Humidity gets all the headlines in Bradenton skincare, but we do have drier winter months like the rest of the country. And no matter what your friends in Nevada or Minnesota have to say about “real dry weather,” our bodies are products of our environments. Floridians can feel the difference.
So when the southwest Florida air dries out in January/February/March, it’s natural for your skin to feel dry, too—especially if you’re a year-round resident.
But is the weather to blame or is the call coming from inside the house?
Here’s how to tell if it’s winter dryness, dehydration, or both.
Why do we always need to worry about hydration?
Whole-body hydration comes from consuming liquids, which are then distributed throughout your body. The human body is about 60% water, after all, and you need to constantly maintain that moisture for everything to work right—including your skin.
All of your body’s processes use up water that needs to then be replaced. This includes flushing contaminants out of your system, but you also lose water just through contact with the air. Your respiratory system needs moisture to maintain its membranes, so you can actually become more dehydrated just by breathing more quickly.
Your skin also needs moisture to maintain its pliability so it can keep a strong barrier between your insides and the rest of the world.
So your body isn’t a reservoir so much as a sieve. The water keeps leaving, and you need to keep the flow going. It’s always just passing through.
Why does my skin feel so dry in winter?
Even though skin gets its moisture from inside your own body as well as from the air, you can only really feel it on the outside, right? That’s because that’s where your nerve endings are.
This time of year, dry air is sucking moisture from your outermost layers of skin first. So even if that’s the only part of your skin that’s dry, it’s going to feel stiff, itchy, and/or flaky.
If you’re acclimated to Florida humidity, your body has learned that these outermost layers usually aren’t a priority. There’s often so much moisture in the air that your body doesn’t need to constantly replenish this part of the skin. (Overhydrating in humidity is like that scene in Fantasia where the broom keeps bringing more and more water even though the cauldron is overflowing.)
Plus, your skin is going to feel super-dry when you touch it, too. That’s (in part) because the skin on your hands and fingertips is also dry. You’re touching dry skin to dry skin.
What happens if my skin is dry from dehydration?
Dehydrated skin can feel a lot like winter dryness. Your skin might feel brittle or stiff, and it might just look a lot duller than usual.
Of course, as we noted above, you can’t really feel your skin’s moisture levels anywhere else but on its outermost surfaces, where the nerves are. But you don’t want to address only the outermost layers if the problem actually goes deeper. That won’t fix anything.
Still, there are other ways to test for dehydration in your skin.
Most commonly, medical professionals will know the phrase “skin turgor.” This refers to your skin’s ability to move and stretch, while still bounce back to its original shape, like really supple elastic.
To test your skin’s turgor, you can simply pinch a bit of skin on your forearm or the top of your hand. If the skin keeps that pinched shape even after you’ve let it go, then you have a hydration problem that is, so to speak, more than skin deep.
How to Hydrate Skin from the Inside
Dehydrated? Drink more water. Once it passes your lips, your body should handle getting it from your stomach to your skin.
Of course, if dehydration becomes a common problem, speak to your physician. Electrolyte imbalances are no joke, and it is possible to drink so much water that you dilute the other valuable nutrients in your blood.
Make sure you’re eating enough healthy meals—including plenty of protein!—to accompany your hydration efforts. And again, speak to your physician about chronic dehydration.
How to Hydrate Skin from the Outside
Fortunately, treating skin from the outside is one of our specialties here at Bellagena. Moisturizer is almost always a must, but there are a lot of moisturizers on the market! Some of them will work for you and some of them won’t be ideal for your skin. (And, let’s face it, some moisturizing products are the market are just bad and won’t work for anybody.)
When in doubt, talk to your friendly Bradenton skincare experts. We live for this stuff, and we definitely see it every year.