Challenges of Winter Skin

Posted on January 6, 2017
Beautiful fashionable woman in hat

We all know that winter weather can be a challenge mentally and physically.  It can drain our spirit and cause us physical discomfort.  While we may be tough enough to withstand a little pain, our delicate skin may not be as able to defend itself without a little help.  Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your skin survive the cold weather and remain glowing and resilient.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common challenges associated with winter weather.  Dr. Chris Adigun, MD at the department of dermatology at the NYU Medical Dept., suggests switching to a heavier moisturizer. He recommends lotions in jars or tubes over pump formulas, which are often diluted with alcohol and water. Shower with lukewarm, not hot, water, keep showers short, use a gentle cleanser, and apply lotion while your skin is still damp. Adigun also advises skipping the washcloth saying, “you don’t need to lather up and scrub all over your body – all that does is remove your skin’s natural oils.”

Flaky Skin

Severe dryness can cause skin to flake, even if you are using moisturizer.   To remove your skin’s damaged top layer, use an exfoliating face wash.  If you notice excessive dryness, try to keep exfoliating down to once or twice weekly.

Chapped Lips

Cracked, dry skin can appear on your lips as well as your cheeks. Lip balms with vitamins A and E, beeswax, cocoa butter, dimethicone or petrolatum can help, but you can make it even more effective by moistening your lips with cool water before you apply it. Marina Peredo, MD says dampening your lips will make the top layer of skin more permeable and can help seal in hydration.

Dealing with Eczema and Psoriasis

If you are prone to psoriasis and eczema flareups, it can be hard to keep skin moist in the winter. Take short lukewarm showers and pat yourself dry rather than rubbing.  Apply moisturizer immediately. Dr. Gary Goldenberg, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, recommends over the counter or prescription hydrocortisone cream to treat flareups and experts advise avoiding stress and getting a flu shot to keep immune function strong. Also, because low levels of sunlight can worsen psoriasis phototherapy with a UV light can be helpful in the winter.

If You Are An Outdoor Person

 If you are a skier or runner, you need to take extra precaution when it comes to protecting your skin. Dr. Goldenberg says, “For those people, it’s actually smart to put something like Aquaphor or Vaseline on their skin before they go out.” And don’t forget the outside and inside of the nostrils to help keep nasal passages from drying out. Broad spectrum sunscreens are important too, especially at high altitudes where the air is thinner and UV rays are stronger, especially if you are surrounded by sun-reflecting snow.

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to winter skin issues?  Let us know all about how you deal with winter skin challenges when it comes to braving the cold.

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