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4 tips for healthier winter skin

Colder temps and blistering winds can take a toll on your skin this time of year. While we often worry about sun exposure during summer months, winter conditions can be just as damaging.

But winter doesn’t have to mean dry, itchy or irritated skin. Here are four ways to protect your skin during the cold months, and keep it healthier in the future.

1. Moisturize daily

The air is cold and dry during the winter, which means there's less moisture in the air and less water for your skin to absorb. To make up the loss, be sure to moisturize your skin daily during the winter months. If you have very dry skin, specialized moisturizers can help. If your skin is severely dry, an Indigo provider can recommend additional treatments.

2. Turn down the heat

Everyone loves a long, hot shower during the cold winter months. While it may feel great, it isn't good for your skin. Showering or bathing with hot water can strip your skin of natural moisture that keeps it hydrated, healthy and protected. And extended periods in or under hot water may cause severe irritation.

Take short showers or baths with warm rather than very hot water, limit duration to about 5 to 10 minutes and use a moisturizer immediately after. If your skin is still dry, ask a health care provider about next steps. 

3. Wear sunscreen

Just because you don’t see a glowing orb in the sky doesn’t mean you’re not still at risk for sun damage. Harmful UV rays are still there, even on cloudy days. And you live in an area where it snows, reflection of the sun's UV rays may cause more damage. Wear sunscreen year-round to protect your skin.

Apply the recommended SPF for your skin type before you head outside. It takes little as 15 minutes for unprotected skin to sustain sun damage. If sunscreen irritates your skin in the cold, ask an Indigo provider about the best options to protect your skin.

4. Drink up

Even through the winter months, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water has a ton health benefits, including healthier skin. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 11.5 cups a day for women and 15.5 cups a day for men.

That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind you get an average of 20 percent of water from the foods you eat. Warm tea is a great way to get hydrated (and soothe the soul) during the colder months.

Is it more than dry skin?

If your skin is itchy, covered in a rash, broken out or has unusual spots, there may be something more going on than just dry skin. You may have an infection, a chronic skin condition, or contact with an irritant or allergen. Though many skin conditions are minor and common, more serious ones requiring medical attention.

Skin irregularities that are typically symptoms of a skin disorder include:

  • An itchy or painful rash
  • Red or white raised bumps
  • Rough or scaly skin
  • Peeling skin
  • Ulcers
  • Open sores or lesions
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Discolored patches of skin
  • Fleshy bumps, warts or other skin growths
  • Changes in mole color or size
  • A loss of skin pigment
  • Excessive flushing

Indigo can help

The friendly providers at MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care can help get to the bottom of what’s getting under your skin, and make treatment recommendations or refer to you to a higher level of care as needed.

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