Winter is a time for warm sweaters, hot chocolate, holiday parties…..and dry skin. As the air becomes colder and drier, it strips moisture and essential oils from your skin. Cold, dry conditions during the winter months can cause your skin to become red, dry, cracked, and irritated. You might develop scaly patches and rashes, or experience acne breakouts or cold burns. Changes in weather could also cause flare-ups if you have an inflammatory skin condition like psoriasis or eczema.
Your face is especially vulnerable to irritation caused by winds and cold air. Before the cold fronts move in, make sure you’re prepared with a good moisturizer and moisturizing routine. Moisturizer pulls water from the air and the inner layers of your skin to hydrate the outer layer of your skin and protect it from dryness and irritation.
Your winter moisturizer may be different from your summer moisturizer because your skin has different care needs during cold weather. Here are five tips to help you choose the right moisturizer for winter.
Five Tips for Choosing a Winter Moisturizer
- Look for a heavier moisturizer. During the winter, look for heavier products that help your skin retain more moisture. Jellies, Vaseline, ointments, butters, and thick creams and lotions provide a protective outer layer that locks moisture in under your skin. Petroleum jelly, lanolin, cocoa butter, and shea butter are all good, thick moisturizers to protect and hydrate your skin during the winter.
- Consider using an oil-based product. This tip goes hand in hand with tip number one. Oil-based moisturizers contain more oil than water and have a thicker texture. Oil-based products will provide a protective layer over your skin to replenish hydration and oils that are stripped away by dry air.
- Choose gentle, fragrance-free creams and lotions. While it’s tempting to choose products with your favorite holiday scents, gentle and fragrance-free moisturizers are better for your skin. Chemicals and fragrances in skincare products can cause skin irritation, rashes, and allergic reactions. Harsh products can further inflame dry, sensitive skin during the winter months.
- Pick a product with SPF. When the weather is cloudy and overcast, and the days are short, you may believe you don’t need to be wearing SPF. But up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pass through cloud coverage. During winter, protect your skin from free radical damage and premature aging by choosing a moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF.
- Moisturize twice a day. Moisturize once in the morning with a product containing SPF. And moisturize a second time in the evening, after a bath or shower. Apply the moisturizer while your skin is still damp, for easy absorption and to seal in moisture.
Other Tips to Protect Your Skin from the Cold
By itself, moisturizing daily isn’t enough to keep your skin healthy during the winter. Bundle up with gloves, socks, hats, and scarves when you go outside, to protect the thin skin of your hands, feet, and head. Take short lukewarm baths and showers – scalding hot water will dry out your skin. Central heating units can also cause dryness, so consider keeping a humidifier in your bedroom or office to keep moisture circulating in the air.
Pare down your skincare routine during the winter. Reduce the number of times you exfoliate, to avoid stripping your skin of all its oils. And avoid using toners or other products that contain alcohol, which can cause dryness.
Florida Dermatology and Skin Care Centers is here to address all your skin health needs. Our licensed professionals are experts in the field of skin, hair, and nail care. Contact one of our offices today to schedule your consultation.