For many of us, the days of winter bring more than just cold temperatures, the holidays and shorter days. They also bring unwelcome dryness to our skin. Winter is not yet here, but the dry air and cold temperatures are telling your skin otherwise. For those of us who live in naturally arid climates, we are accustomed to dealing with dry, flaky skin. During the winter months much of the rest of the country joins us and our changing weather makes skin conditions even worse.
Your skin may feel the effects of both the outside temperatures and elements, along with the introduction of the new warm air circulating from your heating vent. As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out. This effect increases as we go from warm house, to cold outdoors, to warm cars and so on. The quick change in temperature is difficult for our skin to regulate.
When moisture in the skin is reduced, it appear less full, less toned, flaky and dull. Water is the skin’s main source of moisture. Most treatments for dry skin add water or retain water already existing in the skin. Both excessive humidity (above 90%) and low humidity (less than 10%) break down your outer skin barrier. For the skin to appear and feel normal, the water content of this outer layer must be above 10%, ideally between 20 and 35%.
There are some steps you can take to tackle your dry skin dilema.
First, you need to clean your skin without removing all of its natural moisturizers and then you need to add a topical product to help you retain moisture.
I suggest our DermaSpaRx Facial Enzyme Cleanser to gently remove make-up, dirt and impurities without stripping away the skin’s natural moisture.
Next, apply Hydrating B Serum – A maximum hydrating agent utilizing a naturally occurring polysaccharide–it is like giving your skin a drink of water. Apply either our Oil Free Moisture Cream (formulated for Oily Skin) or our Moisturizing Repair Cream (formulated for normal to dry skin). Both of these products are highly effective moisturizers with long-lasting hydration and repairing effects.
Here are some other tips for the dry season to keep your total body hydrated:
Protect Your Hands- It is difficult to keep your hands moist in cold, dry weather because the skin on your hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands than on most other parts of your body. This can lead to itchy, cracked skin. Be sure to use hand cream and wear gloves when you go outside-avoid wool if possible as it can be irritating.
Avoid Wet Socks and Gloves-Wearing wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin increasing the chance for itching, cracking, and sores. The gloves and socks are not the problem themselves, but rather what we do when we take them off. You need to moisturize your skin to replenish the oils. Otherwise, it will dry out and become chapped.
Humidify the Air- Central heating systems and heaters push hot, dry air through our homes and offices where we spend most of our time. Humidifiers will put moisture in the air and help prevent your skin from drying out.
Take a Break from Peels-If your facial skin is extremely dry or sensitive this time of year, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and any alcohol-based toners or astringents-these products can strip essential oils and moisture from your skin. Stick with a gentle enzyme cleanser or just water.
These tips should help your skin retain moisture, and look and feel healthy and hydrated this winter.
To your skin health,
Dr. Richard Asarch, M.D.