Tips to Help Your Skin Survive the Winter

Winter has arrived, which for the majority of us means that we need to start changing our skin care routine to adjust to the cold, dry wind and air. We all know that once it gets colder outside, many of us will turn the heat on inside, which is very dry.  Our poor skin will also start to feel tight and possibly even crack.  Many common skin conditions such as roseacea, eczema, psoriasis, and acne can worsen during the winter due to extreme temperature changes.   Here in Florida it’s not uncommon for temperatures to change drastically from one week to another, so it can be difficult to determine which moisturizers to use.  Your regular moisturizer may start to sting and burn your dry, cracked skin.  Another skin irritant can be the new layers of clothing that you have to wear such as itchy wool and thick fabrics.  Hopefully the following suggestions will help you get through the winter season much more comfortably:

1. Pay attention to your skin: It will definitely let you know if it needs something.  If you see that your roseacea is flaring or all of a sudden you have acne on your face, there are some things that you can do to help. If at all possible, pay attention to what triggers those flare ups and do what you can do avoid them.  Another very important thing to remember is to keep up with your skin care routine.  The last thing you want to do is neglect your skin because that will only make it worse.   A visit to your dermatologist might be in order, especially if your normal skin care products seem to be making things worse.  As the seasons change, your skin will need different products with different ingredients. However, one thing that will never change for any of us is the fact that we need to consistently cleanse, moisturize, and wear sunscreen every single day.  Doing so will give you the best shot at preventing flare ups and keeping your skin beautiful and glowing all year round.

2. Prepare for the weather:  We always prepare for the weather by wearing the proper clothes; however it’s also important to prepare your skin for the changing weather as well.  Learning to cover your skin with the right products and adding or subtracting ingredients throughout the changing seasons will pave the path to nourished, healthier, more gorgeous skin. Warmer days are inclined to be a tad more humid, so layers of antioxidant serums, hyaluronic acid serums and sheer sunscreens may be just what your skin needs. Colder days, particularly when it is dry and windy, may require a thicker moisturizer that will seal in hydration. At night time you’ll definitely want to wear a nice thick moisturizer as well, and run a humidifier to help replenish the moisture that’s lost while sleeping.

3. Have your favorite skin care products available at your fingertips: Key pieces are essential. Once you know which products make your skin look and feel its best, keep them with you so that you can use them as needed. If you can learn to hydrate and protect your skin on a regular basis, you definitely see major improvements and will love the skin you’re in!

If you’re doing all of this and your skin is still giving you problems, it’s probably time to see your dermatologist.  

In the mean time, here are some products that will help you cope with the changing weather:

Facial Serums with Hyaluronic Acid

Cold air will make skin very dry.  One thing you can do to help combat the dryness is to layer serums, thinnest to thickest, beneath your lotions or creams.  This will certainly help permeate your skin with locked away hydration, protecting you from the windiest, coldest days.

Hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant, helps to draw in and seal water in the skin.  HA attracts water from the air around you and grasps onto it, up to 1,000 times its weight, and is part of how your skin naturally hydrates itself. About a week or so of regular, routine HA use your skin’s moisture will be restocked, giving you a much better protection against dryness. As we get older, we lose our reserves of naturally occurring HA so it’s important to apply it topically. Not only will it help you feel more hydrated, but your skin will also plump up and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will diminish.

Super Gentle Exfoliants

You might sense that certain ingredients in your skin care products and acne medications unexpectedly begin to aggravate your skin as the weather becomes colder. This is because your skin loses moisture and naturally occurring protective oils, and when you use the acne medication, sometimes the active ingredients penetrate more deeply causing major irritation.  To remedy this, use these products less often or try applying them between serums and moisturizers. If they still irritate you, your best bet might be to contact your dermatologist to get your skin back on track.  You just might need a new medication.

Facial Moisturizers

Your moisturizers will not work better than they do when layered over your favorite serum with Hyaluronic Acid. And for some of us, this regimen might be enough to keep your skin hydrated and beautiful, especially when topped with a great sunscreen. For those who need a bit more, we recommend finding a formulation designed for your specific skin needs. Drier skin types can use moisturizers morning and night. For combination-to-normal-to-dry skins, we say sleep in one that you love, remembering to slather your neck and chest too. Talk to your dermatologist to determine which skin care products will be best for you.

Lips, Hands, Feet, Body

Dry, chapped skin can start to appear on the hands, legs and body as soon as the weather starts to change. Keep a bottle of liquid coconut oil in the shower and put it on your whole body while the water is still running. A small amount of coconut oil goes a long way and the warm water will help you spread it evenly over your whole body (do not apply to feet while standing in the shower and be especially careful not to slip getting in or out!). Before drying off, try applying 1-2 pumps of an exfoliating, hydrating body lotion.

Replace regular hand soaps with moisturizing formulas and make sure to keep hand lotions next to your sink in the bathroom and kitchen.  You’ll want to apply lotion after every hand wash, and it’s also a good idea to keep a small tube of hand lotion in our purse for when you’re out and about.  Also, if you’re going out in the cold, try wearing gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the drying wind.

To restore dry cracked feet, begin by exfoliating regularly. Most of us get pedicures less frequently in the winter but when you do, skip the exfoliating callus remover and more aggressive exfoliation methods offered at spas as they can go wrong, making you more susceptible to cracked heels.  As an alternative, when you are done bathing, apply an exfoliating serum designed specifically for the feet, followed by a rich moisturizer, and then put on a pair of socks to help absorb it all in.  For less dry feet use a milder exfoliating and hydrating formula when you get out of the shower and before you go to bed.

Lips need love too! You can exfoliate them with a brown sugar and coconut oil scrub, or your toothbrush. Follow up with a nice, soothing lip product and reapply frequently throughout the day.

For questions about which products to use, please call us at (941) 794-5432. We can help answer your questions over the phone or in person during a consultation with Susan H. Weinkle, M.D. or Lin Hall, ARNP.