News | Published February 18, 2013 | Written by Camille Brown, licensed aesthetician

Winter skin FAQs

Camille Brown, licensed aesthetician, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgery

How does winter weather affect our skin?
Winter’s cold air steals your skin’s moisture, leading to dry, itchy, irritated, flaky and cracked skin. Indoor heating also zaps the skin’s moisture. I suggest using humidifiers in the home to put back some moisture in the air.

How should we care for our skin in winter?
Follow a good skin care regimen that includes gentle cleansing, exfoliation to remove dead skin cells as they are very porous and will absorb a lot of your moisturizer, not allowing much to get in deeper into the skin where it is most needed. Moisturize with a moisturizer suited to your skin type. Apply SPF daily since UV rays are present all year long! Exposure will damage and age your skin.

What type of products or product ingredients work best for our skin?
Products containing shea butter, avocado and coconut oils offer good barrier protection. Squalane, ceramides, and fatty acids are also very beneficial in preventing water loss. Green tea, vitamin E, and reservatrol help inflammation and will calm irritated skin.

What can be done to protect skin while outside?

  • Before going out, ensure your skin is properly moisturized. Wear proper winter clothing – hats, neck warmers/scarves, gloves, and sunglasses for bright winter sun.
  • A good tip for your hands: Apply a thick balm then cover your hands with a glove liner then a glove. The added layers offer more protection and will trap the moisture in your hands.
  • Also, don’t forget your lips! A good lip balm containing SPF to prevent damage to your lips.
  • When temperatures drop very low, avoid long stays outside as this could lead to frostbite or hypothermia, which could become a medical emergency.

What is the biggest misconception that people have about winter skin?
Hands down: That you don’t need to apply SPF in the winter – that it’s for summer only.

The reality is that UV rays are present all year and harmful rays reflect off the snow. In higher elevations it is believed that the presence of UV rays actually increases and time spent outside enjoying outdoor sports like skiing, raise the risk of skin damage due to sun exposure. Apply at least SPF 30 and reapply every 2 hours when outside to protect your skin.

 

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