Every season has its own unique beauty and challenges. There are so many outdoor activities to enjoy in the winter, whether it’s snowboarding, making a snowman, or just enjoying the festivities. This time of the year, however, can be harsh on your skin. Cold, dry air makes it difficult for your skin to stay hydrated by removing the moisture from it. This can irritate your skin, making it chapped or itchy.
Our experts at Alaska Center for Dermatology share their four top winter skin care tips to keep your skin healthy during the winter months:
1. Don’t Overdo it with the Heat
It is so tempting to crank up the thermostat when the temperatures outside are freezing, but heaters can make your skin feel even drier. Try to keep the thermostat at around 68 degrees, and bring some of the moisture back in the air by using a humidifier.
The same goes for taking hot showers or washing your face with hot water. Keeping the temperature too hot in showers or baths can dry your skin out by removing some of your skin’s natural oils. Try to keep your showers a little shorter if possible (5-10 minutes), and the temperature lukewarm.
2. Don’t Skip the Sunscreen
Regardless of what the temperature is outside, or if it’s cloudy or sunny, UV rays can still burn or damage your skin. SPF protection is a year-round must to protect your skin. Use a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF-30 or above, and reapply often if you stay outside for long periods of time.
3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Most of us moisturize all year long, but especially in the winter months, you want to make sure you moisturize often, and make sure you nourish not just your face but your hands, your lips, and the rest of your body. Select a moisturizer that contains lipids or hyaluronic acid, as these will help your skin retain its moisture and provide a barrier.
As for your lips, using a lip balm that is ointment-based is better for winter, and preferably one with sunscreen. Try not to lick your lips, hard as it may be. Saliva contains enzymes that can be irritating to the skin on your lips, making your chapped lips even worse.
4. Modify your Skin Care Routine for the Winter
To help your skin cope better during the winter and avoid further irritation, you can make some adjustments to your skin care routine. What works during the muggy months of the year, is not going to help you in cold weather.
Opt for fragrance-free, gentle cleansers and soaps that won’t irritate your skin. You might want to be careful not to over-exfoliate. If you do exfoliate, try not to scrub your face hard, but instead use light circular motions. Lastly, layering your skin care products can also help create multiple protective barriers. Try using a hydrating serum followed by a cream moisturizer.
Winter can be the perfect time to pamper your skin. Talk to your Provider about any skin concerns you may have, or any treatments that might help you achieve better, healthier skin. At Alaska Center for Dermatology, we will work with you to come up with an individualized plan that can address your needs.