Do You Need a Different Skincare Regimen for the Winter?
Patients often ask if they need to switch to a new skincare regimen for the winter. While most people can continue using the same treatment products for concerns like acne and aging skin, dry skin types may need to make some small seasonal changes to their daily regimen. This is because cold, windy winter weather and the heat in our homes and offices can make dry skin even worse. Here’s what you can do to combat dry, flaky skin as temperatures drop outside.
1. Use a Heavier Barrier Repair Moisturizer
You might be able to get by with a lighter moisturizer in the warm summer months, but as soon as winter hits, your skin gets dry and dehydrated. If this is the case for you, swap your lighter moisturizer for a heavier barrier repair cream, or use the lighter moisturizer during the day under your makeup and use the heavier cream at night.
Barrier repair moisturizers contain fatty acids that mimic your skin’s natural lamellar structure, restoring its ability to retain moisture. When choosing a barrier repair moisturizer, look for “myristoyl/palmitoyl oxostearamide/arachamide MEA” listed in the ingredients. This complicated-sounding ingredient is a pseudoceramide that uses MLE technology to restore healthy barrier function of the skin. I like Zerafite Barrier Repair Moisturizer, which does contain this ingredient.
Remember to moisturize your hands this time of year as well. Many people get dry, cracked skin on their hands from the cold weather and dry heat in their homes.
2. Exfoliate, But Don’t Overdo It
Skin can get flaky in the winter, making exfoliation an important part of your winter skincare regimen. However, you do not want to overdo exfoliation, because it can damage your skin’s barrier and make dry skin worse. Sensitive skin types – including those with rosacea – should avoid physical exfoliation. Use chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid instead. You can find glycolic acid in cleansers like Essopi Glycolic 10% Moisturizing Cleanser. Introduce glycolic acid to your skin slowly, using it only a few times per week, as this ingredients can also cause flaking if used too frequently.
3. Avoid Hot Showers
Hopping in a hot, steamy shower sounds relaxing after being out in the cold, but the heat from the hot water is not good for dry skin or conditions like eczema and rosacea. Instead, try taking showers with lukewarm water, or don’t stay in hot water for very long. Avoid washing your face in hot water. You can also use a humidifier to help add moisture back into the air in your home or office.
4. Don’t Forget about Sunscreen
Don’t put away your sunscreen for the winter! It is still important to use a daily SPF of at least 15, no matter what the weather looks like outside. The sun’s UV rays can still reach your skin in the winter, and UVA can penetrate the glass windows in your car and office. If you live in a snowy area, UV rays can reflect off the snow and damage exposed skin. If you’ve found an SPF that you love using in the summer, you can continue using the same product. Sensitive skin types generally do well with physical sunscreens like EltaMD Physical or Obagi Nu-Derm Physical.
5. Eat Plenty of Foods Rich in Omega
Omega fatty acids help to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. There are different types of omega fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6. These are called essential fatty acids because you must get them from your diet – your body cannot produce them on its own. The problem is that many Americans get too many omega-6s in their diet and not enough omega-3s. This imbalanced ratio can cause inflammation. Try to eat plenty of omega-3s to make up for the high amount of omega-6 fatty acids that are found in vegetable oils.
Some healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Wild caught salmon
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
You may have to make some small changes to your daily skincare regimen if you tend to get dry, flaky skin in the winter. This is especially important if you live in a harsh climate or struggle with skin conditions like eczema or rosacea.
If you do not yet know your Baumann Skin Type, find a Skin Type Solutions physician partner in your area to take the quick and easy questionnaire.
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