We are supposed to get eight to 14 inches of snow in New Jersey this weekend. Its been really cold here, too. So I thought now would be the ideal time for a post about how to care for your skin in the colder months.
Wind, low humidity, and indoor heat really dry out your skin, Christine Choi Kim, a dermatologist in private practice in Santa Monica , Calif., told me. “So we try to do everything we can to retain moisture,” she said.
Dr. Kim graciously agreed to share her six best tips for ‘winterizing’ your skin care routine and protecting your skin when the temperature plummets:
!. Don’t be afraid of changing to a more hydrating moisturizer, even something oil based, as opposed to a water-based gel. “You might need to go to something a little thicker than what you are used to using,” said Kim. Some people don’t even need to moisturize in the summer months. “I don’t know anyone who is able to use the same products all year round, unless they are living in a climate that is the same all year round,” Kim said.
2. Avoid really hot showers and baths. “It feels really nice, but it can strip the natural oils from your skin,” said Kim. A comfortable temperature is fine, but avoid scalding hot water.
3. Invest in a humidifier. “A humidifier will help your skin and nasal passages retain moisture,” Kim said. When people turn the heat on in the winter, the air gets super dry. Your nasal passages get really dry, too, and you end up getting a bloody nose. Humidifiers can help.
4. Kim said she recommends that her patients apply moisturizer when their skin is slightly damp from the shower or bath. “Applying lotion to damp skin seals in moisture,” she explained.
5. If none of these things work, and you still get rashes because your skin is very dry, Kim recommends an over-the-counter-strength hydrocortisone cream. If that doesn’t cut it, see your derm for a prescription-strength topical cortisone cream.
6. And yes, you still need sunscreen in the winter! Kim said your sunscreen should be a broad spectrum product, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. The easiest thing is to use a tinted moisturizer with SPF, perhaps one that also contains antioxidants, such as a BB or CC cream, Kim said. If you get into the habit of using it not just as sunscreen, but as a moisturizer/makeup, you are more likely to use it regularly. “By using a foundation or moisturizer with SPF, it becomes a part of your makeup routine as well, not just sun protection,” said Kim.
And you absolutely need sunscreen if you ski or snowboard. Sunburn and wind burn are common among winter sports enthusiasts, Kim said. The sun reflects off the snow, giving you that ‘ski bunny’ look, with a burned face except two white circles where the goggles were. Not good.
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