As the temperature drops and the weather conditions change, so too should your skin care routine. Follow these 6 winter skin care tips to ensure healthy skin year round!

  1. Choose the right moisturizer. Moisturizers that are oil-based may offer a protective coat on your skin. Examples include almond oil, avocado oil, mineral oil and primrose oil. In the winter, apply moisturizer to damp skin as soon as you get out of the shower to lock in the moisture.
  2. Wear sunscreen, even on winter days, and consider using products containing antioxidants because they also have sun-protection properties. Winter sun, as well as snow glare, can damage your skin; sunscreens labeled broad-spectrum help to prevent sun damage that could lead to wrinkles, age spots, or even skin cancer.
  3. Avoid hot water when bathing. Water temperatures that are too extreme can actually break down the lipid barriers in your skin and remove the skins natural oils more quickly which can lead to a loss of moisture. Use warmer water and mild soaps, pat dry skin rather than rubbing and apply moisturizer after you bathe.
  4. Pay extra attention to your hands. The skin on your hands is thinner and has less oil glands. It’s harder for your hands to retain moisture, so they are more vulnerable to itchiness and dryness. Make sure to keep them moisturized and wear warm, dry gloves when going outdoors.
  5. Keep your lips moisturized too. Lips don’t have oil glands, so they dry out especially easily. If possible, use lip balm with SPF in it. Petroleum jelly is an inexpensive moisturizer for lips and also works well on rough, cracked feet, elbows, and hands and dry cuticles. Try not to lick your lips and cover up with a scarf on those particularly cold and windy days.
  6. Consider using a humidifier. Forced-air furnaces, space heaters, and central heating systems blast dry hot air throughout your home and can make skin even drier. If you are particularly sensitive to dry skin throughout the winter, think about placing small humidifiers, which generate moisture back into the air, around your home.

Skin care products are not subject to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so their advertised benefits may not be adequately tested and their claims may be exaggerated. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations for skin care products.

Keep in mind “winter blues” can affect your skin as well. Stress can worsen skin conditions, such as psoriasis or rosacea. Practice stress management techniques and seek support. See your dermatologist for effective treatments that can improve your skin, hair, and nail conditions.

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology, LifeWork Strategies, Inc., and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals. For additional information, consult your physician.