Maintaining Skin Health During Dry Winter Months
As we head into the winter season, it's routine to focus on common ailments like the cold and flu, but the dryness during these months can wreak havoc on our skin, the largest body organ. And it’s not only the largest organ but one of the most complicated as well.
Skin plays a critical role in protecting the highly regulated systems within our bodies, and it also aids in temperature regulation, immune defense and vitamin production. But our skin is susceptible to all sorts of different disorders. From eczema to acne and even more serious conditions like skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the U.S., it’s crucial to take measures to protect your skin.
Understanding our skin structure
Our skin is formed by three distinct layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin and plays a critical role in protecting our bodies from harm. It also keeps our bodies hydrated, produces new skin cells and contains melanin.
The middle layer, the dermis, supports the epidermis in protecting our body. It’s also what allows us to feel different sensations and is responsible for producing sweat and hair. And the final layer is the hypodermis which insulates our bodies, stores energy and connects skin to our muscles and bones. By working together, these three layers allow our skin to perform its normal day-to-day functions.
Moisture is key
When the skin is dry, it can become irritated, itchy, and prone to redness and flakiness. Moisturizing the skin helps prevent dryness and maintain skin hydration by forming a barrier on the skin's surface to help lock in moisture and prevent it from evaporating. Moisturizing daily can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, improve skin texture and make the skin feel softer and smoother.
To avoid losing moisture your skin already holds, limit time in the shower and try to use warm versus hot water. Other measures that will help keep your skin hydrated include increasing your daily water intake and adding moisture to your home with a humidifier.
Diet plays a large part
A healthy, balanced diet can help support your overall health, including skin health. Fruits and vegetables are essential for healthy skin because they are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that help nourish and protect the skin.
Some specific nutrients that contribute to skin health include vitamins A, C, E and zinc. In addition to getting enough of these nutrients, limiting your intake of processed and sugary foods is important for preventing inflammation and other skin issues.
Support skin health with probiotics
Probiotics can improve skin health from the inside out by balancing the microbiome, or the community of microorganisms that live on the skin, and boosting the immune system, which can help protect skin from external threats such as pollutants and toxins.
A daily supplement that combines probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes can help reduce inflammation, breakouts, and other skin issues like cystic acne. Probiotics can also boost the immune system, which can help protect the skin from external threats such as pollutants and toxins.
Maintaining healthy skin during dry months requires a combination of lifestyle habits and skincare practices. Following these tips can help keep skin healthy and hydrated–even during the dry winter months.
Bio: Justin Marsh is the Founder and CEO of Arthur Andrew Medical, a leading manufacturer of enzyme and probiotic-based dietary supplements, headquartered in Scottsdale.