The seasons have changed and the holidays are upon us. To add to all the year-end excitement (or stress) of visiting family, office holiday parties, and crowds at the mall, many people are also dealing with increased skin issues due in part to colder weather.
If you want to protect and rejuvenate your skin this winter here are my top 5 tips along with products I recommend to my patients, especially this time of year.
1. Stay hydrated. This is important year-round but often as temperatures drop people forget to continue drinking water and instead increase their intake of coffee, which can dehydrate the body and dry out your skin and lips. Wine and salty foods, which tend to be consumed in larger amounts throughout the holiday season, also have a dehydrating effect. So be sure to drink plenty of water.
2. Increased hand washing = increased moisturizer. Tis the season for colds and the flu. In order to keep your health in tip-top shape, prevention is key with hand washing and/or use of a hand sanitizer regularly. It's actually a misconception that hand sanitizers are more drying. Studies have shown that soap and water can dehydrate your hands even more. Either way, after cleansing your hands, it is important to rehydrate using a thick moisturizer. Carry them in your purse or pocket if you can.
3. Switch to Creams and Balms. Lightweight moisturizers should be substituted for heavier creams and balms that provide deeper nourishment for the skin. Generally I recommend maintaining your daytime routine and switching to something heavier at night. Vaseline also works wonders on dry, cracked skin on hands and feet.
4. Always Remember SPF. No dermatologist’s list would be complete without a reminder to protect your skin from the sun, no matter what time of year. Especially if you are a winter sports person, remember that the sun reflects off the snow, amplifying the effects. Using suncreen or lotion with SPF year-round will help maintain your skin over the long run. And don’t forget to use lip balm with SPF too.
5. Humidify. Using a humidifier is a good way to replenish your skin’s moisture. If you don’t have one you can also get a humidifier-like experience by closing the bathroom door when you shower to create a more humid environment. However, long, hot showers will work against your skin so limit showers to 5-10 minutes and keep the water warm but not hot.
Some of my favorite products to protect against harsh winter weather are:
- Hand moisturizers: Norwegian formula hand cream, Cetaphil hand barrier cream. Consider putting thick moisturizer like Vaseline in a cotton glove for better penetration.
- Body moisturizers: CeraVe Cream, La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume, Aveeno eczema cream.
- Sunscreen: La Roche Posay Anthelios (SPF 30, 45, or 60), Neutrogena Ultra Sheer (SPF 30, 45 or 60). There are many other good brands out there and the most important thing is to be sure that whatever sunscreen you use has broad spectrum coverage.