Most people experience dryness during the winter months, but severe dryness can have some not-so-fun consequences! This can make it seem like you can’t win, but there are some steps you should be sure to take during the winter months to ensure your skin stays healthy and moisturized. Taking steps to keep skin moisturized and hydrated, no matter the climate, is important to prevent signs of premature aging, as well as discomfort. These are some of the best ways to prevent painful, flaky, and cracked skin.
Consult your regimen
Like your wardrobe, it’s common to switch out your skincare regimen as the seasons change. This is because different seasons bring different concerns. If you find that your skin has become dry and flaky, it might be time to take stock of your moisturizer and any actives you’re using. If your moisturizer doesn’t seem to be doing enough, you should consider finding a heavier alternative (non-comedogenic, oil-based moisturizers containing humectants can retain moisture better, in some cases). If your skin is acne-prone, however, you should be sure to get a recommendation from your dermatologist first. It’s also important to assess whether any active ingredients in your regimen like retinols or BHA’s might also be contributing to dry skin as well, and consider changing them out for gentler grades or stop using them. If your skin has become flaky, you might benefit from physically exfoliating regularly to ensure that your skin can effectively absorb your moisturizing products.
Change your habits and environment
Even though you might not be able to change the weather, you can make sure your home environment is one that can benefit your skin. Most patients benefit from a humidifier in their sleeping area so that the air doesn’t become overly-dry. Additionally, avoiding smoky fireplaces can be a good step in ensuring your skin isn’t exposed to more dry air. Although it can be tempting to take a hot, steamy shower, intense heat from showers or baths can break down the moisture barriers in the skin. This can contribute to a loss of natural moisture, leading to increased dryness. So, try to keep your showers or baths short, or stick with warm water. And, as always, drink plenty of water!
Don’t forget your sunscreen
Although many people don’t consider it, you can still be exposed to UV rays during the winter. It’s always important to wear sun protection factor, but it’s especially important during the winter when sunburn and sun damage can contribute to dryness and make it difficult for your skin to recover its natural moisture. This becomes even more important if you’re traveling to higher altitudes for the winter— many skiers experience sunburn in the winter because of being closer to the sun, a thinner atmosphere, and the misconception of not needing sunscreen. Don’t forget to make sure that your lip protectants also contain SPF.
Where there’s dryness, itchiness usually follows. However, this can create a vicious cycle where itchiness causes additional flakiness and dryness. For this reason, it’s important to avoid further damaging the skin by applying plenty of unscented moisturizer and anti-itch ingredients like hydrocortisone. It’s best to do this immediately after bathing or washing so that your skin still has natural moisture from water that can be sealed in by your skincare products. For even more effective treatment, a layer of petroleum jelly applied over top of your moisturizer can help prevent its effects from being lost to dry air. Many patients benefit from doing this as an overnight treatment to avoid bothering the area.
Find the right mask
If you regularly treat your skin with masks, or even if you don’t, it can be worth it to find one that provides a moisture boost with the right ingredients. The best ones provide plenty of vitamins and oils, hyaluronic acid, and can help boost your skin’s collagen and elastin production— all of these things contribute to healthy, moisturized skin. If your skin is sensitive to dryness and irritation, masks containing oatmeal can help sooth the skin and reduce itchiness. These mask treatments can work best when paired with your exfoliating treatments or as a sleeping mask to help rejuvenate your skin overnight.
Try professional treatments
There are a few professional-grade treatments that can help to repair your skin, restore moisture, and augment your at-home care. Deeply-exfoliating treatments like chemical peels or microdermabrasion can help remove dead, dry skin cells, revealing healthy ones underneath. This means your skin can better absorb moisturizing products and repair itself more easily, so regular treatments can help you maintain healthy skin over the course of winter.
Meet with our skincare specialists
If you’re experiencing extensive dryness and cracking, a skincare consultation with our experts can be a great step towards healing your skin. We can assess your at-home regimen, recommend professional treatments, and create a treatment plan using our physician-grade skincare products. To schedule a consultation at our Jupiter office, contact us by calling or filling out our online form.