Without a doubt, winter months can certainly challenge our skin. Cold, dry air and the use of heat in our homes, vehicles and workplace can also contribute to the drying effects of winter
Let’s take a look at what you’re using on your skin…or not using that is contributing to your skin’s winter health.
- Cleanser—make sure that you are using a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin condition, i.e. gel cleansers for combination to oily skin types and creamy cleansers for very dry skin types. Whether your skin is oily or dry, cleansing twice a day is enough. Washing your face at the sink using lukewarm water is a better way to make sure you’re not using too hot of water on your face while cleansing. Washing your face with hot water in the shower is double trouble.
- Exfoliation—steer clear of over-stripping and over-treating the skin by the use of electronic facial brushes, aggressive facial scrubs, any type of bar soap (soap by its very nature is alkaline with a high ph and will dry the skin), alcohol based toners, and avoid over use of glycolic based products. While exfoliation is important to skin health, limit exfoliation to two times a week. Over exfoliation and over treating the skin can strip the skins natural hydrolipidic film. You can use an enzyme mask which is more gentle for sensitive skin types or use a cleanser that has either glycolic and or salicylic acid which works very well for removing surface dead skin cells.
- Antioxidant protection—daytime use of topical antioxidants aid in helping to prevent future sun damage, especially when coupled with daily use of sunscreen. Antioxidants have the added benefits of brightening and firming the skin while protecting the skin from free radical damage. Free radical damage is one of the main causes of aging.
- Moisturizer—whether your skin is oily, combination, or dry, you still need to have a protective barrier on your skin to prevent winter redness, irritation, dehydration and excessive dryness. For oily skin types, an oil-free, hydrating moisturizer works well. Many oil-free moisturizers also have soothing ingredients that are beneficial to the inflammatory nature of acne. Combination skin usually needs a heavier moisturizer in the wintertime than they would in the summer. For dry skin types, it is important to use a moisturizer that contains both oil and hydrating ingredients to replenish the drying effects of winter.
- Humidifier—having a humidifier running in your home can also help to prevent dehydration of the skin caused by constant use of heat in the home.
- Sunscreen—a must…rain or shine.
Hang in there, Spring is coming!
For a complimentary skincare evaluation and consultation, contact our office to schedule an appointment with our medical esthetician, Dana Cloud.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.