Not all winter flakes are snowflakes. Cold temperatures paired with low relative humidity can wreak havoc on our skin, making it dry and flaky. In addition, indoor heating further depletes the skin’s moisture. The result? Dry, itchy winter skin.
Skin health is important both for appearance and function. Healthy skin keeps your immune system strong and prevents infections. Your skin also plays an important role in protecting your internal organs from harmful substances. In addition, healthy skin keeps your sense of touch acute, allowing you to feel pain and temperature.
During winter, when your skin gets dry and irritated, it’s up to you to take the steps necessary to protect it! We’ve put together a few tips on how to keep your skin healthy and happy this season:
1. Moisturize every day. Petroleum- or cream-based moisturizers are best for normal to very oily skin. Select a moisturizer without fragrance if you have sensitive or combination skin. Apply moisturizer directly to your damp skin after bathing; this helps the moisturizer retain your skin’s surface moisture.
2. Cleanse your body, but don’t overdo it. Too much cleansing removes your body’s natural oils and can dry your skin out. We recommend also not taking showers with very hot water and using a lower water temperature when washing hands so you do not further deplete your skin’s moisture.
3. Keep inside temps in check. If you want to avoid having cold, dry air inside your home, you might be inclined to turn up the thermostat once you walk through the door. However, a higher thermostat temperature could dry out the air inside your house, and that means dry skin! To keep your skin feeling fresh and healthy, try keeping your home at a comfortable but not too hot temperature. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology suggests between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Choose gentle, fragrance-free cleansers. Using bar soap can strip the skin’s natural oils, disrupt the skin’s microbiome and cause further irritation. People with dry skin should look for products that say “sensitive” or “no fragrance” on their labels. These products often contain fewer drying ingredients and more moisturizers like hyaluronic acids, ceramides, oil, shea butter or oatmeal. Look for fragrance-free cosmetics too, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
5. Change up your routine. If your winter skin is dry and itchy, you should avoid products that contain AHAs and retinoids on your facial area because they can aggravate the condition. Once the problem has been resolved, you can start using them again gradually. Don’t forget to moisturize your entire face, too. During the winter, we suggest a thicker product that can penetrate the skin barrier versus lighter products that may evaporate from the skin’s top layer before being absorbed into your skin.
6. Use sunscreen — yes, even in the winter. On bright winter days, the sun can reflect off of snow, which intensifies your UV exposure. Increased UV exposure can result in skin cancer, sunburn and premature skin aging (wrinkles, fine lines and aging spots). A winter skin sunburn? Ouch! So, when you’re outside, even in the winter, we recommend that you wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Do this even on gray and overcast days, as 80 percent of the sun’s rays can permeate the clouds.
7. Add a humidifier. Humidifiers can add moisture back into the air and can help keep your skin hydrated, which is critical in winter months.
8. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to inflammation, which can contribute to acne breakouts. So make sure you get enough rest each night.
9. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol dries out the skin and can exacerbate any existing conditions. It can also dehydrate you if you drink it regularly.
10. Eat well. Eating well will ensure that your skin stays healthy throughout the year. A balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.
Another Way to Improve Your Winter Skin Quality
Try a skin-rejuvenating service from our office! We offer a wide range of skin treatments, including:
Microdermabrasion. This treatment uses an exfoliating pad to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Microdermabrasion helps improve the appearance of wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and other signs of aging.
Skin resurfacing. This procedure improves the texture and tone of the skin by removing damaged layers of skin. The results include smoother, softer skin and improved elasticity.
Chemical peels. Chemical peels work by breaking down the outermost layer of the skin to reveal new, younger-looking skin underneath. These procedures can be used to treat mild to moderate acne scars, sun damage, hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores.
Microneedling. Microneedling works by stimulating collagen production and improving blood circulation. This procedure stimulates collagen growth and increases the rate of cell turnover, resulting in firmer, healthier-looking skin.
Dermal fillers. Dermal fillers smooth away wrinkles and enhance the look of lips, cheeks and forehead. They can also be used to camouflage minor cosmetic imperfections such as dark circles under eyes or scarring.
Laser skin rejuvenation. Laser skin resurfacing uses light energy to target specific areas of the skin for deeper penetration than microdermabrasion alone. The laser targets the upper dermis, where most of the signs of aging occur. Laser resurfacing can be performed alone or combined with chemical peeling.
Endotoxin injections. Endotoxin injections use purified bacterial endotoxins to stimulate the body’s natural healing response. This technique has been shown to increase collagen production and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
We invite you to schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve beautiful, radiant winter skin and keep it all year round.