Skin deep

Updated: 2014-11-14 13:01

(Shanghai Star)

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Skin deep

Moisturizers, masks and humidifiers can all help in the battle against dry skin. Lu Ping/Shanghai Star

As the weather gets colder, our skin becomes drier. Wu Ni finds out how to keep your face fresh in winter.

As the chilly autumn winds take leaves from the trees, they also take away the moisture in the skin. On cold days, it is common for one to feel an uncomfortable dryness in the face, hands and feet. It is even worse for some people, when they get skin so dry it results in flaking and cracking.

Why does skin get dry and sensitive in winter? Research shows that humidity is lower in the cold air. And when it gets windy, the dry air strips moisture from the skin quicker than normal. Because the human metabolism is slower in cold weather, the blood flow to the skin and the secretion of sweat glands and oil producing glands also slows down. All this leads to the water content of the skin diminishing, and therefore skin cells become shrunken and dry. This produces a flaking of superficial skin cells.

Moisturizing the skin is always a hot topic in the cold season, says Bing Han, a skin care expert in Shanghai who founded China's first private skin test laboratory. He suggests some dos and don'ts to help prevent dry and chapped skin.

The first thing to do is to protect the skin's ability to retain moisture. Take shorter showers and use warm water instead of steaming hot — hot water removes the skin's natural oils more quickly than warm or cold water. Then, when you are out of the shower pat yourself dry, don't rub.

Avoid powerful cleansers or frequent scrubs and masks because they will harm the stratum corneum, making the skin weak and struggling to seal in moisture. Do not wash your face more than twice a day or leave the mask on your face for more than 20 minutes.

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