Ironically, the heat indoors is more to blame for your dry winter skin than is the cold outside. This can take a major toll on the skin. What should you do? Here are a few tips to keep the skin healthy during the winter:
1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Winter skin needs a more powerful moisturizer, and it needs to see that moisturizer more often throughout the day. The best time to moisturize the face and body is within 5 minutes of getting out of the shower, while the skin is still a bit damp.
2. Hot showers feel so good in the winter, but lukewarm showers are best for the skin. If you can’t break the habit of taking hot showers, keep them short (under 5 minutes).
3. Invest in a cool mist humidifier for your bedroom. The added humidity in the air will repair your thirsty skin all night long and help your moisturizer penetrate better while you sleep.
4. Add moisturizer over your serum. Serums are still useful during the winter, especially if they contain antioxidants or retinol. Just make sure to add an extra layer of moisturizer on top of your serum during the winter. Serums are very light, so even though they deliver some potent anti-aging ingredients, most don’t provide enough hydration during the winter.
5. Skip the alcohol-based toners and astringents during the winter. They tend to be drying and can leave your skin red and irritated.
6. Don’t forget about your lips. Dry, cracking, chapped lips are just not that kissable. It’s easier to prevent dry lips than it is to repair them once they’re painful and peeling. Once the weather starts turning cool, start using a hydrating lip balm with soothing ingredients like olive oil, shea tree, and cocoa seed.
7. Keep using a sunscreen. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean the sun’s rays are any less harmful during winter. They can be especially brutal when reflecting off of winter snow! Use a moisturizer with a sunscreen, like Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer, which is light enough to wear under makeup.
8. Trade your harsher cleanser for a gentle one that won’t dry the skin out as much. Avoid ingredients like salicylic acid and alpha hydroxyl acids in your winter cleanser.
10. Chapped hands are a common winter complaint. Don’t forget to keep a moisturizer next to your sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms. Every time you wash your hands throughout the day, make sure to re-apply that moisturizer. Keep it visible so you don’t forget! I keep one moisturizer next to each sink, and one more next to my bed.
Dr. Whitney Bowe is an Assistant Medical Director for Laser and Cosmetic Services at Advanced Dermatology PC, Westchester Division “A cosmetic dermatologist with offices in Westchester and NYC”