Protecting Your Skin from Harsh Winters

Protecting your skin during cold weather can be a challenge. However, with the right regimen and dedication, you can have soft, supple skin even when the weather outside is frightful. Cold weather brings dry indoor heat, which can lead to cracked, bleeding skin on your hands and other body parts. Pre-existing skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can worsen these problems.

Check out these tips to protecting your skin during this harsh winter.

  1. 1. Avoid taking long, hot showers or baths. Nothing is more luxurious than sinking into a hot bath or taking a long invigorating shower. However, what you don’t realize is that all that hot water and soap is drying out your skin. That’s because it robs your skin of essential oils it needs to stay supple. Try warm water rather than hot and use moisturizing soaps.
  2. 2. Use sunscreen even in winter. Sunscreen is a must in the summer but it should also be applied in the winter. Glare from all that snow on the ground can give you a sunburn and increase your chances for wrinkles and skin cancer. Apply sunscreen, at least to your face, when venturing outside in winter. Do this at least a half hour before heading outside.
  3. 3. Choose a winter moisturizer. Not all moisturizers are created equal. The one you use in summer isn’t necessarily the best one for winter use. And don’t think just because you’re buying a thick moisturizer that it’s automatically better for your hands and face.  This could be bad for breakouts, so steer clear of petroleum or oil-based formulas and choose ones with lipids instead. If you suffer from really dry skin, go with an emollient moisturizer that is designed to lock in moisture.
  4. 4. See a dermatologist. If you are experiencing severely dry skin, see your doctor. They can analyze your skin type, discuss your current skin care regimen, and advise you on the right regimen and products to use. If you also suffer from acne, they can prescribe antibiotics that can be much more effective than over-the-counter products.
  5. 5. Don’t go tanning. Don’t mistakenly think you will be getting sufficient vitamin D if you get a tan from a tanning bed. While it can be tempting to get more “sunlight” on those dark, short, cold days, always remember the damage a tanning bed will do to your skin is far worse than any temporary infusion of Vitamin D. That’s because UVA and UVB radiation can cause skin cancer.
  6. 6. Examine your skin. You know your skin best. Regularly examine it for any changes that should alert you to see a dermatologist. Do you see any new moles or growths, or changes to growths you already have? Do you have lesions that have been changing, itching or bleeding? What about lesions that never seem to heal? Be vigilant with your self-exams to identify potential problems early on.
  7. 7. Minimize scars. Use products like Scarfade on cuts and burns as soon as they start to heal so you can minimize the appearance of scars.