Tips from the dermatologist to avoid dry, cracked skin this season
Winter weather is at it’s worst right now and your skin is showing signs of dryness – rough and scaly texture, tightness and itching, maybe even cracking and stinging – it is winter’s toll, but you can protect yourself.
Why is winter hard on your skin?
Cold weather outside, and hot dehumidified air indoors, pull out skin water to damage your skin barrier. Important barrier lipids are lost and skin protein is damaged. It ‘snowballs’ metaphorically until chapped irritant dermatitis hurts, itches and leaves your skin inflamed.
What are the big skin care mistakes that lead to winter itch and winter skin chapping?
- Using hot water to shower and wash your hands.
Hot water strips skin oils. Add harsh soaps and you have the perfect storm for lost skin lipids. Hot water also fuels inflammation by increasing skin circulation. It’s why your skin is red after a hot shower. Turn your water temperature down and be gentle with your winter skin.
- Not switching your moisturizer up in the winter to richer and more hydrating products.
Summer humidity pulls less water out of your skin. Winter sucks the water right out. Damaged skin lipids and protein leave skin even more vulnerable. Choose a moisturizer with oils that helps restore lost lipids. Look for botanical oils that can step in for lost skin oils including jojoba, sunflower, avocado, kukui, castor seed, pomegranate, rosehip, coconut, ceramides, squalane. Butters such as shea and cocoa are time honored emollients too.
Products with water-binding ingredients are important too, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and sodium PCA (part of your skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor) are top choices . Boost your facial moisturizer with a few drops of Booster Oil that enriches the healing properties of your facial moisturizers.
- Not applying moisturizer correctly.
Moisturizers work best when applied within the magic 3 minutes after toweling skin dry after bathing or washing. They also need to be applied morning and night. Chapped hands need moisturizer applied many times a day after washing.
- Using harsh soaps for skin cleansing.
Use only gentle cleansers for bathing in winter. Use only gentle foaming liquid hand soaps that rinse of entirely; retained soap residue pulls out lipids and will damage skin protein even after you have towel dried your hands and stepped away from the sink.
- Forgetting to moisturize your lips often.
Lip skin has less barrier strength and chaps easily, as you know. Keep hypoallergenic lip balm handy and apply it often. Always use it at bedtime too. Avoid allergens in lip balms that lead to chapping and ‘lip balm addiction’. Ingredients to avoid are camphor, menthol, fragrance and salicylic acid.
- Skipping the sun protection.
Yes the sun feels softer in winter but it’s damage is still real. Winter sun can burn, and lead to sun spots, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Wear a broad spectrum SPF 30+ product all year round on exposed skin. Doubtful? Get my UV Detecto ring and watch the beads turn colors – a trick they only do in the presence of skin damaging UV rays!
- Exposing hands and face to the elements.
Harsh weather pulls water out of skin. Cover hands with gloves and as much of your face as possible with a scarf or facial muff.
What do I recommend for winter skin care? Hydrating and hypoallergenic moisturizers to survive winter:
Want to avoid winter skin care mistakes, and have healthier, moisturized skin?