Posted January 7, 2015
During the winter months, it’s common to have problems with dry skin. Maybe your hands are rough and chapped, your face feels tight and itchy or your legs have a snake-skin pattern. Dry skin occurs when air temperatures are cold, humidity is low or you’re dehydrated. Review these dry skin prevention and hydration tips.
Prevent dry skin
- Eat the right foods – Your diet can affect your skin. Researchers recommend eating foods high in omega-3 essential fatty acids that are naturally found in nuts, greens and fish.
- Use warm vs. hot water – Blood vessels expand in hot water and release moisture. To improve hydration, take a warm shower or bath for up to 10 minutes and keep the bathroom door shut.
- Choose gentle skin products – Avoid lotions with harsh chemicals that can dry skin. If you use an exfoliator, choose one that is high in lactic acid.
- Avoid scents – While scented lotions and laundry products smell great, the chemicals can irritate and cling to your skin. Choose fragrance-free lotions, soaps and detergents as an alternative.
- Try coconut oil – Researchers recommend using virgin coconut oil as an alternative to your favorite lotion. Studies show that coconut oil locks in moisture, which is important for those with extremely dry skin.
In addition to dry skin, several common health problems may be caused by dehydration, such as bad breath, fever, food cravings and headaches.
Consider these four tips to improve hydration:
- Drink water – Sip water throughout the day. To encourage the habit, add a splash of naturally flavored seltzer or slices of fresh fruit. Or, drink unsweetened flavored tea.
- Drink beverages at cool or room temperature – Scientists explain that when you drink cold water, it sits in your stomach until it warms up. Fluids that are cool or at room temperature are easier for the body to absorb.
- Choose healthy snacks – Select foods with high water content, such as yogurt, smoothies, celery with peanut butter, cut veggies or fresh fruit.
- Eat more fruits and veggies – Produce is naturally high in water, fiber and vitamins. Nutritionists say fruits and vegetables should cover at least half of your plate at mealtime.