Tips from the dermatologist to avoid dry, cracked skin this season from winter itch.
Winter weather is really hard on your skin. In the middle of winter your skin will showing signs of dryness – rough and scaly texture, tightness and itching, maybe even cracking and stinging – if you don't intervene. 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' (a real diagnostic term!) 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.
#2: 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.
#3: 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.
#4: 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.
#5: 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.
#6: Skipping the sun protection.
Yes, the sun feels softer in winter but its 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!
#7: 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.
Dermatologist recommended winter skin care - hydrating and hypoallergenic moisturizers that protect your skin from chapping and dryness:
Made with organic oils in a natural formulation that supports healthy skin barrier and never feels greasy. This lotion rubs into hairy skin well making it a men's favorite head to toe moisturizer. Great for the entire family and great next to a sink to apply after handwashing to prevent hand chapping. Fragrance free and ideal for even the most sensitive skin.
A richer botanical oil base makes this the favorite of my patients with really dryness prone skin. I love this for my own personal winter skin care. It can be used from head to toe by the entire family. Fragrance free and perfect for sensitive skin.
The technology in this really good hand lotion holds water in your skin with glycerin. At the same time, it provides a protective barrier by virtue of having just the right amount of dimethicone. To maintain healthy hand skin, you have to use a hand cream after washing numerous times a day. My Dry Skin Hand Cream leaves your hands hydrated but not greasy, so it's perfect for use all day long. It's an unscented hand cream making it a great men's hand cream too.
I love the feel of this facial cream on my skin. It deeply hydrates dry skin with a combination of ceramides, plant derived squalane, glycerin and soybean extract, yet it never feels heavy or oily. It is acne-friendly and non-comedogenic.
Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum (loaded with water binders and great to apply under your winter moisturizer if your skin is severely dehydrated)
Advanced skin care technology for firmer, brighter, and smoother skin instantly! Soothing with natural skin hydrators that instantly plump fine lines and wrinkles because every day counts and you need that now! I use this every morning under my moisturizer.
Omega Enriched Face Booster Oil (omega enriched with borage oil for skin barrier repair and to calm inflammation
If you want a fast-absorbing facial oil that gives you that “STAT” recharge to balance hydration and load your skin with organic antioxidant and vitamin rich botanical actives, you are in the right place. Add a few drops to your moisturizer or use alone for a deep replenishment of lipids to heal dry facial skin. Also, it is an ideal beard oil to fight winter beardruff.
All Natural Foaming Liquid Hand Soap is the best liquid hand soap that I've found for hand washing that doesn't overly dry-out your hand skin. It lathers and cleans dirt and grime, rinses off well to remove germs, and is gentle on the skin. I keep this at every sink in my home and office. Fragrance free and certified organic.
The best organic ingredients for gentle skin cleansing in this handmade, natural and economical soap. This hypoallergenic soap is gentle enough for your sensitive skin, but still an effective cleanser. There are no chemical additives used in the making of this soap; it's truly as natural as you can get for your skin care. Fragrance free and ideal for sensitive skin and the entire family.
The ideal syndet cleanser that I use in my dermatology practice for my patients with eczema, skin allergies, or other sensitive skin conditions. It can be used on face and body and is great for the entire family.
Certified organic for safe and natural lip hydration you can trust. Protects, hydrates and helps to heal chapped lips. Great for the entire family.
Fend off dry skin like a pro and avoid winter itch.
Just like you need sweaters and heavy jackets to be comfortable during the winter, your skin care needs the same smart changes to stay comfortable. I've given you my dermatologist's tips to keep your skin healthy and well hydrated as winter weather conspires to do otherwise.