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The winter season can be particularly harsh on your dry skin. And conditions like eczema and dehydrated skin can make falling asleep a very difficult task.
This issue gets even more frustrating when you seem to be doing fine during the day, but feel your dry skin getting itchy during the night.
Hence, if you struggle with sleeping at night because of your irritated skin - you are at the right place. In this article, we will try to figure out the various reasons why this issue occurs and how you can build an effective bedtime self-care routine for treating dry skin. Let us begin!
The cold air during winter lacks humidity. In such cases, if your winter skin is already prone to dryness, the dry air can further aggravate your condition.
Less humidity can strip the naturally occurring moisture off, leading to flaky skin. The lack of humidity and moisture in your skin can also cause it to feel tighter and itchier, thereby affecting your sleep quality at night.
Nothing feels better than taking a hot shower when it is unbearably cold outside. However, it might be doing more harm than good to your dry skin. Extremely hot showers are known to strip your body off the natural oils that prevent your skin from drying out in winter.
As a result, if your bedtime routine includes a hot shower right before you sleep - you might end up making your dry skin worse. It is always advised to take showers with lukewarm water instead.
It is understandable to battle the freezing temperatures of the winter season by using room heating systems. However, it may contribute to drying your skin out in the longer run. Such systems are known to rip off the natural oils and moisture from the top layer of your skin, causing it to feel dry and itchy.
If you want to keep your room warm but not compromise on breaking your skin barriers, it is best to use a humidifier in your room. This device adds moisture to your room, which can help your skin retain moisture.
Since we do not sweat excessively during winter, it is very common to forget to keep ourselves hydrated. The consequences of this mistake directly affect our body’s health, including that of our skin. As a result, your skin might become dry and itchy.
Dehydration leads to less facilitation in the process of blood circulation. Hence, the skin appears tight and dry. So, drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated and ease dry skin conditions.
As mentioned above, a hot shower can strip off the natural oils from your skin - but warm showers don’t. It is a good idea to relax and soothe dry skin by taking a lukewarm shower before bed, such that your natural moisture is retained.
To take this a step further, you should consider adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender in your shower or bath. They can help you relax better by relieving stress from your body, promoting relaxation, and soothing your skin.
Studies suggest that lavender’s therapeutic properties make it act as a natural sedative and help improve conditions like insomnia. Thus, adding an oil infused with this herb can help you sleep better.
The process of moisturization should begin right when you start showering. The soaps and shower gels that you use should ideally be made of natural ingredients like honey and aloe vera. Such products are ideal for providing your skin with deep moisturization, thus resulting in less itchy and dry skin.
Next, you should also apply moisturizer on your damp skin to ensure that the hydration and moisture stay locked in your skin. It is best if you go for products that consist of ingredients like jojoba oil, cocoa, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and so on to ensure deep skin moisturization.
Studies have found that stress can also be a possible cause of dryness and itchiness since it breaks down the natural barrier of your skin. As a result, the skin doesn’t retain moisture for long, leading to skin irritation.
Further, prolonged stress can make your body release high amounts of cortisol hormone. This can lead to the breakdown of elastin and collagen in your skin, which can compromise its elasticity. Hence, you may face issues such as itchy and dry skin.
A great way to combat dry skin in such cases is to meditate before bed. It can help you calm down your mind, put an end to racing thoughts, and can help promote the overall mental relaxation of your body. You can try out simple breathing techniques like mindful breathing right before you sleep.
The winter air does not show any mercy on your skin, but you can! Since sensitive skin gets dry in this weather, you should be as gentle as possible while treating it. A great way of doing the same can be using soft towels to gently pat your skin dry after taking a bath.
Apart from that, you should avoid using harsh soaps and products with harsh chemicals and strong fragrances. Either (or both!) of them can trigger your skin barrier and promote unnecessary breakouts. Hence, it is best to only use gentle and fragrance-free products on your skin.
It seems pretty logical to scrub off the dry skin as soon as it starts appearing, right? Well, it may be one of the biggest skincare mistakes that you’ll ever commit!
It is advised to exfoliate only once or twice a week at most to remove dead skin cells. Over-exfoliation can potentially lead to damaged skin cells and barriers, which will only cause more skin dryness and itchiness.
Another common mistake that people make while treating dry and itchy winter skin is going for the first moisturizer that they come across. You should carefully consider the needs of your skin cells, and only then make a suitable choice.
For instance, if you struggle with extremely dry skin - lightweight moisturizers may not add enough moisture to your skin. On the other hand, if you have oily and acne-prone skin, heavy moisturizers may worsen your condition. It is best to assess what your skin needs at the moment, and then go for moisturizers that cater to your specific needs.
One of the most frustrating consequences of having dry skin is that constant winter itch. While scratching your skin might provide you with temporary relief from the itch, it can damage your skin barrier in the longer run.
For people who struggle with a strong flare of conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis in the winter season, it is especially important to not scratch their skin. Doing so can spread germs and bacteria, thus worsening the symptoms. If you feel like scratching, it is best to try distracting yourself by doing something else like reading. Or, you can also apply over the counter itch creams for relief.
While we always remember to moisturize our faces and necks, we often end up forgetting to care for our hands and feet. It is especially important to moisturize and maintain them because they are the most exposed parts of the body during the winter season.
You should ensure that your hands and feet are always moisturized. To do so, you can either use the same moisturizer that you use for the rest of your body or invest in hand and feet moisturizing cream.
Don’t skip applying SPF on your skin, especially during winters! Make sure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen right before you step out of your house. Such creams prevent harmful UV rays from penetrating your skin, thus preventing compromised skin barriers that lead to dryness and itchiness.
An important point to note here is that you should not apply sunscreens only on your face. Make sure to apply them on your neck, hands, and every region exposed to your surroundings. It is advised to stick to reputed brands that provide SPF ranging between 30 and 50.
You don’t just breathe through your nose, your skin cells need to breathe too. If you wear tight and uncomfortable clothes to bed, there is a high chance that your skin won’t feel comfortable, which can further lead to dry and itchy skin. The best way to avoid this is by wearing loose and comfortable night clothes.
Although it is tempting to wear warm and heavy clothes in winter while going to bed, it is better to avoid doing so. This is because if you sweat at night, it may worsen dry skin! Ideally, your night dresses should be made up of breathable fabrics like cotton and should be loose-fitted.
As mentioned above, dehydration is a common cause of itchy and dry skin. Hence, one of the best ways to prevent this issue is drinking lots of water throughout the day and staying hydrated. You can also add fluid supplements like herbal teas to your diet for extra hydration.
It is quite common to forget drinking water during winter since you don’t feel hot or thirsty enough. If you struggle with this issue, it is best to wear a smartwatch that can remind you to drink water from time to time. You can also keep a glass and jar of water beside your bed to remind yourself to stay hydrated.
Many people use fabric softeners to make their clothes feel soft and reduce harshness. However, if you use them often - they might also be the factors to blame for your winter dry skin.
Most fabric softeners comprise chemicals such as methylisothiazolinone and glutaral, that are known to trigger conditions like asthma and skin allergies. Hence, it is best to skip the step of adding fabric softeners to your clothes as much as possible.
Water is not the only way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. There are many lifestyle changes that you can introduce to your daily schedule to treat itchy and dry skin, especially during the winter season. One of the best ways to do so is by switching to a healthier diet.
Your diet should be rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep your skin healthy. You should eat a lot of fruits throughout the day and avoid processed snacks like chips. It is also strongly advised that you sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours every night so that your skin gets enough time to repair and replenish itself.
In this article, we discussed the various aspects of bedtime self-care that you should carry out to avoid dry and itchy winter skin. The causes for this issue can be anything from prolonged exposure to low humidity levels, hot baths, or room heating systems.
The best ways to deal with the problem are to stick to warm showers, moisturize your body properly, and use skin care products like sunscreen and essential oils (if they suit you). You should also consider meditating before bed to relieve any mental stress that might be causing itchy skin.
Furthermore, incorporating the necessary lifestyle changes and wearing comfortable clothes to bed are a few preventative measures that you can take to achieve a good night’s sleep. Hopefully, this guide to creating an effective skin-care routine will help you treat your itchy and dry skin!