Winter skin and hair care by Dr Fatima Mohammed, Dermatologist, Bangalore

Winter skin and hair care and how to overcome them.

Common skin issues being faced in winter

·         Dry and itchy skin
·         Increased irritation due to soaps and fragrances
·         Chapped lips
·         Exacerbation of skin conditions alike eczema , psoriasis, acne and rosacea.
·         Increased incidences of cold induced urticaria, a condition in which itchy bumps develop on a patch of skin making it irritable
·         Keratosis pilaris that are tiny red bumps on the upper arm and thigh can get aggravated and itchy in winter.
·         Episodes of vascular conditions like Reynolds disease where the fingers get blue, cyanosed and painful.

Common hair issues being faced in winter.

·         Dry itchy scalp.
·         Increase in hair fall due to scratching and reduced blood circulation associated with cold weather.
·         Infections like bacterial folliculitis and fungal infections.
·         Exacerbation of scalp conditions like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Tips and Tricks to combat winter skin and hair issues. 

·         8 – 12 liters of water and fruit juices to hydrate and nourish your skin. Drink even if you do not feel thirsty; don’t be bothered about increased trips to the washroom
·         Exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. To boost the blood circulation which is crucial for general health as well as skin health
·         A healthy diet rich in vitamins A, C, B-complex,. Minerals like calcium and Zinc along with plenty of nuts and seeds to replenish the body’s resources of Vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids which play an integral part in the skin barrier –hydrating mechanism.
·         Keep showers short.
·         Use only Luke-warm water.
·         Change your skin care to soap free, fragrance free cleansers and body washes.
·         A cup full of bath oil or emollient to be added to bath water.
·         Apply a good amount of inert, fragrance free, non-comedogenic moisturizer immediately after bath on slightly wet skin, pat dry.
·         Use sulphate free, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners.
·         Hydrating hair masks at least once a week.
·         Keep the body warm with adequate thermals.
·         When outdoors keep skin and hair covered and protected with gloves, scarfs, sunglasses.
·         Use a non-comedogenic vitamin enriched moisturizer and a good sunblock even in winter. Although the sun’s rays are less intense the dry skin can cause deeper damage cumulating to faster ageing of skin.
·         Apply any virgin oil over entire scalp and hair at least once a week.
·         Use anti-dandruff shampoos a couple of times a week on the scalp and let it work for 3-5 minutes to rid the scalp of the scales and fungal infection.
·         Use an exfoliating scrub at least once a week on your face and body to remove al the uneven dry, dead skin build up that happens in winter followed by good deep hydrating collagen body butter.