This article first came out in ShanghaiMamas.org on January 5, 2016
"Every month we present to you, No-Nonsense Mommy Tips by Columnist Carol Ong who touches everyday parenting dilemmas that we all face." -SHMAMAS ED
Shanghai winter isn’t kind to our skin. I see people everywhere scratching their faces, or having red leathery patches on their skin, or their lips looking painfully dry and flaky. These are usually caused by the cold weather, and air pollution going off the charts in winter.
In my 10 winters in Shanghai, I’ve collected surefire ways to soothe itchy winter dry skin woes.
1. Get a Humidifier.
Shanghai’s main heating system is air conditioning. This, and the cold weather, are water vampires that suck so much moisture from our bodies. Before long, skin feels leathery and uncomfortable. Throats get parched and you start having scratchy dry cough. Nose bleed can occur more often too. Get a humidifier and a simple humidity meter,these will help a lot.
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2. Drink plenty of water
“Do you notice we pee more often in winter? The body tries to reduce water to retain body heat. We must drink enough water to avoid dehydration,” according to Dr. Michael Ong of Sun-tec Medical Center. Put a jug of water on your desk, to remind you how much more you need to gulp down.Avoid sugary drinks, they will just make you more thirsty.
Taobao keyword: 水果杯子
3. Limit baths
Who doesn’t love lingering in a soothing warm bath? But staying too long will strip off your natural oils. Stay only for 10 to 15 minutes tops. And moisturize within 3 minutes of getting out.
4. Properly manage skin
Does your skin feel blah even if you’ve chugged down the whole water tank? Your skin may be damaged by the weather or pollution, leaving gaps in your skin’s protective lipids barrier. Moisturize intensively with Super Nourishing Moisturize (eg: Bebebalm Natural Super Nourishing Moisturizer), at least twice a day. It quickly calms itchy, flaky winter dry skin; even the most chapped lips. It helps restore skin’s natural lipids on the outside, and absorbs deeply nourishes with skin nutrients.
Taobao keyword: Bebebalm
5. Avoid wool and scratchy materials
Wool or synthetic materials could trigger contact dermatitis (eczema) on sensitive skin. If you or your baby is allergic to these, stick to natural fibers such as cotton.
6. Do NOT Scratch
Dr. Michael Ong explains, “Scratching releases histamine in the body that makes you itch even more. Even if you take antihistamines, the itching may not stop until you hold your claws.” Besides, scratching also damages skin and it could leave scars or dark spots.(If it’s your baby who keeps scratching, put socks on his hands. They stay on better than mittens.)
Hope these help! Happy Holidays!