Keeping Your Skin Healthy During the Cold, Dry Winter Months
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Winter is upon us, and with environmental changes in temperature and humidity, we also experience changes in our skin. The winter, especially in Northeast Ohio, can have some pretty grueling effects on your skin. Here are some easy tips to keep your skin healthy during the winter.
This is the key to healthy skin during the winter months, and the one people usually forget. It’s important to keep your skin hydrated. There are a variety of good, elegant products that you can buy at your local pharmacy or grocery store. Ointments or heavy creams are usually better than lotions at moisturizing your body. For the delicate skin on your face, I recommend creams that don’t clog pores (look for the word “non-comedogenic” on the label), or humectants, which will hydrate your skin evenly without contributing to breakouts.
2. Avoid really hot water
Although taking a super-hot bath or shower feels great after playing in the snow, chances are your skin will be itchy and dry afterwards. It’s perfectly fine to take a bath or shower, but don’t use super hot water. In fact, the best time to moisturize your skin is immediately after a bath or shower. If you have dry skin, using an oatmeal bath followed by a body moisturizer is a good way to prevent dry, itchy skin.
3. Use sunscreen daily
The winter sun and glare from the snow will affect your skin in many ways. Ultraviolet rays (UVB and UVA) can damage your skin causing sunburns and changes in pigment and texture in your skin. These UV rays are also responsible for skin cancer. Make sure you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, SPF 30 or above on your face and hands during the winter. And make sure your reapply it every 3 to 4 hours if you are going to be outdoors in the sun for a long period of time.
4. Focus on your hands and feet
In the winter, it is common to have cracks and fissures on the hands and feet. This can lead to superficial infection, pain, and more dryness. My recommendation is to use gloves when you are outside and a good hand cream daily. You can also fight dryness and cracked skin by applying an ointment (like petroleum jelly) at night and putting on gloves and/or socks. The skin of your palms and soles is thicker than on other parts of the body, so covering up the area will help moisturizers penetrate the skin evenly.
5. Go easy on your face
During the winter, avoid using alcohol-based toners, strong exfoliating creams, or peels. My recommendation is to use mild facial cleansers daily to avoid irritation. If you are using products with retinol, make sure you find a good facial moisturizer to use as well. You can still pamper yourself with soothing facial masks, but do them less often. Look for sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Skincare during the winter might require a little extra thought and effort, but you’ll see better skin in the end. What do you find are your biggest skincare problems in the winter? Comment below with your answer!
Dr. Garcia-Zuazaga is an accomplished dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon, and is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. His practice, APEX Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center, has offices throughout Northeast Ohio, including Solon, Mayfield Heights, and Concord, Hudson, and Parma.
SAME-DAY-APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE. CALL 440-349-SKIN (7546)
In most cases, depending on the level of care you need and the time of day when you call, you can be seen that day. Call us at 440-349-SKIN (7546) and ask for a same-day appointment.