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Dermatologist-Recommended Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin in Cold Weather

Posted on: January 4th, 2024 by Our Team

Heading to the slopes to enjoy California’s snow season? Spending magical holidays in New York? Before you climb aboard that ski lift or lace up your skates at Rockefeller Center, know how to change up your skin care regimen. Cold temperatures and low humidity can draw moisture away from the skin. Add harsh winter winds and dry indoor heat and your skin can become even drier.

Regardless of your age or skin type, cold weather skin care differs from your normal routine. It’s good to know the difference to look your sparkling best for your cool winter vacay.

Here are some worthwhile tips to help keep your skin smooth and supple from the board-certified dermatologists at California Skin Institute:

Block that winter sun.

Be sure to apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Winter sun, combined with glare from the snow, can damage your skin even if the damage isn’t visible. Best bet is a non-greasy, fast-absorbing sunscreen moisturizer combo. Wear large UV protective eye gear. And don’t let down your guard on overcast days. As much as 80% of harmful UV rays can pass through clouds and still cause damage.

Avoid overly hot baths and showers.

We know. It’s cold outside and a hot bath or shower beckons. But think before you up that H faucet. Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and dilate your blood vessels, which causes your skin to lose moisture. So, keep it as lukewarm as you can. Taking shorter showers or baths also helps cut down on skin dehydration.

Blot and glop after a shower or bath.

Blotting or patting the skin dry rather than rubbing it helps retain more moisture. After a bath or shower, blot skin dry with your towel and then glop on moisturizer—both body lotion and facial moisturizer—within a few minutes to help lock in hydration.

Lower that thermostat.

This isn’t about saving energy—it’s about saving your skin. Dry, warm heat from furnaces, fireplaces and space heaters can overly dry out your skin. But, some like it hot. Pack a portable humidifier in case you can’t turn down the heat.

Beware the winds of winter.

If that icy, bracing wind makes you teary-eyed, the outer corners of your eyelids can become reddened and sore. Cold winds can also chap your lips and hands. Sunglasses—or if you’re skiing, goggles—gloves and protective lip balm are recommended.

Use a gentler cleanser.

Select a skin cleanser that is labeled as non-soap. It will contain gentler ingredients and will help you avoid dehydrating your skin with soaps. There are excellent soap-free options that can deep cleanse away makeup and residues without harsh ingredients. California Skin Institute’s soap-free Gentle Soothing Cleanser is an option that gently cleanses while hydrating your skin.

Choose the best winter moisturizer for your skin.

Your go-to moisturizer may not cut it for a colder climate. That said, thicker doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to moisturizers. Look for a light, non-greasy product that seals in moisture at night and another one with added SPF for day. California Skin Institute’s dermatologically formulated Daily Essentials Kit includes the Fortified Moisturizer and Essential Daily Wear with SPF 50, along with a gentle, soap-free cleanser and powerful antioxidant cream.

Stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is one of the best internal helps for your skin. Water is ideal but other hydration options can include tea, mulled cider and cocoa—although, be careful about lots of extra sugar. If you’re having wine or cocktails with dinner be sure to keep your water glass filled. Alcohol is dehydrating.

Chronic skin issues? Use extra care.

If your skin tends towards psoriasis and eczema, you should meet with your California Skin Institute dermatologist or advanced practitioner to map out the best combo of medication, cleanser and moisturizer for the challenges of colder weather outdoors and dry heat indoors.

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