Three Ways We Damage Our Skin in Winter
The winter months often bring a welcome relief from the heat of the summer, as well as days on the ski slopes and warm evenings by the fire. However, many of us make the mistake of thinking that we can relax our skincare routine or use the same products that we use the rest of the year. At Sadick Dermatology, we want to make sure that you enjoy the season without suffering the negative effects of incorrect skincare, so we’re here to offer some insight on common winter skin mistakes.
Too Much Heat or Hot Water
As the song goes, the weather outside may be frightful and the fire inside delightful, but excess heat can negatively affect your skin in the winter. Most people like to keep their thermostat comfortably in the upper 60s, making it necessary for your furnace to work overtime to keep your house warm and cozy. Whether you notice it or not, a constant barrage of hot air can cause your skin to dry out more quickly than in the summer months. If you live in a drier climate, you may feel the heat even more so. To keep skin from drying out, a humidifier may be helpful. Extra humidity can not only help skin retain moisture, but also keep your house feeling warmer.
Where warm, steamy air may not be helpful to your skin is in the shower. Cold outdoor activities and falling temperatures may drive you to take long, hot showers to chase away the chill. It may feel good and open up your pores, but excessive hot water use can strip your skin of its natural oils, drying it out and causing flaking, itching and even acne. Your best bet is to take cooler showers, or if you must go for a hot shower, limit your time under the hot water spigot.
Using Summer Products in the Winter
You may think that you can use one type of skin care product all year long, but in truth, what keeps your face smooth and supple in the summer may struggle to keep up with the cold and dry winter air. If you use oil-controlling toners, or anti-acne cleansers, you may be subjecting your skin to the drying effects of alcohol at a time when you should be hydrating instead. During the winter, skip any alcohol-based products and be sure to adequately moisturize.
Speaking of moisturizing, you should also re-assess the effectiveness of your summertime face lotion. A lighter, oil-free formula may be perfect for the more humid summer months, but the cold and dry winter air can be harsh on delicate skin. Winter is the perfect time to use a thicker cream moisturizer with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which not only draws moisture into the skin, but helps it retain it.
Lack of Sun Protection
You may live in a climate where winter days are gray and cloudy, but that doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t still shining its damaging rays through those clouds. Not only that, but in regions where it snows, the blindingly white snow reflects the sun right back to your face. These factors can cause just as many wrinkles and other sun damage to the delicate skin of your face during the winter as if you were to leave it unprotected throughout the summer. And for those of you who enjoy outdoor winter sports, keep in mind that days on the mountain put you at a higher altitude where the rays of the sun are more intense, burning your skin before you even realize.
If you are suffering from excessively dry skin or other skin “freak-outs” this season, Sadick Dermatology can help. Call our office today at 212-772-7242 to schedule a consultation, and let us help you find the right winter skincare routine.