Winter can be tough on your skin. Cold temperatures, high winds and dry air are no friends of your beautiful face – and you can’t even escape the onslaught of skin-drying conditions by heading inside. Heated indoor air can leave you even more parched! You don’t have to suffer through skin issues all season long, though. Dermatologists know how to prevent dryness in winter, and you can put this wisdom to work in your own life.
1. Cleanse Your Skin Gently
Washing your face and body is a good thing, but remember that you’re just trying to remove dirt and unwanted oils – not anything else. Scrubbing too enthusiastically can dry out your skin and exacerbate existing problems. Washing once per day is generally plenty for your body, and you shouldn’t wash your face more than twice. When you’re shopping for skin cleansers, remember that gentle is best. Harsh cleansers can strip your skin of its natural oils; only use high-quality skin care products.
2. Believe in the Power of Moisturizer
Moisturizer is always an important part of a good skin care regimen, and it’s as vital in winter as a good pair of calf boots! Moisturizer helps your skin retain moisture, and it can help your makeup go on more smoothly. Make sure you’re using a good moisturizer, formulated with ingredients that nourish your skin. Look for things like peptides, hydroxy acids and retinoids. The right moisturizer won’t just add moisture to your face when you put it on, it should help improve the condition of your skin over time.
Harsh winter weather can strip the life out of your skin, especially on your face.
3. Don’t Over-Exfoliate
Exfoliating aids in skin cell turnover, and can help you look fresh and smooth. Over-exfoliating aids in making your skin angry… and you wouldn’t like your skin when it’s angry! Reformed exfoliating zealots will tell you: resist the temptation to exfoliate every day, especially in winter. Once or twice a week is plenty.
4. Avoid Skin-Harming Extremes
Extremely cold temperatures can damage your skin, even causing frostbite if your skin is exposed for too long. If you’re going out in sub-zero temperatures, protect yourself by wearing adequate gear. Cover your face, neck and any other exposed areas. Don’t forget about your mouth, either. The skin on your lips is delicate, so keep some lip balm close at hand during the chilly months.
5. Stay Vigilant Against Sun Damage
While you probably want to soak up any bit of sun you can find during the winter, just remember that cold weather does not serve as a barrier against sun damage. Be sure you’re just as diligent about practicing good sun protection as you would be in the summer. If you’re going outside for more than a few minutes, slather on some sunscreen. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a high SPF variety like you’d use in the summer, though. According to a report by Science Daily, a sun protection factor of at least 15 should suffice.
Keeping your skin healthy and hydrated during the winter will help stave off skin issue flare-ups, plus you’ll look radiant at all those holiday parties. The effects of taking good care of your skin are cumulative, much like the effects of taking terrible care of your skin. It all adds up. If you feel like your skin is dry and rough no matter what you do, a board-certified dermatologist can help formulate a treatment plan for your unique skin and teach you how to prevent dryness in winter.
Lynn M. Klein, M.D. is a renowned board-certified dermatologist, laser surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. She has been helping patients to maintain their healthiest skin for over 20 years. Dr. Klein uses minimally invasive procedures to achieve maximum skin care results and long term benefits, which are the hallmarks of her successful Bala Cynwyd dermatology practice.