Winter brings changes in humidity and temperature that create havoc on the body and cause head-to-toe dryness. Your skin, eyes, and nasal passages will lose precious moisture. Here are just some of the discomforts that winter-induced dryness brings:
Older people, people who wear contacts, and women are more prone to developing dry eyes. While some people may suffer from this condition all year-round, these symptoms tend to be exacerbated in the dry winter. In winter months, moisture in the air drops outside, and moisture in the air inside drops as well because of indoor heating.
Winter colds and the flu can make your eyes itchy, watery, and red. Other things that may worsen this condition are prolonged looking at digital devices, and some medications that can decrease the ability of the lacrimal glands in the eyes to produce tears.
Does your nose feel dry and stuffy after the first frost and throughout the winter? Having parched nasal passages is common during the winter months when the humidity in the air decreases and we begin to spend more time indoors with our heaters on.
The dryness can also lead to cracks in the thin lining of the nose, exposing the fragile superficial vessels underneath and leading to nosebleeds.
With winter also comes the onslaught of dry, itchy, flaky skin that can sometimes develop into a rash. Some may even experience cracked lips.
The good news is there are many ways to combat winter-induced dryness. Fortunately with some easy remedies and expert tips, you can ensure your body is hydrated and your skin and mucous membranes are moisturized even during the cold winter months.
Use warm compress to soothe your dry eyes. Placing a warm compress over your eyes every morning can help unclog ducts to get tear production going and also help soothe irritated eyes.
Wear protective glasses. To protect your eyes from the sun, wind, and other elements, wear sunglasses or goggles. It's especially important to help prevent dry eyes in the winter.
Give your eyes a break from the screen. The average American adult spends about 11 hours a day in front of the computer screen. Aside from all the other health risks (weight problem, back pain, etc), sitting in front of a screen all day makes you blink less. Take regular breaks from staring at the screen. Close your eyes or blink a few times during these breaks.
Lubricate your skin and mucous membranes (eyes and nasal passages). Use artificial tears to relieve eye dryness. Over-the-counter eye drops can help relieve dry eye symptoms. But if you find you're using them too frequently to find relief, see an eye specialist about your symptoms.
Lubrication and keeping moisture in is also one of the most important elements of treating a winter nose and preventing nosebleeds. An OTC nasal moisturizer can help keep nasal passages lubricated. “My favorite nasal lubricant is coconut oil,” says Christie Barnes, MD, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) and sinus specialist with Nebraska Medicine. “As the only oil that is solid at room temperature then melts at body temperature, this is the perfect lubricant for protecting your nose from the drying effects of winter. I recommend using it once or twice a day, but particularly before you go to bed at night.”
Apply a moisturizer all over your skin several times throughout the day, paying special attention to drier areas like the elbows, knees, and feet.
Dress warmly. When you're cold, your body produces more heat, which can dry out your skin and mucous membranes. Make sure you're dressed in warm layers and take breaks to warm up if you're going to be outside for an extended period of time. It also helps to wear natural materials like cotton, as synthetic fabrics can itch and irritate sensitive skin, drying it out in the process.
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during the winter months. You may not feel as thirsty on a colder day but your skin does lose water regardless of the weather. Our body is made of 70 percent water, which keeps our cells plump and healthy. Increasing your fluid intake (not just water) during the winter time even when you aren't thirsty will help to hydrate your body from the inside out. Avoid consuming caffeinated beverages which make you lose more water.
Avoid hot baths and showers. Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, so bathe in lukewarm water instead. If you need a little extra relaxation, add some soothing aromatherapy oils to your bathtub.
Use a humidifier. Fireplaces and gas heaters can be drying during the winter, using a humidifier can help replace lost moisture in the air. A whole home humidifier can be utilized throughout the house or, if that is cost prohibitive, a small, portable unit at your bedside overnight will help. It’s especially helpful to sleep with one on overnight, when your body is doing its deepest restorative work.
When you use a Navien Mate Water Heated Mattress Pad, you can reduce the need for heat systems in your house. The heated mattress pad keeps the moisture in the air where it belongs.
Navien Mate also uses only 100% pure cotton without any fluorescent bleaching and dyeing treatment that can harm your skin. Our bed warmers have been rigorously tested to ensure that they meet the FDA standard and have passed both the Primary Skin Irritation Test and the Cytotoxicity Assessment, so you can rest assured that it's gentle on your skin.
With winter in full swing, make sure to take these necessary precautions to keep yourself healthy and hydrated. Subscribe to our blog and get more tips on how you can improve your chances of staying healthy (and well-rested) all year round!