Cold Weather Skin Care

Colder weather means dryer air, and dryer air means dryer skin. If you live somewhere with a winter season you have likely experienced more sensitive skin including: redness, itchiness, and even cracking and bleeding in severe cases. Dermatologists explain that dry skin is simply a condition occurring when skin does not maintain adequate moisture. Dry skin can occur year round and may be caused by frequent bathing, harsh soaps or other skin care products, aging, and some medical conditions. But cooler days lead to increased risk of dry, itchy and sometimes even painful skin for everyone.

What causes dry skin in winter?

Cold weather brings a decrease in humidity, both outside and inside where heat sources tend to further dry out air. Additionally, cold weather may lead us to crank up the temperature of water when washing hands, bathing or washing dishes and hot water can be damaging to skin conditions as well. And while on hot summer days we likely remember to drink plenty of fluids, we may forget to stay hydrated on colder days.

woman with humidifier

Tips for skin care in colder weather

Dermatologists recommend a few steps for better skin health in winter:
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom or living room to increase moisture in your living space
  • Keep your house warm, but not too hot. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) recommends 68 to 75 degrees F.
  • Lower water temperatures for bathing, hand washing, and dishes and limit showers to 15 minutes or less.
  • Limit use of soaps, especially harsh cleansers. Use moisturizing cleansers if necessary.
  • Use lotion or moisturizers immediately after bathing, while your skin is still damp, to lock in moisture
  • Stay hydrated. Our skin is also affected by how much fluid we are consuming.
  • Wear sunscreen even on grey, cloudy days.

mountain with snow

Winter skin care tips if you spend lot of time outdoors

In addition to the tips listed above for cold weather skin care, experts recommend that people who spend significant time outdoors in cold weather take additional steps.
  • Cover up. Hats, gloves, scarves, coats whenever you go outside help protect your skin from cold wind and exposure to dry air.
  • Lip moisturizers. Our lips are especially susceptible to drying out in cold weather due to being exposed most of the time
  • Snow reflects the sun’s glare and can lead to increased risk of sunburn. Don’t skip that SPF if you’re hitting the slopes or the farm fields - even if it’s cloudy out!

hands with lotion

Winter skin care and aging

As we age, our skin naturally becomes dryer. So for folks over 50, dermatologists recommend doubling down on winter skin care routines.
  • For the 50 and over crowd experts stress the increased importance of staying hydrated and using thicker moisturizers containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides, and squalane.
  • Increase retinol usage to address lines and wrinkles
No matter our age, increased care and attention to our skin’s hydration and wellness is important as the temperatures drop and the days shorten. For folks who spend significant time outside, and for those with more mature skin, skin care and proper hydration are even more necessary.

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