skin care

Skin Care: Bracing the Cold

It’s getting cold again, and that means ‘tis the season for dry, itchy and irritated skin. Whether it’s taking a long hot shower or cozying up by the fire, most of our attempts to stay warm during the winter months rob our skin of its natural moisture and result in dry, uncomfortable skin all season.

Contrary to what people may think, it isn’t the cold temperatures that dry us out most – the real culprit is the lack of humidity indoors that causes our skin’s moisture to evaporate quickly, although, bracing those harsh winter conditions daily certainly doesn’t help. Fortunately, there are a handful of easy tweaks we can make to our normal skincare regimen to keep our skin nourished and supple all winter long. Take a look at the tips we’ve listed below to see how you can help combat dryness and other underlying skin issues this winter!

Moisturizing is Key

The most essential element for maintaining healthy skin this winter is moisture – and a lot of it. While it’s true that drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is crucial to the health of our body, skin and cells, it’s unfortunately not very useful in helping to repair the dry areas of our skin during the colder seasons.

The quickest way to address winter dryness is to invest in a good daily moisturizer. You won’t necessarily need a thick or heavy cream to see results, you’ll just want a product that works with your specific skin type. What is most important is ensuring your product contains effective hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic or lactic acid.

Ideally, you should moisturize at least twice a day, with some of the best times being immediately after showering or right before bedtime.  After showering, the moisturizer will serve as a seal to lock moisture into your skin. Applying before bedtime will allow your skin ample time to absorb moisture and repair itself while you sleep.

Humidify

When the temperature drops, the health of our skin can often retreat to the backburner as we make staying warm our top priority. Indoor heating like space heaters, sitting near a fire, wood-burning ovens and even standard central heating all drastically reduce the amount of moisture in our environments. It can even lead to chapped lips, or a dry nose and throat.

The most effective way to add moisture back into the air is by investing in a humidifier. Keep it near your bed for best results or invest in multiple units for your home or office! Other ways to reduce dryness in the air include adjusting your thermostat to a lower temperature or swapping out space heaters and fireplaces for blankets and extra layers. Stay cozy, not dried out!

Gentle Care

Many of us aren’t aware that certain aspects of our usual self-care routine cause more harm to our skin than good during the winter months. Skin’s dryness in the cold heightens sensitivity and irritability, so it may not benefit from the same regimen you use the rest of the year. For example, you may be tempted to take a long, hot bath to get rid of your chills. But taking a hot bath or shower is extremely detrimental this time of year, as it strips your skin of the natural oils and moisture it desperately needs. Instead, take a lukewarm bath or shower for no longer than five to ten minutes. Don’t forget to moisturize after!

While in the shower, you may also be tempted to shave or exfoliate as often as you usually do. Both can be a great way to remove dead skin cells and reveal soft, smooth skin. However, dermatologists recommend limiting the number of times you allow yourself to do this during the chilly months since it is much more harmful when the skin is already dry and damaged. By shaving less frequently, you can give your sensitive skin a break from further irritation. If that isn’t realistic for you, just be sure to use a sharp, new razor to prevent skin aggravation, and use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel.

The same goes for exfoliating your skin – during the winter you’ll want to limit exfoliation as much as possible. Scrubbing hard on sensitive skin can cause tiny micro-tears, irritating skin further and often increasing dryness and itchiness. If you must exfoliate, be sure to do so gently and less frequently.

Protection from the Elements

It may not feel like the sun is doing its job when the temperature goes negative, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to worry about its effects! Sunscreen is needed all year round. Even on the coldest, grayest days, UV rays are just as intense as during the summertime. Finding a moisturizer with added SPF protection is a great way to treat dry skin and prevent sun damage.

If you’re going to be outdoors, be sure to put at least one layer between yourself and the cold. Exposure to harsh weather conditions like cold winds can increase skin irritability and dryness. Bundling up in layers will not only keep you warm, but also keep your skin happier and healthier.

Oily Skin Needs Love, Too

All skin types are susceptible to winter dryness, even if you lean towards a more combination or oily complexion. The drop in humidity both indoors and outdoors takes a toll on us all. It is crucial for even those who may not think they are experiencing winter dryness to moisturize daily as well. A lightweight moisturizer would be best to avoid clogging pores or increasing skin’s oiliness.

Applying these tips to your daily routine will greatly improve the look and feel of your skin, as well as help retain moisture all winter long. To learn more about how to protect your skin from cold weather damage, call Marotta Plastic Surgery today at 631-982-2022. You can schedule a consultation and discover the benefits of our Healthy Skin Club™, where you’ll receive a customized treatment plan that best optimizes your skin’s health, as well as exclusive offers and benefits just for being a member. Let us help you keep your skin looking gorgeous and glowing all year long.