The air is getting colder, the snowflakes are beginning to fall… the official start to winter is just around the corner, and your skin can already feel it!
November is National Healthy Skin Awareness Month. For many of us, this is a good reminder to focus on how to deal with winter skin — before the harsh season is upon us. In the midwest, winter means dealing with skin that is dry, itchy, flaky and even cracked. The good news? Using quality moisturizing products combined with the right skin care regimen can save your skin from the blustery, cold months.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
As temperatures drop, humidity drops with it and the dry air dries out your skin. This means it’s time to boost your moisturizing routine—especially if you use anti-aging products, such as retinol and lactic acids (they can dry-out skin, too!).Dr. Lady Dy of Dy Dermatology Center in Glenview, Illinois, always reminds her patients that their skin care products and routine need to change with the weather.
“What your skin needs in the summer is much different than what it needs in the winter,” Dr. Dy explains. “In the cold and dry months, I tell my patients to find a quality moisturizer to hydrate, seal, and protect their skin.”
Lipids in your skin and moisturizing products
In a nutshell, lipids are your skin’s natural fats—they are essential components of skin, and help to restore and maintain the strength of its protective barrier. Lipids work to seal moisture and aid in the skin’s natural repair process. Using the right moisturizer will help nourish the skin barrier by replacing lipids that are lost or depleted.
When it comes to moisturizing products, thicker isn’t always better. It’s about the list of active ingredients and how they penetrate and hydrate your skin. Dr. Dy says to look for products heavy with healthy lipids, like ceramide.
Ointment vs. Cream vs. Lotion
When you pick a moisturizer, know that there is a difference in the formulation of ointments, creams and lotions:
- Ointment is 80 percent oil/lipids and 20 percent water.
- Cream is 50 percent oil/lipids and 50 percent water.
- Lotion is similar to a cream, just lighter/less thick.
Dr. Dy recommends using an ointment (or balm) as the main part of your moisturizing routine throughout the winter. Her favorites, both from Avène are the XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm and TriXera Nutrition Nutri-Fluid Balm. They are also both approved by the National Eczema Association to nourish and calm dry skin prone to redness and itching.
When it comes to bathing, she also recommends cleansing oils, because they cleanse and hydrate your skin at the same time—XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil by Avène is her favorite.
- Drink water. Your skin cannot retain its water content if you’re dehydrated—drink up unless you want to be dry!
- Use a humidifier. Just like water in your body, water in the air is essential for skin. A humidifier pumps moisture into the air, allowing your skin to soak it up and retain it.
- Skip the hot shower. It may be tempting to take a steamy shower in the middle of the winter, but it’s not a good idea for your skin—especially after coming inside from cold weather. Keep the water lukewarm so your skin doesn’t dry out.
- Do away with exfoliation. Rough exfoliants and facial scrubs strips skin of its natural moisturizing lipids.
- Take care of your scalp, too. Dry scalp isn’t the same thing as dandruff. While you may notice tightness, itchiness and white flakes, dry scalp also shows in your hair: it can look frizzy and dull, and break easily or fall out.
- Don’t forget about your lips and hands. Use balms, like Vaseline, to heal chapped lips and hands.
- Stay away from harsh products. Antibacterial and scented soaps usually contain alcohol, which strips your skin of its natural lipids and dries it out quickly. Your best bet is to use products that don’t have a long list of ingredients—something clear and unscented.
When it comes to your winter skin care, moisturizing is your number one priority. If you need help finding the right products and routine, Dr. Dy will work with you to help make sure your skin is winter-proof.
Dr. Lady Dy is one of the most sought after dermatologists in the United States. She has studied all over the world and has worked with the world's leading experts in skin and hair. Her patients fly from all over North America, Dubai, Norway and Korea to be treated by her in Chicago. To learn more about winter skin care, contact Dy Dermatology Center. Click here to request an appointment or call the dermatology center at (847) 832-1185.