Have you noticed changes in your skin as the colder weather sets in?
Matthew Meier, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist at Mercy Health – Kenwood Dermatology, is here with some tips and tricks to help you maintain healthy skin during the winter months.
The winter season can take a toll on your skin, making it dry, itchy, red and flaky.
“Winter weather is not like summer weather,” Dr. Meier says. “In the summer, the humidity is different and the air holds in moisture that helps your skin. If you have you ever wondered why your skin clears up when you go to Florida on spring break, this is the reason.”
With colder weather, it is important while washing your face to use lukewarm water and stay away from hot water. Hot water can damage the outer layer of your skin, preventing it from locking in moisture and leaving it dry.
“One thing you can do is limit your shower time to 10 minutes, don’t use hot water and after showering, pat dry your skin,” Dr. Meier shares.
He adds, “another thing you can do is use a thick moisturizer. These typically come in jars.”
A thicker moisturizer helps create a barrier between your skin and the air, adding a layer of protection from the cold. You can also use hyaluronic acids to help hydrate your skin.
“If you are starting a new skincare routine, try one thing at a time,” Dr. Meier advises. “If you have sensitive skin, try it out on your arm or somewhere else to see how your skin reacts to that product. It’s also always best to start with a gentle cleanser. This way you won’t irritate or dehydrate your skin.”
Cold weather can dry out the skin on your hands, too.
“Use a moisturizer to keep skin from cracking and wear gloves to help keep your hands from getting chapped, especially when you are cleaning,” Dr. Meier says.
And what about retinol creams?
Many people use them to help reduce the signs of aging and sun damage by increasing skin cell turnover. However, the issue to look out for with retinol is that it can leave your skin drier.
“If you use retinol, limit its use in the wintertime and make sure you have enough moisture in your skin routine,” Dr. Meier shares.
If it is gloomy outside, do you still need to wear sunscreen?
“Yes!” Dr. Meier exclaims. “Your skin can still see UV light, which can be damaging even if the sun is not shining. While using SPF 30 is not as important in winter, I do recommend adding a sunscreen into your routine in the morning. It will save you in the long run and prevention is key in skin care.”
Learn about the dermatology and skin care services we offer at Mercy Health.