Written by Dr. Jennifer David, Board Certified Dermatologist
As Featured in Bucks County Women's Journal: Protecting your skin from the elements during the winter months is just as important as it is in the summer months.
Protecting your skin from the elements during the winter months is just as important as it is in the summer months. For most people, winter air means tight, dry, itchy skin; especially on the face and hands. Because the humidity levels in the environment drop in the winter, so does the water content of your skin. Low humidity levels in the environment coupled with the increase in indoor heating during the winter can result in symptoms of rough, itchy, and flaky skin.
I’ve developed the following tips as a starting point for winter skin care, but it’s always a good idea to contact your dermatologist if you’d like help developing an individualized treatment plan specific to your skin needs.
1. Transition Your Lotion to a Winter-Friendly Formula and Make Sure You Moisturize Daily
Winter is the time to transition from lotion moisturizers to cream moisturizers as these formulations have more hydrating oils in them. As for your facial moisturizer, try a serum with glycerin or hyaluronic acid which have humectant properties that help retain moisture. And most importantly, don’t skip a day – especially if you’re going to be spending time outdoors in the elements.
2. Switch From a Gel Cleanser to a Creamy, Hydrating Face Wash
Gel face washes tend to have stronger cleansing ingredients which can leave your skin feeling extra dry in the winter. (when you get the tight feeling after cleansing then you know it’s too strong) Look for a cleanser that is labeled as “hydrating” or “moisturizing” and includes ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or oils like coconut and vitamin E, to name a few. If you prefer to stick with your gel cleanser during the winter, be sure to apply a moisturizer immediately after washing your face.
3. Avoid Taking Hot Baths or Showers
Even though there is nothing more soothing than a hot bath in the wintertime, next time you’re gearing up for a bubble bath, consider toning down the intensity of the water temperature. Bathing in water that’s too hot can break down lipid barriers in the skin, leading to a loss of moisture. If you are going to take a bath throw in some oatmeal or bath oils to add moisture into the skin as you soak. These will help soothe your skin and prevent itchiness.
4. Sunscreen Isn’t Only for the Summertime
Even though the winter days are shorter, and the sun doesn’t feel as strong as it does during the summer months, sunscreen is just as important to use when spending time outside. UVB rays can damage your skin all year long (especially through the windshield of your car). Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin (face, neck, chest and hands) before going outdoors during the winter months.
5. Don’t Forget Your Lips!
It’s important to keep your lips moisturized during the winter months, but I also recommend using a lip scrub. These products work as an exfoliate and can help remove the outermost layer of chapped, dead skin. Just remember not to overdo it – you only need to use this type of product once or twice per week and always follow up with a moisturizing lip balm.
Keep in mind, while these tips are a good starting point for winter skin care, everyone’s skin care needs are different. Dr. Jennifer David, board-certified dermatologist, enjoys creating individualized skin care plans for her patients. You can learn more about Dr. David by visiting either www.PaDermPartners.com or www.skinandscripts.com. You can also call (888) 895-3376 to schedule an appointment with her in our Yardley office.