As winter soon approaches it is easy to forget to take good care of our skin. One of the main problems during the cold winter months is the excessive dryness in the air. My son who has eczema (a chronic skin condition causing itchy inflamed skin) has a particularly rough time of it during the winter months when the symptoms of his eczema worsen. Many people suffer from dry flakey skin during this season when people crank up the heat in their homes. The following are my ten top personal tips for keeping skin healthy during the winter months to come.
1. Limit the amount of time in the shower or baths during the winter months. One of the strong suggestions given to me from my son's doctor was to not allow him to do long soaks in the tub or take extra long showers as this would make his eczema worse. This is so true. Too much showering or bathing dries out your skin and especially when you use very hot water. It is better to take short showers with warm water.
2. Put your moisturizer on right after your shower when your skin is still damp. This will keep the moisture in your skin instead of allowing it to evaporate from the surface. Most of the literature out there will say to use an oil based moisturizer because our bodies are producing less oil in the winter months. If you have trouble with acne please consult with your dermatologist about which moisturizer is best suited for your skin type.
3. Just because it is winter, don't think you can slack on protecting your skin from the sun. The sun's rays are even more potent when they reflect off of snow. Make sure you use a sun block even in the winter months. One of the first things my dermatologist asks me each visit is if I am using a moisturizer with SPF protection of 30 or higher.
4. Most of the literature on skin care recommends that you exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. This will help prevent the buildup of dry flakey skin. There are many products on the market to help you do this. Consult with your dermatologist to see which method of exfoliation is best for your skin.
5. Pay particular attention to areas of your skin which may become more irritated and dry during the winter months such as elbows and knees. Exfoliate and moisturize these areas so that the skin stays soft and supple.
6. Take care of your hands. Wear gloves to protect your hands from wind and cold. Some people find that wool gloves cause them to itch so find cotton gloves or mittens which don't irritate your skin. Make sure to slather on a good hand moisturizer to keep your hands from cracking from the dry air.
7. Lips are particularly sensitive to the warm dry air in winter. Our Doctor Kevin Berman advises: "Remember to use lip balm with SPF 30 to protect your lips from chapping and from sun damage." I keep lip balm in the car and in my purse so that I am never without it.
8. A humidifier can help to put some much needed moisture into the air. With the windows closed and the heat turned up, the air inside your home is most likely very dry. The use of a humidifier can help decrease the symptoms of eczema. For it to really make a difference you may need more than one. The other thing to keep in mind about humidifiers is that it is possible for them to be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold if they are not cleaned properly. It is advised that you change the humidifier water daily and clean it every three days with whatever solution is recommended in the instructions.
9. Never remain in wet clothes for long. If you and your child are out playing in the snow make sure to dress in layers to keep warm and dry. If your skin is getting wet it is time to come in and put on some dry clothes. Staying in wet clothes is a sure fire way to cause chapped skin or cause a flare up of eczema.
10. You might want to decrease your use of more harsh topical skin ointments and creams for the treatment of acne. Your skin might not be able to handle these types of products as well during the winter months when our skin is already dry. Consult with your dermatologist when topical remedies are drying out your skin too much.
Now it is your turn! Do you have any winter skin tips to share with us? We love hearing from you! Please share your suggestions and tips here in the form of a comment.
Published On: November 30, 2009