Cold-weather skin is basically the worst, and it’s kicking into high gear for the frigid months ahead. I spoke to New York City dermatologists Amy Wechsler and Hadley King about their best advice for avoiding cold-weather skin disaster—and they shared a few tips that may surprise you.
Some moisturizers are not very moisturizing. “A lotion may smell good and look nice, but if you can’t tell you put it on five minutes after you put it on, it’s not doing much,” says King. She recommends switching to heavier, thicker products that contain humectants like glycerin and sorbitol, which attract moisture to skin, when the weather gets cold.
Oily skin gets dried out, too. “The biggest myth is that people with oily skin should skip moisturizing because it will lead to breakouts,” says Wechsler. “That’s especially untrue if you’re fighting acne with medication that can be drying—dryness can trigger inflammation, which will only lead to more breakouts.” Just be sure to pick a lightweight formula that’s labeled as oil-free or noncomedogenic.
What Your Should Do For Dry Skin
Drinking eight to 10 glasses of water per day is great for your body overall, but did you know that staying hydrated benefits your skin, too? It all goes back to trapping that moisture. Remember that alcohol and coffee are mild diuretics, and too much of them can foil your hydration efforts. Drink water along with your cup of joe, and down a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage – a habit that will both help your skin and ease your hangover.
Change your facial cleansing routine.
Maybe your skin could handle those intense scrubs and soap-based cleaners in July and August, but they’re likely too harsh for these colder, dryer months. “You don’t wear the same clothing in February that you do in August,” Bank says. “So why would you expect to use the exact same skin care regimen?” Opt for a milder, gentler cleanser for the winter. Choose a hydrating formula that will trap and seal in water.
Switch up your moisturizing habits.
Ditch the thinner, lighter moisturizer you used in the summer and look for thicker, richer moisturizers that trap water. And just how you found a suitable and affordable winter cleanser in the drugstore, Bank stresses that you don’t need to spend much to find a good moisturizer, either. “The chemists that work on the pharmacy brands are often the same chemists who work on the department store brands,” he says. “And just because one has an extra zero on the price point doesn’t mean that it’s that much better.”
Look for face cleaners or super-fatted soaps
that have extra amounts of fatty substances or oil such as lanolin, cocoa butter, or coconut oil added. Harsh soaps can quickly strip away your skin’s protective oils. One of the biggest problems people have with dry type skin stems from harsh soap especially deodorant soaps, and antibacterial soaps. Most soaps have lye in them which are very irritating to dry sensitive skin types.
Turn Down the Heat
Jacking up the heat may keep you toasty, but it’s also doing a number on your skin. Dry, hot air contributes to dry, prickly skin. Turn down the thermostat to help keep your skin from dehydrating. If you put on a cardigan or a pair of slippers, you’ll stay warm and save money, too.
Moisturize your skin.
Dry skin problems result when there is not enough water in the skin and the moisture is allowed to escape. An effective dry skin remedies simple use of moisturizers for dry skin will usually take care of most problems. A wide variety of dry skin lotion and creams are available to smooth out our skin and provide a seal over your skin to keep water from escaping, adding moisture and keeping it moist and dewy.
Itchy clothing makes dry skin worse. “Wool is problematic. It will aggravate the itching in potentially dry skin,” says Dr. Jang. “If you want to wear wool, put a layer of cotton clothing underneath. You don’t want wool to touch the skin directly.”
Limit your bath and shower time and use warm, rather than hot,water.
Prolonged exposure to water, especially hot water, can wash away the natural oils that protect your skin.
Protect yourself from the harsh winds, and cold temperatures.
The cold, harsh dry air of winter is one of the most common causes of dry facial skin. In general, your skin is driest in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet.
Stop the Itch!
If your skin is itchy for no obvious reason, try using a moisturizer before visiting your health-care professional. Moisturizers add a protective oil layer to your skin and decrease the amount of moisture lost to dry air. You don’t need to use fancy or expensive moisturizer. Sometimes simpler is better because “special” added ingredients may not result in any benefit to your skin, even though the hype of the product may sound great!
Winter Skin Tips for Everyone
Even if you don’t have a skin condition, you should take these steps to keep your skin from getting too dry in wintry weather.
Add humidity to your home. Portable humidifiers or those that work with your heating system put moisture in the air that will be absorbed by your skin and hair.
Use an oil-based moisturizer. Ointments or heavy creams seal water in the skin and preserve moisture better when the humidity is low.
Slather on sunscreen. Before heading outdoors, apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to any exposed areas. Sunscreen protects from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Clean up the right way. Frequent bathing or hot showers or baths can strip your skin of natural oils. Avoid deodorant bars, antibacterial soaps, perfumed soaps, and skin care products containing alcohol. Instead, use warm water and a mild, fragrance-free soap or moisturizing body wash. Limit your showers or baths to no more than 10 minutes, pat dry, and moisturize while your skin is still damp.
Apply Fresh Milk On Face & Leave it as it is on face for about 15 minutes then wash with little warm or cold water, avoid hot water.
What & What not you should Use
Lotions are good for most parts of your body, but creams are best for the really rough areas such as elbows, knees, hands and feet.
Try not to use bath oils because they don’t stay on the skin very long and make the tub slippery and more dangerous.
Apply a moisturizer after you take a bath or shower. This will help keep your skin hydrated. It’s often best to take a bath or shower before you go to bed. Cold dry air tends to cause the moisture on your skin to evaporate, setting up a cycle of drier skin.
Drink plenty of water (as long as you have no fluid restrictions), not soda or caffeinated beverages.
Avoid long showers or baths, use warm water, not hot, and try not to use scented soaps or detergents.
Don’t wear wool or other scratchy materials against your skin.
Wear gloves when washing dishes, or if your hands are exposed to harsh chemicals.
Consider getting a humidifier during the heating season, or use the time-proven method of keeping pots filled with water near the heating vents to increase the moisture in the air.
Don’t lick chapped lips because this will lead to even more fluid loss and more lip cracking.
Low temperatures and low humidity levels raise your risk of eczema flares. “Think of severe dishpan hands with dryness, itching, blistering, and cracking,” says Robert Brodell, MD, chief of dermatology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Moisturize your hands and then slip on gloves before heading outdoors, but remove them quickly if you get overheated. Sweat trapped inside gloves can make you itch.
Psoriasis causes itchy, dry, and sometimes painful scales to appear on your skin. The plaques build up on your elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. When you have psoriasis, your skin cells reproduce so quickly that old ones don’t have time to slough off. “Soaking in warm water with an over-the-counter, oilated oatmeal bath product can alleviate itching,” says Brodell. When you’re finished, gently pat dry your skin — don’t rub! — and apply a moisturizer.
Dandruff flakes appear when skin cells on the scalp rapidly reproduce and peel off. “The flakes are often accompanied by itching caused from scalp inflammation,” says Charles Crutchfield III, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview. Flare-ups happen more often in the dry winter months, and not just on your scalp — you also may see them on your nose, eyebrows, ears, armpits, and groin. Try switching between over-the-counter dandruff shampoos containing different ingredients. Severe cases may need a prescription shampoo and a corticosteroid or antifungal medication. Dandruff can be a lifelong condition. “If you find yourself wearing special clothing or avoiding situations because of dandruff, it’s time to see a dermatologist,”