How are you handling this rough winter? OK, what I really want to know is how your skin is handling it. It’s no secret that these dry months take a toll on skin. As a dermatologist serving Naperville, Joliet, and other frigid Illinois communities, I see a lot of patients this time of year area whose skin is sapped of moisture, particularly on the hands and face.
I help my patients find ways to manage flaking, cracked skin and inflamed eczema, which tends to flare up in extremely dry conditions. Prevention, of course, is a preferable option to treating uncomfortable skin conditions. So what can women and men do to keep their skin moist and healthy? I’ve got some tips that help my patients emerge from the winter months with a hydrated glow:
- Start with a specialist. With the vast array of skin care products on the market, it can be confusing to know which works best for you. A specialist will assess your skin type and tone and fine-tune your current skin care regimen.
- Get high-quality moisturizers. The same all-purpose moisturizers you use during the spring and summer may not be what’s right for the winter. Oil-based moisturizing ointments instead of water-based products seal your skin with a thin layer of protection to help retain moisture.
- Consider a humidifier. Cranking up the central heating system in the home and office leads to dry skin. Humidifiers in various areas of your home keep the air — and the skin — moist.
- Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is a good idea no matter what time of year. But drinking several glasses of water each day during the winter months is one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and moist.
- Don’t forget sunscreen. Many people neglect to wear sunscreen during the winter. Even though you don’t see the sun as often, it can still damage the skin.
- Skip the long, hot bath. Few things are more satisfying than soaking in a hot bath, especially when it’s freezing outside. Unfortunately, that intense heat breaks down the barrier formed by lipids, critical molecules for keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. Try warm baths and showers instead of scalding, and be sure to moisturize afterward.
By following these simple tips and making regular appointments with your dermatologist, your skin will remain beautiful and hydrated at any time of year.