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As winter is upon us, you have probably noticed that you skin is getting dryer. This is common and we see changes in our skin throughout the seasons of the year. And, your skin will require different care and treatment depending upon the season of the year. So what should you be doing differently? Glad you asked.
With the cold, you skin needs better protection. And many times this means preserving the natural oils that protect our skin, or adding to them. So, here are some tips for you.
Many cleansers and other skin care products we use contain chemicals such as the alpha hydroxyl acids (think glycolic acid) which will help with exfoliation or skin cell turn over. These are great for making your skin look fresher, but they also can dry out your skin. So, you may want to tone it down during the winter months. If there is a product like this that you use every day, back off to using it every other day, or once or twice a week.
You may also need to change your facial cleanser, or change other products. Since you skin's needs are different with the seasons, you may need to change your products with the seasons as well. Consider moving from your glycolic cleanser to a gentler one, or one which also moisturizes or hydrates. Or add a hydrating product to your antioxidant products. And play around with things. If you head to Colorado to ski, know that it may be colder and more arid than you home. So, alter your skin care plan as you need to.
You really need to moisturize, but then I may already have said this. And, everyone will tell you that it is best to apply our moisturizer while your skin is still a little damp. This applies to your face, your hands, and the rest of your body. In addition to keeping in your body's own oils, the moisturizer will also help to protect you skin as a barrier to the cold.
The hands actually take a bigger hit with the cold than anywhere else on your body. So, keep a good hand moisturizer around and use if often, especially if you wash your hands a lot during the days. And gloves. When it's cold outside, be nice your hands and protect them from the wind and cold.
When you've been outside and need to warm up, many of use hop in the shower and turn up the heat. We may even stay there until the hot water heater gives out. But, this is not good for us. The hotter the water, the more it removes you skin natural oils and barriers. And, the longer you are in the shower, the more this happens. So, go with warm water not scalding hot. And leave some hot water for everyone else in the house!
While long hot showers are out, a soak in a warm tub can be great especially if you add something to the bath water. If you have a lot of irritation, try an oatmeal bath. Baking soda can also work. And if you are looking for some added moisture, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. You can even use olive oil and oatmeal together (but I would leave out the balsamic vinegar...just saying).
You still need your sunscreen! Even though the days are shorter and we are all looking for sun to cure our affective seasonal disorder, those beneficial rays can still burn. So continue to use your sunscreen. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a skin care product, or makeup with sunscreen in it. And, if you heading up to the mountains to ski, or down to the Caribbean to escape the cold, get some high test sun screen, and reapply it often.
It doesn't take too much to take care of your skin during the winter, but a little goes a long way. Just remember that your body's natural oils are your friend, and what you do for your skin in the summer is not what your skin will need in the winter.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.