Help Your Skin Survive the Change of Seasons Beautifully
With the leaves changing colors and the start of the holiday season, winter is a wonderful time of year. But unfortunately the onset of winter can wreak havoc on our skin. Cooler temperatures outside combined with arid, artificial heat inside create a recipe for dry, itchy skin.
For patients who experience dry and itchy skin when the weather changes year after year, I advise being proactive. If you start moisturizing sooner rather than later—especially when winter just begins to set in—these uncomfortable skin issues can usually be avoided.
When it comes to the face, a few simple skin care steps can alleviate uncomfortable and unsightly dryness, but you don’t have to stop using the anti-aging or anti-acne active ingredients you rely on to keep your skin looking great. Retinol is commonly used to treat visible signs of aging as well as acne, and many patients find it difficult to tolerate this ingredient even when the weather isn’t in flux. If the change of seasons makes your skin more reactive, first try switching to a cleanser designed for sensitive skin. You can also step down the concentration of your retinol until spring. For example, if you find SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex ES™ or prescription retinoids too drying this time of year, try SkinMedica’s original Retinol Complex for the short term. Other skin-soothing options include mixing your retinol with a moisturizer when applying, or using a more intense moisturizer such as SkinMedica Dermal Repair for the winter months. Your best bet is to talk to your skin care professional, so he or she can give you recommendations that are well suited to your skin and your concerns.
Exfoliation is key for eliminating dead, flaky skin, and SkinMedica Skin Polisher contains ultra-fine jojoba spheres that gently remove dry skin with minimal irritation or stripping the skin of essential moisture. This time of year is ideal for in-office chemical peels since most of us are outdoors less, making it easier to avoid the post-peel sun exposure that can lead to complications. Within just a few appointments, skin is smoother and softer with less signs of summer sun damage, and eliminating the build-up of dull, dry skin helps your moisturizer penetrate better.
For dry, itchy skin on the body, daily moisturization is key. Apply cream or lotion immediately after showering when skin is still damp, and remember to be generous. Don’t try to spread your cream or lotion too thin, even if it means waiting a few extra minutes before getting dressed. And don’t take too-hot showers either, as this can dry out skin even more.
While most of us associate winter with bundling up and being out of the sun, I can’t stress enough the importance of daily sunscreen use year-round. We all need to use a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection regardless of the weather, since even incidental sun exposure from walking to and from the car and driving can contribute not only to visible signs of aging, but to skin cancer as well. My rule of thumb: Apply sunscreen anywhere that’s not covered by clothing, so in the winter this means concentrating on your face, neck and hands. During the colder months, your sunscreen doesn’t have to be thick, greasy or water-resistant, and I recommend SkinMedica TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer™ + SPF 20 because it works like 3 products in one by delivering moisture, sun protection and anti-aging benefits. But if you take part in outdoor activities like skiing (the sun is stronger at higher altitudes), be sure to have a high-performance sunscreen that offers a high level of UV protection.
There’s no reason your skin can’t survive winter comfortably and beautifully, but when in doubt, talk to your skin care professional.