Winter brings along unique challenges for maintaining healthy and radiant skin. In the colder weather, your skin is affected greatly as it can become dehydrated, discolored, tight, and flaky. Before you revamp your entire skincare routine, it is important to understand your skin's needs and make thoughtful adjustments to your routine. Reincorporating even one or two targeted products can make a big difference during seasonal changes. This dermatologist-curated guide explores expert tips for winter skin, ensuring your skincare routine remains consistent while effectively addressing seasonal demands.
- Combat Radiator Heat with Humidifiers
In areas with intense radiator heating, such as New York City, indoor air tends to be drier. Dr. Hayag recommends using a humidifier to counter the effects of dry air by maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent, as endorsed by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The humidifier replenishes moisture in the air, which will aid in keeping your skin well-hydrated.
- Cooler Showers for Skin Health
Dr. Hayag advises opting for cooler water temperatures during winter showers. While a hot shower may feel nice, high temperatures dehydrate and damage the skin. A warm rather than hot shower or bath will help to prevent skin dryness. The AAD suggests a 5- to 10-minute warm shower.
- Gentle Cleansers for Dry Skin
To prevent drying out your skin even more, use liquid body wash rather than bar soaps that contain harsh surfactants that strip natural oils. Dr. Hayag recommends fragrance-free body washes with moisturizing elements like hyaluronic acid. Liquid body wash often contains fewer drying ingredients and more moisturizing elements, such as ceramides, oils, shea butter, and oats.
- Sunscreen All Year Round
Even on overcast days, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is important. Dr. Hayag emphasizes year-round protection, as damage is possible indoors with LEDs and blue light from screens. The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that up to 80 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays can penetrate clouds and can still cause damage. You can also get light reflection from the snow.
- Moisturize Hands After Washing
Frequent handwashing is crucial, especially during cold and flu season. However, washing your hands frequently and with harsh soaps can strip natural oils and dry out your hands, leading to peeling, cracking, and painful blisters. To prevent your hands from drying out, apply hand cream after washing them, and consider wearing warm gloves for additional protection. Wearing cotton gloves after applying moisturizer will aid in cream absorption.
- Choose Skin-Friendly Clothing
To prevent further irritation caused by certain fabrics and clothing materials, Dr. Hayag recommends avoiding wool and other rough fabrics directly against the skin. Instead, opt to wear soft layers made of cotton or silk against the skin, in line with the AAD's suggestion, and protect your hands from the cold winter air by wearing gloves or mittens.
- Prioritize Nutrition and Hydration
To hydrate your body from the inside out, Dr. Hayag reminds patients to choose whole foods rich in essential nutrients and to drink plenty of water. Skin health depends on what you put in your body, as studies indicate proper nutrition and water intake positively impact the overall quality of your skin, including hydration.
- Tailor Skincare for Your Skin Type
Dr. Hayag recommends combining a hydrating serum and a cream to treat dry and flaky skin in the cold winter season. The Fabrx Renew Exo 3 Serum and Fabrx Renew Exo 3 Cream are essential to maintain a proper skin barrier. For acne-prone skin, switch to gentle cleansers (Fabrx Glyco Cleanse) and an oil-free, noncomedogenic moisturizer in the winter (Fabrx Hydrating Dew Drops), as these products can help to maintain clear pores while hydrating the skin.
- Adjust Skincare Routine Seasonally
Dr. Hayag advises reducing the use of skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids on the face during dry seasons. Additionally, she recommends using occlusives like petrolatum, squalene, and shea butter that form a protective seal over the skin to lock in moisture. For acne-prone skin, humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin draw in water and allow the skin to breathe. Finally, the AAD recommends avoiding products with alcohol and fragrances when your face is dry, as these ingredients may exacerbate any dryness or irritation.
- Pat Dry and Seal in Moisture
Dr. Hayag recommends preventing excessive dryness by gently patting yourself dry rather than abrasively rubbing after washing your hands or face. Blotting or patting the skin dry helps preserve more moisture. To retain ample hydration, apply the Fabrx Exfoliating Body Lotion within a few minutes after bathing to seal water into the skin and keep your skin hydrated throughout the winter.
- Maintain a Comfortable Temperature
Keep indoor temperatures between 68- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit to prevent additional skin drying. Be mindful that high central heat can further reduce the moisture in your house, leading to dry skin.
- Prevent Dry Lips
Combat dry lips by applying SPF-containing lip balm daily, following the AAD's suggestion. Dr. Hayag emphasizes extra care for lips during winter and recommends petroleum jelly or other occlusive ointment application every morning and consistently throughout the day.
To keep your skin hydrated throughout this winter, utilize these physician-approved tips. Regardless of your skin type, the cold, dry weather, and freezing winds are ruthless and can damage our skin. Find the right products and ingredients tailored to fit your lifestyle and skincare needs. For personalized advice, book a consultation with Dr. Marie Hayag today.