Colder weather brings less humidity, less vitamin D, lower temperatures, and brisk winds, which all affect how much moisture your skin receives and retains, making your skin drier. These conditions can also spark skin sensitivity, redness, and irritation.
In general, you need to be careful to use more gentle cleansers and richer moisturizers. To keep skin happy and hydrated—and flaky-free—follow these recommended skincare tips.
1. Moisturize Frequently and Right After Showering
Switch to an oil-based moisturizer in the winter; your skin will appreciate it. Consider overnight deep moisturizer treatments which can help particularly dry areas like hands feet elbows knees and lips. Cover with cotton gloves and socks to hold the moisture in all night long. Ideally, apply moisturizer after patting your skin dry with a towel following a shower. Moisturizing is especially important for eczema. Keep an eye out for these ingredients that moisturize your skin in the winter:
- Humectants, like glycerin, bind water into the outer layers of the skin.
- Emollients, such as petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil, and dimethicone, help the skin barrier function to improve skin texture and appearance.
- Occlusives block transepidermal water loss. Examples of occlusives are oils, waxes, and butter such as petroleum jelly, argan oil, castor oil, shea butter, and more. Hyaluronic acid is a great moisturizing ingredient that also has anti-aging effects.
- Ceramides make up to ~50% of the skin lipids to form the natural skin barrier.
2. Switch to Hydrating Cleansers
During the winter months, avoid harsh cleansers on the face that strip the skin of its natural oils. Use gentle, hydrating, fragrance-free cleansers for daily cleansing and to remove makeup. Even acne prone skin may need extra care in the winter. Use hydrating, oil-free, fragrance-free moisturizers daily and on top of your topical acne medications to help combat excess dryness and peeling.
3. Limit Hot Showers
There’s nothing like a hot shower on a cold day, but hot water will further dry out your skin. Limit showers to 15 minutes and use lukewarm water to avoid irritating your skin. Immediately after the shower, while your skin is damp, apply rich moisturizers to lock in hydration. Use enough to leave your skin feeling well hydrated, which means you may need to apply more than in the summer months.
4. Avoid Harsh Scrubs and Scented Products
Loofahs, bath mitts, and scrubs can irritate dry skin and lead to eczema flares. Avoid these if you have a history of eczema or dry skin. Use unscented soaps and body washes such as Dove Unscented Bar Soap, Cetaphil Cleanser, or Aveeno Body Wash.
5. You Still Need Sunscreen!
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the sun isn’t affecting your skin. The sun reflecting off snow means UV rays are hitting you from additional angles.
6. Limit Alcohol Intake and Hydrate Well
Alcohol during the holidays can dehydrate you. Make sure to limit these beverages and hydrate well with water throughout the day. Humidifiers at night can help regulate the moisture levels in your home and further combat dryness, promoting a dewy complexion.
7. Carry Lip Balm
Our lips are just as likely to become dry, chapped and sun exposed as the rest of the body. Apply a liberal coat of balm with sunscreen built in several times throughout the day. Aloe Vera and Vitamin E are often used to heal damaged skin and relieve dryness, as well.
8. Be Aware of Irritating Skincare Products
It’s a good idea to trade in your current body wash for a more moisturizing hydrating cleanser in winter particularly if your usual choice contains drying ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid. Tone and moisturize within 30 seconds of finishing cleansing to avoid further dehydration.
Winter skin is more fragile so if you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis be sure to avoid any irritants or allergens that you know flare your condition. Schedule an appointment on-line or call 330-425-7600 for a treatment plan to help with skin issues that flare in the winter.