Cracked lips. Itchy cheeks. Dry patches of skin. They’re all too common signs of wintertime skin problems that leave people longing for the warmer days of spring. But these cold-weather skin concerns don’t have to be your reality.
"By taking extra steps in the winter, you can protect your skin from the harsh effects of cold winds and dry indoor heat,” says aesthetician Pamela Dunn at Atlantic Health System’s Chambers Center for Well-Being.
Here are her seven top wintertime skincare tips:
- Forget the hot shower.
We all love steamy showers on a cold day. But when it comes to skin care, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends people take shorter (10 minutes or less) showers in lukewarm water. That’s because hot water can remove natural oil from your skin and dry it out.
- Ditch the gel-based cleanser.
“Gels have a tendency to dry the skin, too,” Dunn says. Using a cream-based cleanser may help because of the way those products bind to the skin. However, if you have a skin type prone to repeated bouts of acne, gel-based cleansers remain best.
- Use a hydrating face mask.
Masks that contain hyaluronic acid, chamomile or cucumber work best to replenish and soften your skin. “In the wintertime, strive to use it once or twice a week,” Dunn says.
- Check your moisturizer.
Many basic moisturizers work well every other day of the year, but not so well when the temperatures stay below freezing for extended periods of time. Dunn recommends looking for a wintertime moisturizer with a higher concentration of emollients that seal the skin. Apply that moisturizer both in the morning and at night.
- Reserve your evenings for skin repair.
Those dark winter nights are perfect for using a sleep mask or other hydrating skin treatments. “Doing so allows you to heal your skin while you sleep," Dunn says.
- Soothe those chapped lips.
Your lips take a pounding during winter. Lip scrubs or lip masks, applied five minutes before bedtime, can keep lips from feeling dry and cracked the following day.
- Don’t forget to exfoliate.
While building moisture is the goal of wintertime skin care, your skin still builds dead cells every single day. “When they sit on the epidermis, they prevent moisture-binding products from working at their best,” Dunn says. Keep your skin clear by exfoliating one to two times each week. But do so gently—overscrubbing leads to redness, dryness and itchiness.
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