Skincare in a Winter Wonderland
There’s plenty to enjoy about the winter, from outdoor activities in the brisk weather to snuggling up by a cozy fire. For your skin, though, winter can be a difficult time. Especially for people with dry, sensitive skin, winter can wreak havoc, causing itching and flaking or, worse, skin that cracks, bleeds, or can even become infected. Why is winter so hard on the skin? More importantly, what can you do to care for dry, sensitive skin in the winter months?
Causes of Dry Skin in Winter
There are many factors that impact the skin in winter. Weather conditions are harsh, not just because it’s cold and windy, but also because the humidity levels drop and there’s less exposure to sunlight. The sun is a good source of vitamin D, and sunlight is a natural anti-inflammatory, which is good for your skin. Faced with less sun outside, and plunging temperatures, we hunker down inside, cranking up the heat and causing a dry, damaging indoor environment. Further, winter is cold and flu season, which means more handwashing, which dries skin further.
Caring for Dry Skin in Winter
People with naturally dry skin should use a hydrating cleanser year round, as well as regularly moisturizing. In the winter, the hydration needs to be increased, and even those without normally dry skin need to step up their moisturizing routine. Follow these tips to protect your skin and keep it safe from winter’s harsh conditions.
- Skip the long, hot showers. While it may feel comforting to luxuriate in a steaming shower after a day out in the cold, this can be damaging to dry skin. Hot water can strip the oils from your skin, and the warmer the water, the drier your skin will be. Limit your showers to ten minutes or fewer, and shower every other day, unless you’re sweaty from exercise.
- Moisturize as you exit the shower. Most moisturizers work by trapping moisture in the skin, so they are much more beneficial when applied while the skin is still damp.
- Be careful with the products you use. Opt for fragrance-free options, not just for your skincare products, but also for your laundry. Read the labels of the products you use, and when you are seeking hydration, choose creams with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramide, rather than botanicals. Products acne medications and anti-aging treatments can contribute to skin irritation and dryness, so you might want to decrease your usage of these products in the winter, dropping down to a couple of times a week rather than daily use.
- Be cautious with exfoliants. Soap dries the skin, and over-exfoliating can damage it. While flaky may lead you to believe exfoliation is necessary, it can actually make skin drier and itchier. If you must exfoliate, limit it to once or twice a week, at most.
- Take care of your hands. Moisturize your hands as often as you can, especially if you use hand sanitizer. Wear gloves when you go outside, and when you are washing dishes or doing some other tasks that causes your hands to get wet or be exposed to chemicals.
- Humidify your home. Combat the dry heat by using a humidifier to keep the humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
- Talk to your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can help you come up with a skincare routine that protects your unique skin, regardless of the time of year.
Skin Care Solutions from Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology
If you’re looking for a dermatologist to help you care for your skin, Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology is committed to providing superior, professional hair and skin care in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. We have the knowledge and skill not only to treat your skin but also to recommend skincare products to help you care for your skin at home, no matter what your skin type may be. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. Call (801) 682-4715 or contact us through our website.