How to protect and even improve the condition of you skin during winter by Dr. Lisa Kellett
From The Marilyn Denis Show, February 25, 2021
You may be a winter person and love it when temperatures dip below zero and that cold wind hits you in the face, but your skin needs a little intervention and encouragement to get through the winter. The state of our skin in the winter is affected by the drop in humidity, cold temperatures, and wind. These three factors cause water loss in the skin's superficial layers, and can be further exacerbated by forced air heating.
Dry, cracked and flaky skin, acne and rosacea can all be made worse by cold weather so as we experience changes in the elements, it’s a sign that we should be changing our skin care habits as well.
Our skin changes in winter as the dead cell layers of the skin can become more prominent resulting in “dryer” skin which for many is a visible concern. Dry skin, chapping and fissures are all common skin conditions.
AT HOME SOLUTIONS
Clean quickly – longer showers and baths cause an increase in the skin’s evaporation process, leaving the skin less hydrated than before. You should switch to baths preferably or keep showers short (between 5 and 10 minutes) to ensure maximum moisture is retained in the skin.
Not so hot – warm water is best for bathing as hot water removes natural skin oils more quickly.
Use a mild soap or bath oil - soaps can by drying so use a mild soap or non-soap cleanser or best is bath oil which can be used instead of soap.
Moisturize after bathing – lotions and creams are more effective in trapping water in the skin if applied right after bathing while the skin is still moist. This will make bathing a moisturizing experience, rather than a drying experience.
Hydrating Dry Hands and Feet
The steps below are a great DIY method to treat dry hands and feet.
- During a shower or bath loofah your wet skin
- Slather on a layer of barrier cream
- Wrap hands or feet in saran wrap and cover with gloves or cotton socks at night
Acne (Pimples, Blackheads & Whiteheads)
As if dry skin in the winter isn’t enough, for some, winter also means more acne. This is as a result of using thicker creams, lotions and oils. Try using a 5% Benzoyl Peroxide and gel-based moisturizers.
Why is this a thing? As more people wear masks for extended periods of time that means the skin is under occlusion (covered directly or indirectly) which can aggravate pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. In addition, it can also cause acne and dermatitis in individuals who have no history of these skin disorders. However there are things you can do to help avoid it such as using a gel-based moisturizer on your skin before putting on your mask.
You should also avoid wearing makeup under the mask and take a safe 15-minute break from your mask every four hours.
Wash your mask with a hypoallergenic detergent by hand, not in a washing machine.
Rosacea is a common, chronic and progressive skin disorder that usually emerges in your 30s and is more common in those with fairer skin. Quite often those with Rosacea can remember blushing since childhood but in later life it manifests as redness, visible blood vessels, flushing and bumps and pustules. Over 2 million women in Canada suffer from Rosacea and in the winter triggers such as a cold climate, wind, hot showers, exercise and stress can act as triggers. Try using gentle products and cleansing, and topical rosacea products.
Protect Your Skin Year Round
The sun can be very harmful in the winter as the snow and ice can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, amplifying their harsh effects. So if you are walking, skiing, or even driving, the most important winter advice is to use sunscreen daily as UV damage not only causes skin cancer and photo damage, it also accelerates the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Try using clear spray sunscreens for people who tend to break out, and creams for people with drier skin types. Always choose an SPF of 30 or higher.