Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker

How to Take Care of Your Skin During Cooler Months

Believe it or not, winter’s basically on our doorsteps. It’s time to bring out the wool sweaters, and warm winter boots to get ready for the cold weather. But our closets aren’t the only thing that is going to need a seasonal update.

That season shift from warm to cold temperatures can wreak havoc on your skin, so it’s important to take care of your skin during this seasonal transition. If you’re unsure of where to even begin, keep reading for all the helpful tips to make sure your skin is protected during these cooler months!

Why Taking Care of Your Skin Is Important

Your skin is the most outward expression of your health and wellbeing, as well as your age. Taking care of your skin should be as important as eating a nutritious meal to keep breakouts, overactive sebum, and wrinkles at bay.

Skin that hasn’t been taken care of properly will show early signs of aging, like wrinkles and age spots, and also give you a pretty lackluster complexion that might have you looking unhealthy and ill.

The majority, if not all of the older individuals with youthful-looking complexions, will tell you how important skincare and nutrition are. The proof of this is right there on their skin.

Swap Out Your Cleanser

It’s obvious that during the summer months you’re sweating and there’s way more moisture in the air. This means that the cleanser you were using is likely something that can clean off the sweat, grime, and melted makeup off your skin.

In the winter months, it’s crucial to swap your cleanser out and use a gentler version if you don’t already. You want to be careful of stripping away the moisture barrier of your skin too much especially with the dry and cold air. Your skin will be more prone to cracking and flaking if the cleanser is too harsh.

Look for gentle fragrance-free when it comes to your cleanser for less irritation.

Take Care of Your Skin From Within

Best way to take care of your skin? Start by keeping hydrated on the inside!

Hydration in the wintertime is very important. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, or herbal teas, to keep yourself hydrated. This will help the skin all over your body stay plump and flake-free while feeding that protective lipid barrier.

Another added benefit is that the additional water helps your body to regulate its temperature during cold weather. It’s also very important to keep your tissues, organs, and cells functioning at their optimal capacity. This can help you in preventing a cold and flu this season.

Hydration isn’t the only important thing. Make sure that during the winter months you eat nutritionally balanced meals with lots of vitamins and minerals. Eating antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables with carotenoids will keep your skin glowing and healthy.

The bonus? It’ll help keep the cold and flu season off your trail!

Don’t Skip On Exfoliating

You may think that winter means stopping your exfoliating routine. Although you should definitely adjust your skincare routine to less exfoliating than usual, it shouldn’t be completely left off your radar.

Whether you decide to do your exfoliating at home or prefer going in for laser resurfacing at a professional face and body institute, it’s important to not skip this part of your routine.

Although you should reduce the number of times you do exfoliate to approximately once every one to two weeks, exfoliation will help get rid of any dry skin that builds up. This will also help to get rid of any flaking before it happens so you don’t end up with dry patches.

Exfoliation will also help upkeep collagen production which keeps your skin supple, hydrated, and will help repair any cracks that can happen from the cold.

Your Showers Matter

Did you know that your shower temperature matters depending on the season?

During the winter months, it’s a good idea to skip out on those long hot showers even though they’re especially tempting. The hot temperatures actually dry out your skin more and leave them more sensitive to the cold air.

Instead, opt for a short and mild temperature shower. On the off chance that you want to spoil yourself with hotter water, opt for a bath before bed instead so that you’re not going outside with overheated skin. It will keep from going through a hot and cold cycle too quickly and cause cracked and dry skin.

After your showers, lather yourself up in a good body butter or body moisturizer to lock in hydration and replenish your skin’s moisture barrier that may have been lost during the shower. You’ll have glowing skin in no time!

Get The Right Moisturizer

Speaking of cracked and flaky skin, this is the more common skincare complaint during the colder season and it thankfully has a remedy.

You’ll want to change out your current moisturizer for a thicker and more hydrating variety especially at night. Your winter moisturizer may be thicker and accompanied by a hydrating serum to keep up with your skin’s hydration needs. Along with hydrating from the inside by drinking lots of water, hydrating from the outside is just as important.

Your best bet is to avoid any moisturizers with fragrances or dyes that can irritate your skin further as it’s adjusting to the cooler temperatures. If you’re unsure what to go with, speak to a dermatologist or a skincare specialist for recommendations based on your skin type.

If you want to give your skin an extra boost of moisture, you can look into microneedling with hyaluronic acid for an extra kick in the winter. Microneedling has been proven to increase skin suppleness and aid in collagen and elastin production which helps keep skin looking young.

Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen

Sunspots on your skin get worse with age, and you usually don’t see the damage it does until years later. Sunscreen is not just a summer skincare staple. The sun’s rays are just as bad and damaging to your skin during the winter months, especially when they’re bouncing off the snow.

Invest in a good sunscreen with a minimum of 40 SPF to make sure you’re protected from the aging and damaging sunshine.

If you work from home, or if you’re working in an office, being inside doesn’t protect you from the sun’s rays either. Sitting near the windows also leaves you susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays so don’t skimp on the sunscreen.

Sometimes we’re prone to forget these things, and a way to combat that is to get a moisturizer with sunscreen added to it. It will be one less thing to remember in the mornings before you run out the door and cut down on your morning prep time.

Wearing The Right Clothing

Although it may seem cool to avoid hat hair and the awkwardness of wearing bulky clothing. It’s a good idea to layer up in the winter to keep your body temperature cozy with no exposed skin.

Wearing warm clothing will keep your body from using valuable energy in keeping the proper temperature from head to toes versus drawing away blood to keep your feet and hands warm. There’s nothing pleasant about patches of dry itchy skin on your body, and if you can avoid them why wouldn’t you?

Another issue with winter clothing is breathability. A lot of clothing on the market right now is synthetic, which doesn’t bode well for air circulation when you’re wearing layers. Sweating can do just as much damage to your skin as dryness does.

Opt for warm fabrics like fleece, flannel, wool, and, cashmere during this season to help with keeping warm but without sweating.

Gloves and Hand Cream; A Match Made In Heaven

Your hands are the first thing to show signs of aging if you don’t take care of them properly. How do you slow down the process? By taking good care of them of course!

You may be tempted to skip gloves during the winter months to use your touch screen phone more easily, or maybe to be fashionable. But protecting your hands is an important thing to do to take care of your skin.

The harsh elements can be unfavorable to the skin on your hands and dry them out to sometimes painful levels. The remedy for this is a good pair of insulated gloves and always carrying around a small tube of hand cream. The skin on your hands is just as important as the skin on your face, and shouldn’t be neglected.

When shopping for hand creams, look for soothing and thicker creams to smooth any rough patches or bumps from the cold.

Keeping Your Environment Skin Friendly

Everyone knows that with winter comes dry air. But how do you combat this in addition to having a good skincare routine? Your home’s temperature and humidity levels.

You should avoid keeping your house too hot so that you’re not providing additional dry heat on your skin. Your home should be kept at a comfortable level, and have the humidity adjusted accordingly to replenish the dry heat that’s being pumped into your home.

If you’re unable to adjust the humidity of your home, look into purchasing a humidifier at least to be kept by your bedside while you sleep. You’ll definitely notice a difference in the quality of your skin literally overnight!

Pedicures Aren’t Only For Summers

Your feet just got used to being out in the open in sandals and open-toe shoes. Now they’re stuck in fuzzy socks and boots. Just because they’re covered up doesn’t mean they should be left to their own devices until the summer season comes around.

Pedicures are a way to keep your feet and toes fresh by soaking and scrubbing off dead skin. Dry feet are common during the winter, and a pedicure can be just the thing to keeping them nice and soft for the next time they’re in sandals.

Talk To Your Doctor

For any other skin concerns like persistent dryness, or dryness accompanied by itching skin, talk to your doctor as it might be more than just winter affecting you. Eczema and psoriasis tend to flare up during the winter season and will need more than regular moisturizers to deal with and heal.

Your doctor can also help guide you in the right direction for any additional skincare tips or product recommendations based on your skin concerns or medical issues. They may even offer prescriptions to combat more serious flaking and dryness that will be stronger than anything you can pick up off the store shelves.

If you don’t already have a doctor who specialized in skin, do your research for a highly qualified doctor before booking an appointment to see one. It’s a good idea to have a doctor specializing in skincare, as it is our biggest organ.

Take Care of Your Skin This Winter

Winter isn’t fun for a lot of reasons, especially when it comes to your skin.

Follow the tips from our helpful guide to get your through this season with hopefully way less cracked and flaky skin. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any skin concerns that may be a little more than regular dryness and drink plenty of water this season. Take care of your skin so your future skin will thank you.

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