Follow These 5 Tips To Protect Your Skin During The Winter

Many patients ask me for advice on protecting their skin when they travel to cold countries during winter. Winter is the season where low humidity, cold temperatures, and dry air from the furnace make the skin incredibly dry, itchy, and flaky. Extra care needs to be taken to keep skin supple under these harsh conditions.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Heavier moisturizing cream

Your skin care products should change with the seasons, and winter is the perfect time to switch to a richer moisturizer, such as balms or creams that contain healthy oils. These rich formulations seal water into the skin, and prevent flaking and dry patches. It is also important to increase the frequency of application of moisturizers.

2. Sunscreen

Just because it is cold and the sun isn’t peaking through doesn’t mean one should neglect sunscreen. There is still UV radiation on a cloudy winter day. A formulation that is moisturizing and provides broad-spectrum protection of at least SPF 30 is best. This is especially crucial for people who are going skiing as the UV radiation is intensified by almost 2 times due to the reflection of the snow, so an SPF 90 sunscreen would be more appropriate.

3. Clean the correct way

It is tempting to take long, hot baths during the winter, but this only dries the skin out more, stripping it of its natural oils. Bubble baths or harsh soaps that are laden with perfumes and antibacterial ingredients, can seriously dehydrate the skin and cause skin irritation. Choose warm water for cleansing the face, and a mild cleanser that is soap-free and fragrance-free. Try to bathe for no more than 10 minutes, pat dry afterwards, and moisturize immediately to seal in the moisture.

4. Take extra care of pre-existing skin problems

Eczema is usually exacerbated by cold temperatures and dry climate, as well as by the use of harsh hotel soaps. It is always wise to carry your own soapless cleanser and emollients and moisturize liberally so as not to exacerbate the underlying condition. The flaking of psoriasis may worsen too, so make sure to pack your emollients and medications on these trips.

Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis can be exacerbated by the stress of travelling and by dry air, and may manifest in other parts of the face like the ears, sides of the nose, and eyebrows.

Lastly, rosacea-prone skin is very problematic during this season. Soothing creams that protect the barrier function of the skin are a must.

With a little extra care, it is possible to counterbalance the drying effects of the winter months, with protecting the skin from unnecessary flaking, redness, and inflammation.

5. Humidity

Finally, a simple thing you can do to boost the moisture of your skin is to add humidity to the air. A portable humidifier will bring much-needed moisture back into the environment, and counterbalance the drying-effects of a heater.

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