Winter Skincare Tips for Dry, Cold Climates
While we are indeed fortunate to live in the Reno-Tahoe area, exploring and enjoying our beautiful surroundings by hiking, biking, swimming and rafting in the warmer months and skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, when the weather turns cold, our skin can suffer.
Our dry climate can be harmful on the skin. Most of us instinctively reach for sun screen during the hot summer months, but what many do not realize is that skin protection is just as essential during the winter.
Whether you are outdoors in the cold, or indoors when the heating of our homes takes even more of the moisture out of the air, dry skin is common. Dry, rough and itchy skin and even skin rashes associated with this lack of moisture are common concerns of our patients at Janiga MDs.
Here are some winter skincare tips to help you care for your skin:
1. Protect Your Hands
Remember that the skin on our hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands than other areas of the body, which lends itself more easily to drying and cracking. We can obviously give our hands special protection in the winter by wearing gloves outdoors, and should perhaps carry an extra pair to avoid wearing them when they get wet.
We need to also minimize the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers and avoid washing our hands with harsh soaps. Because winter is also the cold and flu season and frequent hand washing is necessary to minimize the transmission of germs, we recommend using a milky, hydrating, non-soap cleanser and applying a moisturizer after every washing.
2. Pamper Your Feet
The skin of our feet is generally prone to thickening, drying, scaling, and cracking, and this is especially true in winter. We suggest oiling or greasing your feet daily with petroleum or glycerin based product that is high in hydration. Exfoliating the foot skin also helps and urea based products are an excellent choice.
3. Care for Your Face
Lest we forget, facial skin requires special care in the winter too. First of all, there is still the misconception that if it’s cloudy, raining, or snowing, sunscreen is not necessary. This is simply not true because UV radiation penetrates cloud cover and is even amplified by the reflection off of snow.
Additionally, in the winter, one should also avoid alcohol-based astringents, clay-based masks and strong chemical peels, which can strip facial skin of oil. Be sure to look for humectants in facial products which attract moisture.
4. Moisturize All Over
Finally, we are reminded that spending time in water, especially hot water dries the skin. Hot water breaks down the lipid barrier in skin, which causes dryness so one should take shorter warm showers to help avoid this problem.
It is important also to moisturize after bathing and worth remembering that exfoliation of the skin improves the effectiveness of moisturizers. AmLactin is an over the counter product which exfoliates as well as hydrates by combining a moisturizer with lactic acid. In fact, Cleopatra, famous for her beautiful skin, was known to bathe in milk which is both a moisturizing and contains lactic acid.
Happy Holidays and enjoy your wintertime activities!