D, A, E, K, B5... The use of these vitamins also requires consultation of the doctor. doctor to avoid possible risks when used improperly.

4.Tips: Using Anti-Cracking Cream

For severe dry skin, your doctor may prescribe topical creams containing lactic acid, urea to moisturize the skin, remove scales, or ointments containing low concentrations of corticosteroids (such as 1% or 2.5 hydrocortisone). %) helps to resolve the symptoms of redness, swelling, pain.

Although the frequency of undesirable effects is lower than when used in the systemic route (oral, injection), topical corticosteroids can still cause side effects on the skin such as dryness, skin atrophy, red skin. flushing, hirsutism… and some systemic side effects, especially when used on a large area of ​​skin. Side effects may be more common when used in children because the child's skin is still immature and the drug can be absorbed into the bloodstream causing unwanted systemic effects.

To avoid unwanted allergic side effects when using anti-cracking cream, you should test it on the surface of the back of your hand for 15 minutes, if there is no reaction, then apply it on your face. In addition, it is necessary to avoid perfumed, alcohol-containing creams because they can make the skin more dry and increase the risk of allergies.

5.What to Eat to Prevent Cracked, Dry Skin in Winter?

- Green vegetables, fresh fruits: Strengthening green vegetables and fresh fruits to help the body stay healthy, increase resistance, anti-aging, beautiful skin, smooth, help skin not dry, chapped.

- Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines: Contains abundant vitamins A and C, increases resistance, retains water and plumps the skin. Besides, it helps to promote collagen formation and slow down the effects of free radicals.

- Banana: Vitamins A, B, C, D, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, fiber ... in bananas help fight wrinkles and moisturize the skin.

- Tomatoes: Contains a lot of B vitamins to help restore skin, youthful skin, anti-aging, limit dry skin, cracked skin.

- Beans, peanuts, sesame: Provides many vitamins such as vitamin E, B1, B2, calcium ... to help beautiful and smooth skin.

- Chicken eggs: Contains a lot of protein to help promote the process of skin regeneration and keep the skin elastic. Eggs are also not rich in vitamin E, which helps fight aging and prevent sagging skin.

- Cold-water fish: Salmon, tuna, herring, and cod are rich in omega 3 and omega 6, which help reduce inflammation and retain moisture in the skin. This is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, which help keep the skin moisturized, soft, brighter, and free from dryness.

- Green Tea: Rich in antioxidants, helps reduce inflammation, slows down DNA damage and helps prevent sunburn.

- Water: Drink enough water to avoid chapped, dry, dehydrated skin. On average, you should drink 2-2.5 liters/day.

- Olive oil: Fatty acids in olive oil help fight inflammation, anti-aging, maintain smooth skin, retain water and protect skin from pigmentation.

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