Many of us across the southeast have already experienced the first of Old Man Winter’s throes: Here in East Tennessee, we’ve woken up to frosty mornings and look forward to seeing the season’s first flurries. And though the winter season means snuggling up to the coming stretch of holidays, good food and family, it also means that it’s time to adjust your skincare regimen to combat the dry winter skin that usually comes with the cooler temps and drier air.
Here are 6 simple tips you can follow to avoid a flakey face, cracked hands, chapped lips and scaly legs and keep your skin smooth and supple all winter long:
1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – but be smart about it.
Regardless of your skin type or the season, it’s important to make sure that moisturizing is part if your skin care regimen. When the season has your skin feeing tighter or you’re seeing flakes or scales, it’s time to increase the amount of moisture you’re putting on your skin from head to toe.
Though your first thought might be to reach for the heaviest, richest formula you can find, it’s important to think about your skin type. If you break out easy, it might be wise to avoid a heavy cream. Generally speaking, creams are heavier than lotions, which are heavier than gels. Dr. Doppelt and many other dermatologists stress that the ingredients in a product are more important than the viscosity. For example, those with acne-prone skin likely want to avoid moisturizers with oil or petrolatum.
2. Keep showers and baths short.
Even though a long, hot bath or shower might feel like a good way to warm up on a cool day, it’s not good for your skin. Dr. Doppelt frequently reminds his patients that water is not hydrating for the skin and exposure to hot water can strip the skin of its natural protective oils. If your skin is very dry, consider lubing up with an emollient, occlusive or humectant ingredient like dimethicone, paraffin or lanolin right after your shower. These all create a protective barrier on the epidermis and can prevent the skin from losing moisture when being exposed to the elements.
3. Humidify your home or office.
Breathe easier and protect your skin from dry indoor air by adding moisture to the air around you. Most home heating and cooling experts recommend maintaining an indoor humidity level between 40 and 50 percent for comfort and heath.
4. Hydrate from the inside out.
It’s true: You are what you eat. Make the most of the diet-skin connection by eating foods high in water content to hydrate your skin from the inside out. Think about adding fruits and veggies like celery, tomatoes, zucchini, apples, oranges and melon to your diet. Additionally, foods high in zinc and vitamin C can support your body’s production of skin-saving collagen and elastin. While you’re at it, adding an omega-3 supplement or consuming fatty fish and flaxseed can also help heal your skin from the inside out.
5. Lightly exfoliate your lips for a chapped-free smile.
Keep your kisser soft and smooth by making gentle exfoliation part of your daily routine. Consider taking a few seconds to gently brush your lips with your toothbrush to slough off dry skin. You can also make a gentle (and sweet!) scrub to exfoliate your lips by mixing a table spoon of brown sugar with honey. Massage the mixture into your lips, let it sit for a minute, then rinse off. Remember to apply lip balm right after exfoliating!
6. Prevention is key.
Many of us are prone to dry, cracked hands this time of year. In this case, prevention is the best treatment. It is essential to moisturize the hands multiple times a day, as one lotion application rarely provides more than a few minutes of protection. If you must wash your hands frequently (more than a dozen or so times a day), consider substituting a hand-sanitizer gel or wipes for some of the soap-and-water sessions. This will limit your exposure to the moisture-zapping hot water. If your hands are still dry and chapped even after less washing and more moisturizing, consider making an appointment with Dr. Doppelt, as your chapped skin might be caused by a condition like eczema or psoriasis.
For more information about keeping your skin healthy, give us a call at (865) 474-8800 or schedule an appointment online.